Ryan Fitzpatrick is struggling, and the Jets' quarterback situation is a complete mess

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The New York Jets dropped their fourth consecutive game and fell to 1-5 on the season after the Arizona Cardinals blew them out, 28-3, on Monday night.

The game itself was not only riddled with penalties and never particularly competitive, it also put on display the terrible situation the Jets find themselves in at quarterback.

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First there was Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 16 of 31 passes for 176 yards and threw one bad interception in the end zone in the third quarter. It was certainly a better performance than some of the others we have seen from him this season (namely the six interception game against the Chiefs), but by just about all accounts it was still deeply underwhelming and gave Jets fans little to feel good about.

Through the first six games, Fitzpatrick has now thrown a league-leading 11 interceptions, compared to just five touchdowns. Although he is on the books for $10 million this season, Fitzpatrick is starting to show why the Jets held off over the summer from giving him the multi-year contract he wanted.

As Pro Football Focus observed afterwards, Fitzpatrick has struggled most under pressure. This is true of all quarterbacks, but Fitzpatrick's numbers are especially jarring.

From PFF:

"Under pressure this season, Fitzpatrick has completed only 42.6 percent of his passes, for an average of 4.8 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 35.7. To be clear, his passer rating under pressure is worse than if he had just thrown the ball to the turf every snap, and that doesn't even factor in the yards lost due to sacks."

With the game all but over late in the fourth quarter on Monday night, the Jets turned to backup Geno Smith, who earlier in the game was caught on camera pacing around the sidelines, evidently frustrated that he wasn't in the game.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 7
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NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

32. Browns (0-6)
Last Week: 32

Almost! Cleveland came up just shy of their first win of the season in Tennessee, but to no avail, and in the cellar they remain.

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

31. Bears (1-5)
Last Week: 28

The Bears faced a vulnerable opponent in Jacksonville at Solider Field on Sunday, and squandered a chance at their second win of the year. They'll now face the Packers, at Lambeau, on short rest. Not a great combination.

(Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

30. 49ers (1-5)
Last Week: 29

Colin Kaepernick didn't play badly under center, but the results were still the same in Week 6. With a bad quarterback, or with a slightly-less-bad quarterback, the 49ers still don't stand much of a chance.

(Photo by Michael Adamucci/Getty Images)

29. Jets (1-5)
Last Week: 25

One more loss will match their total from all of last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick's five touchdowns and 11 interceptions have fans clamoring for a replacement -- though Todd Bowles is sticking with his $12 million quarterback for now.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

28. Dolphins (2-4)
Last Week: 30

After weeks of futility, the Dolphins easily took care of business against the Steelers -- albeit without Ben Roethlisberger for some of the game. Next week, they'll host the hottest team in the division -- the Buffalo Bills.

(Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

27. Panthers (1-5)
Last Week: 23

The Super Bowl hangover is real. After winning the NFC last year, the Panthers are 1-5 and coming off a loss to the Saints. Their playoff hopes are already all but gone -- they'll have a bye week to figure things out before a Week 8 matchup against Arizona.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

26. Colts (2-4)
Last Week: 18

Six weeks in, it's clear that the Colts are a mess. They blew a chance to hop right back in the AFC South race with a Sunday night win, but with an overtime loss to Houston, it'll take a massive turnaround to get back into the thick of things.

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

25. Saints (2-3)
Last Week: 27

New Orleans became the latest team to knock off the Panthers, but at this point, that's not necessarily all that impressive. The Saints managed to outscore their horrid defense, which is how they'll have to win all their games this season.

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

24. Titans (3-3)
Last Week: 22

The Titans dropped two spots despite a win in Week 6, but that kind of thing happens when you play the Browns. They're not quite Browns-bad, thankfully. But they're still pretty bad.

(Photo by Greg McWilliams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

23. Chargers (2-4)
Last Week: 31

The Chargers showed up on Thursday night, topping Denver at home in an impressive win. This team, even despite injuries, seems to have more talent than their record would suggest -- but another tough test awaits next week in Atlanta.

(Photo by Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

22. Jaguars (2-3)
Last Week: 26

Jacksonville is slowly recovering from their slow start, winning their second consecutive game. In a Week 7 battle between teams with the most offseason hype, the Jags host Oakland -- but at 4-2, they're no easy opponent.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

21. Rams (3-3)
Last Week: 19

Case Keenum had maybe the best game of his career, but it still wasn't enough for Los Angeles to top Detroit. Keenum's great outing, though, will keep Jared Goff on the sidelines for at least a few more weeks.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

20. Buccaneers (2-3)
Last Week: 21

Coming off its bye, Tampa has a good break, playing the 49ers in Week 7.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

19. Ravens (3-3)
Last Week: 15

Remember when Baltimore was 3-0? They've now dropped three straight, but a matchup against the lowly Jets should help them get back on track.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

18. Lions (3-3)
Last Week: 20

Finally, in Week 6, Golden Tate showed up as the top receiver Detroit expected him to be when Calvin Johnson retired over the offseason. Tate's eight catches for 165 yards and a touchdown helped power the Lions to a win on Sunday, and if he can prove to be a consistent contributor, Detroit's future may be bright.

