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Jets sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets walks

Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets walks off the field after a loss against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets coach Todd Bowles reiterated his plans to stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“He’s been in the league a long time. I think if you’re in this league long enough, you’re going to go through some slumps — as a team,” Bowles said Monday. “Not just Ryan, but as a team. There are some chemistry things that we have to straighten out, but he’s a confident. We’re confident in our offense and we know we’ll get it turned around.”

Despite throwing 10 interceptions — nine in the past two games — Fitzpatrick remains the Jets’ preferred choice over backup Geno Smith. And according to Bowles, the embattled quarterback is still their “best chance to win.”

“Well, right now, it’s chemistry,” Bowles said, when asked what Fitzpatrick has over Smith, Bryce Petty and second-rounder Christian Hackenberg.

“Obviously, everybody’s got an arm and they can throw the football. But based on what he did last year and the things that he accomplished last year going into the season, from a confidence standpoint, he’s our best chance to win.”

At this rate, Fitzpatrick is on pace to throw 40 picks and 16 touchdowns. But when asked if a quarterback change will be made if Fitz continues to turn the ball over, Bowles said: “We go game by game. I don’t foresee any changes right now. Ryan’s fine.”

A week after throwing a career-worst six interceptions, Fitzpatrick threw three fourth-quarter picks in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Seahawks.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, the 33-year-old has an NFL-worst 16 fourth-quarter interceptions since the start of last season and is the fifth player in the last 30 seasons to throw at least 10 picks in the first four games of a season.

He’s also the first quarterback since 1986 (Steve DeBerg) to throw nine interceptions in a two-game span.

Despite his struggles, though, Fitzpatrick said that he’s still the right choice.

“I know I’m the right guy for it. We found ourselves in a little slump last year and came out of it. Just through all my experience and all of the things that I’ve been through in my career, I know I’m the right guy to get this thing headed in the right direction.

“I’ve got to play better.”

Even with Smith (the former face of the franchise), Hackenberg (the presumed future) and Petty (a potential wild-card) waiting in the wings, Fitzpatrick said he’s doesn’t worry about his job being in jeopardy.

“I don’t think about that at all,” said the 12-year veteran, who signed a one-year, $12-million deal on the first day of training camp. “What I think about is, how can I prepare the best that I can in order to get this team to win? That’s it. That’s all I think about every week.”

He also insisted that his string of poor performances doesn’t cause him to worry about being benched. “Not at all,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t ever think about that. I can’t think about. I go out there and try to win football games.

“I take full responsibility for all those, whether it was a throw, whether it was poor communication on my part, whether it was just forcing the ball. I own all those, and so I’ve got to continue to get better with that.”


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