Struggling quarterbacks face off in Jets-Rams tilt
Ryan Fitzpatrick knows exactly what Case Keenum of the Rams is going through. They’re both starting quarterbacks who appear to be simply keeping the seat warm for someone else.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> Ryan Fitzpatrick knows exactly what Case Keenum is going through. They’re both starting quarterbacks who appear to be simply keeping the seat warm for someone else.
If it were up to many Los Angeles Rams fans, Keenum would already be on the sideline and No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff would be running the show. The chants of “We Want Goff!” have grown louder with each passing week with the Rams (3-5) on a four-game losing streak and Keenum’s performance mediocre, at best.
“Those are things that are beyond our control,” Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras said. “When Jared gets asked to play, he’s ready to go, and the guys will get behind him. It’s going to be exciting to see.”
But for now, coach Jeff Fisher is sticking with Keenum , who has thrown for 2,004 yards and nine touchdowns with 11 interceptions, to face the Jets (36) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
“Jared is improving,” Fisher said. “But, Case right now, especially against this defense, gives us our best chance. It’s an extremely complicated defense and they can pressure the quarterback. They can do anything they want to do. They’re very, very talented. Our focus is this week against the Jets, and Case will be under center.”
Keenum has done his best to block out the calls for his backup, and he’s working toward trying to make the Rams’ offense a more efficient unit. Los Angeles is ranked 31st in overall offense, with only Minnesota worse.
“We all have got enough talent, we all have got enough drive, enough will, and enough intelligence to get the job done,” Keenum said.
After setting a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes last season, Fitzpatrick has struggled mightily. He leads the NFL with 13 interceptions (with just eight TDs) and the Jets rank 23rd in overall offense.
Fitzpatrick has already been benched, but got his job back when Geno Smith was lost for the season with a knee injury.
But now Fitzpatrick is dealing with a sprained left knee that has his status for Sunday uncertain, although he has practiced on a limited basis. He’ll play if he’s healthy, but plenty of Jets fans want to see Bryce Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, get a chance to show if he might be New York’s quarterback of the future.
Petty went 2 of 2 for 19 yards when he briefly stepped in for Fitzpatrick last Sunday at Miami for his first regular-season action. If Fitzpatrick plays and struggles at home this weekend, the chants of “We Want Petty!” could be hard to ignore.
“Unfortunately, the quarterback usually gets the brunt of the punishment, but it comes with the territory,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “But it’s not just one guy, so I get it.
“I understand it. But, it’s not just Fitz’s fault. It’s all of our faults.”
Here are some other things to know as the Rams travel from Hollywood to Broadway to face the Jets:
Midway through his frustrating sophomore season, Los Angeles’ Todd Gurley is 18th in the NFL with 451 yards, but his 3.1 yards per carry are the worst among the NFL’s top 45 ball carriers.
Fisher and Boras don’t blame Gurley for the running game’s struggles. But while they’ve praised his even demeanor, they’ve also indicated this week that they would love to see more bursts of speed and creativity.
Gurley’s carries are down in the past four weeks, but that’s partly due to the deficits faced by the Rams in the fourth quarter. “I’m not saying that he’s not frustrated, but he’s not showing it,” Boras said. “He’s a team guy.”
The Jets are heading into this game with just two players on their offensive line starting at the same spot they were at in Week 1. Center Nick Mangold has missed two games with a sprained ankle, and will likely miss a third.
He’ll be replaced again by Wesley Johnson. Left tackle Ryan Clady was placed on season-ending injured reserve this week with a shoulder injury. Ben Ijalana replaces him after starting the season at right tackle, where Breno Giacomini is back after sitting out the first seven games with a back injury.
That leaves only left guard James Carpenter and right guard Brian Winters as the constants.
The Jets have committed an NFL-worst 19 turnovers, and that’s tantalizing to a Rams defense that has forced only one turnover during its four-game losing streak.
While the Los Angeles defense has been largely dominant, the focus was on attacking the ball this week with a view to giving better field position to the struggling offense.
No Fade For Forte
After hitting a lull a few games into the season, running back Matt Forte has picked up his production in the Jets’ ground game. He has rushed for 100, 82 and 92 yards in the last three games, with four TDs, while also catching a scoring pass in that span.
Forte could have had a lot more last week at Miami, when he got just 12 carries, but New York split the workload between him and Bilal Powell. Still, Forte ranks seventh in the NFL with 634 yards rushing.
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to pass in game against the Browns. Ryan Fitzpatrick knows exactly what Case Keenum is going through. They’re both starting quarterbacks who appear to be simply keeping the seat warm for someone else.
Rams quarterback Case Keenum reacts to scoring on touchdown run against the Lions.