Jets Lose Geno Smith For 6-10 Weeks With Broken Jaw
The New York Jets were just starting to like what they saw out of third-quarterback Geno Smith in training camp. Unfortunately, they can’t be sure now if the momentum he had been building will carry into the season.
Per reports, Geno Smith will miss roughly 6-10 weeks due to a broken jaw he suffered when “sucker punched” by teammate IK Enemkpali.
Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks, Bowles said. #nyj
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) August 11, 2015
The punch was initially reported as a “lockerroom altercation” between Smith and linebacker IK Enemkpali and was rumored to be about an unpaid debt. New York head coach Todd Bowles spoke on the incident and said there was no excuse for that type of violence in the lockerroom. Enemkpali was quickly cut from the team and may have difficulty finding another chance on an NFL team.
There’s no telling how good Geno Smith would have been this year, but there’s no doubt this injury stifles any progress he had been making. The team apparently feels comfortable with him now and going forward, but it’s worth wondering if Geno Smith will return as good as he was looking in camp. It’s at least arguable that Smith’s chemistry with the rest of the offensive players won’t be as good as it could have been had he played through the entire preseason.
As unfortunate as the news is, the Jets are lucky to have a stable veteran behind Smith and will start Ryan Fitzpatrick under center in week one. Fitzpatrick put up 2,500 yards and 18 touchdowns as a starter with the Houston Texans in 2014 and has started throughout his career in stops in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Tennessee. Fitzpatrick enjoyed his best seasons with the Bills but despite finding moderate success in his career, has never led a team to the playoffs.
The pressure of leading the Jets to the playoffs likely won’t fall on Fitzpatrick, however, as Smith should be back well before mid-season.
Jaw injuries usually aren’t overly tricky, giving Smith a solid 6-10 week return time table. He luckily still has the rest of the month to heal up during preseason play and may only miss the first half of the 2015 NFL season.
The big question will be where the Jets stand once Smith returns. He’s currently projected to return somewhere around week four. If Fitzpatrick can keep New York in contention, a healthy and developed Geno Smith could push them over the top and give them a chance at returning to post-season play.
The Jets have the defense and now the offense to be a solid, balanced football team. Whether or not losing their top quarterback for a few weeks to start the year ends up crippling them, of course, remains to be determined.
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