THE GENO SHOW
The stage is set for Geno Smith to prove he belongs.
After being a sideline spectator for 14 months, the former starter-turned-backup is back in his old job: quarterbacking the Jets offense.
“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to go out there and try to get a win,” he told reporters on Wednesday, the day coach Todd Bowles announced that Smith would take the reins from embattled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. “We’re on a four-game losing streak. No one likes it. It’s a bitter taste in our mouths. We just have to put together some good practices, build momentum up into the game and then go . . . play hard with a reckless abandonment and do whatever we have to do to get this victory.”
During the team’s 1-5 start, Fitzpatrick’s second-half numbers were brutal: zero touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 30.8 rating.
So how different will the offense be with Smith running the show?
“There could be some things that are different, but if I say what then I’m telling Baltimore,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “There could be some things different.”
“This is football. They don’t have to be best friends. They don’t hate him. They all get along in the locker room.”
— Todd Bowles, on whether Jets players respect Geno Smith
MO A GO?
The Jets and their star defensive end don’t seem to be on the same page as far as his health is concerned. Muhammad Wilkerson, who is questionable with a sore ankle, told Newsday on Thursday that he’s been playing through pain for “a couple weeks.” And when asked if it would benefit his health to sit out a game, he said: “I don’t call those shots. I can’t say I’m not playing.” But on Friday, coach Todd Bowles said: “We don’t play injured players. We don’t force them to play injured.”
After switching quarterbacks, Bowles made it clear that he’s also considering making personnel changes on defense as well. “I kind of want to see how the matchups look later in the week. Everyone’s getting reps and I’ll decide who goes where,” said the coach, who declined to offer specifics.
The Jets rank 25th in scoring defense and 28th against the pass.
OFFENSE ISN’T CLICKING
The Jets changed their quarterback in hopes of jump-starting the offense, but the unit’s issues go well beyond Fitzpatrick.
“It’s just not all fitting together,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “We’ve got one little thing here, one little thing there, but those little things tend to add up. It’s just not clicking yet and we’ve just got to keep getting everybody on the same page.”
The Jets, who are last in points per game (15.8), have been outscored 164-95 this season. Their running game has been grounded. And they’ve managed to score only five receiving touchdowns.
“It’s not one thing,” Gailey said. “We’re not doing the things that we need to do that we did last year that we’re capable of, in my opinion.”
THE X-FACTOR: BRANDON MARSHALL
With Ravens’ top cornerback Jimmy Smith (concussion) questionable and several key injuries in the secondary, the Jets need Marshall to take advantage of his matchups. Over their four-game losing streak, he’s averaging about four catches for 75 yards.
Former Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is now calling the play for the Ravens. And the Jets made sure to do their homework by watching film from previous years. “We did and then we kind of, for our standpoint, we did a self-check because of the ties with Andy Reid and our Kansas City game,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “And you see some of the similarities . . . we have to be prepared for a lot of things.”
For the second consecutive week, the Ravens will play at MetLife Stadium, but coach John Harbaugh isn’t sure if that’ll help his team. “We’re staying at the same hotel. I think we’re at the Westin in Jersey City, I think that’s where we’re at. I don’t know. It’s the first time we’ve ever done it. I’ll let you know after the game. My guess is if we win I’ll feel pretty good about it and if we lose, I’ll probably never want to do it again.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco needs just 89 passing yards to become the second quarterback in Baltimore history with 30,000 behind Johnny Unitas (39,768 in 17 seasons with the Colts).
Geno Smith’s perfect passer rating the last time he started an NFL game (Dec. 28, 2014 in Miami).
99Total rushing yards Matt Forte has had over the past three games.
The amount of takeaways the Jets defense has in six games. (Last season, they had five in Week 1 against the Browns)