3-7 Jets en­ter bye week look­ing to end tail­spin

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr. AP Sports Writer

Ryan Fitz­patrick, Dar­relle Re­vis and oth­ers were sup­posed to be lead­ing the Jets on an­other run to play­off con­tention. In­stead, Todd Bowles’ team is look­ing likely to land a top-5 pick in the draft.

The cor­ner­stones are crum­bling, the faces of the fran­chise largely con­tribut­ing to the New York Jets’ down­fall this sea­son.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, and many fans and me­dia have been busy point­ing fin­gers.

Ryan Fitz­patrick, Dar­relle Re­vis, Muham­mad Wilk­er­son, Shel­don Richard­son and Bran­don Mar­shall were all sup­posed to be lead­ing the Jets on an­other run to play­off con­tention. In­stead, Todd Bowles’ bum­bling bunch is look­ing likely to land a top-5 pick in the NFL draft.

“We’re 3-7,” Bowles said. “We’re not even think­ing play­offs. We’re try­ing to get to four wins.”

In what is shap­ing up as a dis­mal sea­son, high ex­pec­ta­tions have quickly given way to mod­est goals.

“We have a lot to play for: each other, pride,” Wilk­er­son said. “We just have to make sure we stay con­fi­dent. We can’t get down on our­selves here.”

The Jets are tak­ing their bye-week break, and the sput­ter­ing squad can cer­tainly use it. Gen­eral man­ager Mike Maccagnan said this week that “we all need to do bet­ter at our jobs” in or­der to get things turned in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion.

That in­cludes Bowles, who has been in­creas­ingly crit­i­cized for his in-game de­ci­sions and the grow­ing per­cep­tion things are go­ing awry be­hind closed doors at the Jets’ fa­cil­ity. The fact he had to bench Wilk­er­son and Richard­son for a quar­ter for be­ing late to a team meet­ing has only in­creased the spot­light on the coach.

“I think Todd is go­ing to be a very good head coach in this league,” Maccagnan said, “and I think he’s do­ing a good job now.”

But the de­fense, Bowles’ bread and but­ter, is hardly dom­i­nant, with the line not per­form­ing up to lofty ex­pec­ta­tions and the sec­ondary hav­ing trou­ble shut­ting down any­one’s pass­ing game.

Wilk­er­son got a five-year, $86 mil­lion con­tract in the off­sea­son, but has just 2 ½ sacks. The missed walk­through prac­tice and late ar­rivals for meet­ings aren’t a good look for a player ex­pected to be a leader.

The same goes for Richard­son, who was the sub­ject of trade ru­mors at the dead­line. He has 1 ½ sacks.

Then, there’s Re­vis, once the gold stan­dard for shut­down cor­ner­backs. But now, Re­vis Is­land is no more , with age and in­juries turn­ing him from great to just OK — a stun­ningly quick de­cline for one of the top play­ers in fran­chise his­tory.

“There are glitches in his play, but he has played very well at times this year,” Maccagnan said. “We have six games to go. We’ll see how the sea­son pro­gresses, and we’ll eval­u­ate it at the end of the sea­son.”

The brunt of the blame, how­ever, falls on the shoul­ders of Fitz­patrick.

The vet­eran QB was re­signed on the eve of train­ing camp to a one-year, $12 mil­lion deal that ended a long con­tract stale­mate. Af­ter throw­ing for a fran­chise-record 31 touch­downs last sea­son, Fitz­patrick ap­peared the per­fect fit for New York as the would-be cat­a­lyst for a team com­ing off a 10-6 sea­son, missing the post­sea­son by one win.

In­stead, Fitz­patrick leads the NFL with 13 in­ter­cep­tions and has al­ready been benched once. A sprained knee opened the door for Bryce Petty , and now Bowles is left with try­ing to de­ter­mine which of the two will give the Jets a bet­ter chance to win.

That seems in­con­ceiv­able when less than four months ago, the or­ga­ni­za­tion was breath­ing a sigh of re­lief be­cause of Fitz­patrick’s re­turn . Now, it’s pos­si­ble he has thrown his last pass with the Jets — if they de­cide to give Petty a sixgame au­di­tion for the job and look to the fu­ture.

“That’s not why any of us are here in the locker room,” Fitz­patrick said. “We’re not here to think about any­thing other than win­ning foot­ball games. We’re here to win.”

Mar­shall’s pro­duc­tion has fallen off in a big way as a re­sult of Fitz­patrick’s strug­gles. He has also been af­fected by the loss of fel­low wide re­ceiver Eric Decker , who’s out for the sea­son af­ter hav­ing shoul­der and hip surg­eries.

LYNNE SLADKY — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jets quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick sits on the side­lines dur­ing the team’s 27-23 loss to the Dol­phins in Mi­ami on Nov. 6.

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