Geno gets call for struggling Jets against Ravens
Mired in a four-game skid and their playoff hopes dwindling, the New York Jets shook things up.
Geno Smith is in at quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is out.
Now, Todd Bowles’ bunch will see if any of it can make a difference when the Jets (1-5) take on the Baltimore Ravens (3-3) at MetLife Stadium today.
“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to go out there and try to get a win,” Smith said. “We’re on a fourgame 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 out there and just play recklessly, play hard with a reckless abandon and do whatever we have to do to get this victory.”
That was the thinking for Bowles when he decided to switch from Fitzpatrick , who had thrown an NFLleading 11 interceptions and just five touchdowns in the Jets’ first six games.
New York ranks 26th in overall offense and is last in the NFL in scoring with 15.8 points per game and red zone offense with eight TDs in 22 trips inside opponents’ 20-yard line (36.4 percent).
“Hopefully it creates a spark,” Bowles said. “It gives (Smith) the opportunity to play. We’re 1-5 and we haven’t shown any signs of progress on offense, so I made the change.”
John Harbaugh and the Ravens — who have dropped three straight — entered the week expecting to see Fitzpatrick, but the coach didn’t seem too concerned about seeing a different quarterback.
“It won’t change a ton, because I think the offense is going to remain, essentially, the same with what they do,” Harbaugh said.
“It will nuance a little bit in certain directions. We didn’t hear that until right at the end of practice out here (Wednesday), but we already put in some stuff that we thought would be more Geno Smith-oriented-type things.”
Here are some other things to know heading into the Ravens’ matchup with the Jets:
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco missed the team’s first two practices of the week with a right shoulder injury, but he expects to play.
Flacco said his shoulder was “sore” and thought rest would help him be ready. He was injured during the Ravens’ 27-23 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday and didn’t feel any pain until after the game. Flacco added that the MRI results showed “nothing to worry about.”
It’s possible, Harbaugh said, that Flacco could sit out practice the entire week and still play. If not, Flacco’s backup is Ryan Mallett.
“I’d say he’s day-to-day,” Harbaugh said of Flacco. “In my mind, he’s a go.”
BACK TO NEW JERSEY
A scheduling quirk has the Ravens playing in New Jersey for a second straight Sunday. They’ll hope to escape with a split after losing to the Giants 27-23 .
“Going there, coming back, and going right back — I’ve never done that before,” receiver Mike Wallace said. “I think it will be better for us the second time, because we know exactly what to expect, we know exactly how it is going to go. It wasn’t a bad trip at all. We went on the train, and it was about two hours. It wasn’t bad.”
In Smith’s previous start for the Jets in the 2014 regular-season finale at Miami, a 37-24 win, he completed 20 of 25 passes for a career-high 358 yards and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
None of the eight players who caught a pass from him that day is on the Jets’ active roster.
Eric Decker is the only one even still on the team, but is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and also had hip surgery earlier this week. Jace Amaro (Tennessee), Jeff Cumberland (San Diego), Zach Sudfeld (free agent), Jeremy Kerley (San Francisco), Chris Owusu (free agent), Chris Ivory (Jacksonville) and Chris Johnson (Arizona) are all elsewhere.
LACK OF SACKS
The Ravens are expected to be without career sacks leader Terrell Suggs (biceps ) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), who had a team-high six in 2015.
That leaves veteran tackle Timmy Jernigan and young linebackers Matthew Judon, Kamalei Correa and Za’Darius Smith to pick up the slack.
“I’ll be excited to see those guys play,” Harbaugh said of the inexperienced trio of LBs. “I really am looking forward to it.”
The Ravens have 11 sacks this season, including five by Suggs and three by Jernigan. Judon, Correa and Smith have yet to collar the quarterback.
Since entering the NFL in 2008, Jets running back Matt Forte has 13,171 yards from scrimmage — 8,962 yards rushing, 4,209 yards receiving — the most in the league during that span.
But after a solid start with 196 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries in his first two games with the Jets, Forte has run for just 164 yards and no TDs on 50 carries in the four games since — including a season-low 19 yards on nine carries Monday night at Arizona. Next up: the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked run defense.
Jets quarterback Geno Smith scrambles as Cardinals nose tackle Rodney Gunter defends during second half of New York’s loss to Arizona.