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

17. Bengals (2-4)
Last Week: 16

Cincy had the misfortune of facing the Patriots in Foxboro in Week 6, but some good karma was tossed its way with a home game against the Browns this week. Some things just work themselves out.

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

16. Giants (3-3)
Last Week: 24

The Giants' strange season continued with a fairly impressive win against Baltimore -- driven mostly by Odell Beckham's first monster game of the season. With Dallas and Washington seeming to hit their stride, New York will need to string together a few more wins.

(Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

15. Cardinals (3-3)
Last Week: 17

Against a slumping Jets team, the Cardinals came out and did exactly what they were supposed to on Monday night, beating up on New York 28-3. Carson Palmer suffered a hamstring tweak, which will be important to monitor heading into a Week 7 matchup against the Seahawks.

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

14. Raiders (4-2)
Last Week: 9

Oakland couldn't get much of anything going against Kansas City's defense in Week 6, but carries a winning record into a matchup against Jacksonville on Sunday.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

13. Eagles (3-2)
Last Week: 10

The Wentz Wagon may be loosing some bandwagoners after Philly lost its second straight game. A divisional loss against Washington hurts, but a tilt against the Vikings next week could be even more punishing.

(Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

12. Redskins (4-2)
Last Week: 14

Washington won its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, knocking off an Eagles team that seems to have peaked a bit too early.

(Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

11. Texans (4-2)
Last Week: 12

Houston prevailed on Sunday night in a game that took an overtime period to decide, pummeling Indianapolis to dead-last in the division. They'll need more consistency moving forward, but a Week 7 matchup with Denver on MNF won't be easy.

(AP Photo/George Bridges)

10. Bills (4-2)
Last Week: 13

After an 0-2 start, the Bills are now one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and, barring a meltdown this week, await a Week 8 game against New England with major divisional implications.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

9. Chiefs (3-2)
Last Week: 11

Efficient play from Alex Smith and solid rushing from Spencer Ware have highlighted Kansas City's success this season. Against New Orleans' brutal defense next week, they shouldn't have a problem continuing this trend.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

8. Packers (3-2)
Last Week: 5

It's not time to panic, but Aaron Rodgers' recent decline is at least a bit concerning for Green Bay. A game against the Bears should help him get back on track, but if not, there may be a problem.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

7. Falcons (4-2)
Last Week: 6

Atlanta finally came back down to earth with a Week 6 loss to Seattle, but on the road, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

6. Steelers (4-2)
Last Week: 4

We're not quite sure what happened in Week 6 against Miami, but the Steelers came out flat and got embarrassed. They'll be without Ben Roethlisberger for at least a few weeks, which makes their future even murkier.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

5. Broncos (4-2)
Last Week: 3

They suffered a bad loss to San Diego on Thursday night, but with a longer week of practice, hosting the Texans on Monday night, they should be able to get back on track at Mile High.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

4. Cowboys (5-1)
Last Week: 8

It looks like this is really happening. Led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are one of the best teams in football. And with the way things are going, there's just no way Jerry Jones can re-insert Tony Romo, whenever it is he's ready to return.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

3. Seahawks (4-1)
Last Week: 7

It was their toughest matchup of the season thus far, and Seattle passed the test, winning a tough one against Atlanta. Matt Ryan threw for 335 yards, but Russell Wilson's 25-for-37 passing clip led the Seahawks to their fourth win of the year, setting up for a primetime game in Arizona this week.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

2. Vikings (5-0)
Last Week: 2

After a bye week, Sam Bradford and the Vikings will travel to Philadelphia, where the quarterback will likely have a chip on his shoulder returning to his old stomping grounds.

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

1. Patriots (5-1)
Last Week: 1

New England remains on top after a convincing win over Cincinnati, and they get a big break heading into Week 7, with Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines following surgery on his meniscus.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)


Like Fitzpatrick, Smith will be a free agent at the end of the season, so it is understandable that Smith would want a shot to prove himself — if not to the Jets than at the very least to another team in the league. But his audition on Monday night did little to help convince inquiring front offices that he is the answer under center.

In his one drive, Smith managed to start off nicely with a few completions and a first down. But before long, he was sacked for a loss (and fumbled the football, though the Jets managed to recover it) and then threw an interception. To make matters worse, the interception followed a timeout and the timeout only happened because the play clock was running out.

After the game, head coach Todd Bowles announced that Fitzpatrick will start against the Ravens in Week 7.

Dig a little deeper down the Jets' depth chart at quarterback and the problems only increase. The Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round of this year's draft, though they have acknowledged that he is red-shirting the season and won't even dress for the games, much less see any playing time. Bryce Petty, the team's fourth-round pick from last season, has no regular-season experience, although he did show improvement between this year's and last year's preseason.

In other words, the Jets have two young quarterbacks, both of whom are extremely raw and unproven, and two experienced quarterbacks, both of whom are deeply flawed and soon-to-be free agents.

It would be unfair to suggest that the team finds itself at 1-5 all because of the problems at quarterback, and the injuries to Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall certainly haven't helped. On the other side of the ball, the team's defense, both the secondary and the pass-rush, have also been far worse than expected.

But the quarterback problems aren't going away anytime soon. And so long as they continue, so too will the Jets continue to be well out of AFC East contention.

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