Jets finally bench Ryan Fitzpatrick, name Geno Smith starter for Week 7

Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback for the Jets this week.

Coach Todd Bowles made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, confirming the initial report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Even Bowles has a breaking point, and apparently it came Monday night. After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick play some of the worst football we can remember -- including 11 interceptions and just six touchdowns in six starts -- Bowles benched the quarterback. Enter Smith, a 2013 second-rounder, who came in and promptly threw an interception.

In Smith's defense, it was a great play by Tyrann Mathieu, and short of a Butt Fumble reenactment, there was no way Smith shouldn't permanently replace Fitzpatrick.

Except ... immediately following the loss, Bowles announced that Fitzpatrick would be the starter against the Ravens in Week 7. Some 36 hours later, Bowles apparently had a change of heart. To that we say: What took so long? Otherwise, it's a no-brainer, and reinforces the team's decision to not overpay Fitzpatrick, who held out the entire offseason.

Still, the Jets are on the hook in '16 for $12 million, which is a reasonable salary for a 32-year-old journeyman whose career year in 2015 resulted in 3,905 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. But that Fitzgerald has been missing in action since arriving to training camp, which goes a long way in explaining ProFootballFocus ranking him as the NFL's worst starting quarterback.

Meanwhile, Smith will make his first start since 2014. He was in line for the job during training camp last August, but he was punched by a former teammate, suffered a broken jaw in the process, and was sidelined for more than a month. In 31 career games, Smith has completed 57.9 percent of his throws for 5,867 yards, 27 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. In 29 starts, Smith is 11-18.

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported earlier this month that the organization remains committed to a long-term vision that includes Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

" [The young quarterbacks] need to continue to learn the offense and are not yet ready to play. Much is being made of the abundance of rookie or novice quarterbacks to shine this season, but the Jets view each of those situations as different. They believe for the ultimate development of Petty and Hackenberg, and where they are at this stage, it is much more prudent for them to remain in depth roles even if Fitzpatrick continues to sputter."

For now, this is Smith's team. For how long is anyone's guess.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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