Ryan Fitzpatrick ready to take over if Geno Smith falters
If Geno Smith falters, Ryan Fitzpatrick expects to be ready.
He has no idea if he eventually will supplant Smith as the Jets' starting quarterback, but Fitzpatrick knows he's "got to be ready" just in case.
"A lot of my career has been not necessarily being the guy right away and having to step in and not having there be any sort of drop-off," he said Wednesday after the Jets' next-to-last session of organized team activities.
"That's something that I pride myself on, whether I'm the Day One starter or whether I'm the third-string guy. When I go in there I'm going to be ready and be able to execute."
Fitzpatrick, 32, is an NFL journeyman now on his sixth team in 11 seasons. And despite his familiarity with the Jets' new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey (his former head coach in Buffalo), Fitzpatrick is the No. 2 guy behind Smith.
But the veteran believes he'll get a fair shot with coach Todd Bowles.
"The thing that he's made clear to everybody in this locker room is you're going to have to earn your spot. And I think there's a ton of respect for him," Fitzpatrick said. "He's going to put the best guys out there."
He made the most of his reps on Wednesday, scrambling for a long gain from scrimmage on one play during 7-on-7 drills and hitting Eric Decker on a 50-yard touchdown on another. "I feel good. It's great to be back in this offense," said Fitzpatrick, who still is rehabbing the left leg he fractured in mid-December. "It's been a lot of fun for me, not necessarily to move, but to get on a new team, to be the guy that everybody's coming to to ask questions and to have a lot of those answers."
He also tried his best to avoid stirring up any more quarterback controversy. "I know that it's you guys' jobs [to pay attention to how reps are divvied up], but there's so many reps out here right now, where you just see guys getting shuttled in and out," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm taking [the No.] 2 reps right now, but Brandon [Marshall] and Deck [Eric Decker] and different guys are in the huddle."
Bowles reiterated that the starting job is Smith's to lose. "It's Ryan's job to take it," he said. "If Ryan doesn't take it, [Geno's] the starter."
But Bowles also praised Fitzpatrick's progress. "His arm's a little stronger, he's getting healthier," he said
"Obviously, he's still knocking the rust off a little bit. But as far as understanding what to do and where to go, he's a pretty sharp guy."
Amaro hurts back. Tight end Jace Amaro pulled up short while running a route and left practice with an apparent back injury. "I don't know much right now," Bowles said. "They told me he was sore, but I have to find out more after this."