FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Whether Ryan Fitzpatrick starts at quarterback Sunday for the New York Jets will be a game-time decision based on how the veteran feels before the game against the Los Angeles Rams, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Friday.
“He’s getting better," Bowles said of Fitzpatrick, who suffered a left knee injury in last Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins in Miami. “We’ll warm him up Sunday and I’ll make a decision."
Fitzpatrick, who started the season as the Jets’ No. 1 quarterback, was benched in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens in favor of Geno Smith. But Smith suffered a season-ending torn ACL in that game, and Fitzpatrick was restored to the No. 1 position. Then, on Sunday, Fitzpatrick injured his knee against the Dolphins, and an MRI on Monday revealed he had a sprained MCL. He has been limited in practice all week, but on Wednesday said he was “definitely optimistic" he would be able to play against the Rams.
If Fitzpatrick can’t play, then Bryce Petty, the second-year man out of Baylor who served as his backup against the Dolphins, will get the nod as the starter. Bowles said Petty got about half the practice snaps with the first team this week.
“I’ve been in that role before, of a backup, in college (behind Robert Griffin III), so I think that’s helped me a lot for this kind of situation," Petty said Friday. “It’s important as to how you prepare, and how you go about things. But for me, nothing changes. It’s still exactly the same, just like I would start. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, then I’ll be ready whenever that time comes."
The Jets will get back defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson (ankle) and linebacker Darron Lee, their first-round pick out of Ohio State who missed the last three games due to an ankle injury. Both practiced fully on Friday and are a go for Sunday, Bowles said.
Lee said the ankle is “feeling a lot better" and that the one benefit to sitting out was that he got to learn more about the game by watching. The game, he said, “has slowed down" for him because of all the film study he has been able to do.
Still, he said, sitting out was not fun.
“It sucks," he said of being injured. “To not be out there with the guys, to help the team win, that’s what really hurt the most. And especially if you’re losing, It hurts, because (you think) ‘What more could I have done to at least help us, and put us in a better position?’ It’s definitely been, for sure, tough and -- boring. For sure. I’m just sitting around. I don’t like that. I’m always a guy that’s gotta be active in some kind of way."
Center Nick Mangold, who suffered a setback with his injured right ankle, will miss his third straight game, and linebackers Bruce Carter (quad) and Josh Martin (concussion), cornerback Marcus Williams (ankle) and tight end Kellen Davis (elbow) are all out. Besides Fitzpatrick, cornerback Buster Skrine (knee) and OL Brandon Shell (shoulder) are questionable.