In the 10 days that the Jets will have in between games, there have been some significant changes on some NFL rosters, one of them being Ryan Fitzpatrick, now in position as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback.
Fitzpatrick, 34, a 12-year veteran who started for the New York Jets during their 2015-16 season, probably the best year of his career, 10 wins and 6 losses, signed on with Tampa in May to back up third-year franchise QB, Jameis Winston.
Sunday against the Jets, Winston will miss the first start of his three-year career, 40 consecutive games, because of a shoulder injury suffered this past Sunday in the first half against the New Orleans Saints. It’s estimated that Winston will miss at least two weeks after being examined with an MRI.
The Jets, who haven’t played since beating the Buffalo Bills 34-21 Nov. 2, a featured Thursday night NFL TV game, and who will have a bye after playing Tampa, have taken a pragmatic approach to Sunday’s road game in sunny Florida.
“We’re going down to play the Buccaneers, not Fitzpatrick,” said Jets head coach Todd Bowles, complimenting his former quarterback’s play during his time here but understanding the context, the situation that each team faces.
“We’re going to prepare like a normal week, and go down and try to get a win,” explained Bowles, who’ll have to travel southbound without wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.
Kerley, 28, 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, also the team’s punt returner, was suspended Monday by the NFL without pay for a violation of their performance-enhancing drug policy. The suspension takes effect immediately. The penalty for a first offense, such as Kerley’s, is four games. He will not be able to play until Dec. 17 against the Saints. He’ll be eligible for the Jets’ active roster Dec. 11.
In a statement issued by his representatives, Kerley said, “I was shocked by a positive test for Turinabol [the PED that he was accused of using], as I have never knowingly taken any banned substances.” Kerley vehemently denies ever using steroids in his life.
The Jets drafted Kerley in 2011. He spent five years with them, was dropped, and then signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. The Jets re-signed Kerley in September to add a veteran presence to their young and inexperienced receiving core. He also took over punt return duties. Kerley was released by the Niners at the end of training camp earlier this year. Except for a mishandled punt reception in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons that cost the Jets the game two weeks ago, Kerley has been a valuable asset to the offense of this Jets team.