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Fitzpatrick to Start vs. Patriots

Veteran QB Hopes to Rally the Troops, Will Wear a Brace on His Left Knee


Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the Jets' starting quarterback and he will again get the call this weekend when the Green & White line up to play the New England Patriots.

"He's been playing all year. He knows more of the system," said head coach Todd Bowles today of his decision to go with Fitzpatrick over second-year passer Bryce Petty. "We can do more things with him. He's been the starter. I don't give away jobs. You have to take away a job. Bryce has gotten better. He'll be ready to play if called upon."

After Fitzpatrick sprained his left knee against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, Petty made the first start of his NFL career against the Rams in Week 10 as the Jets only manufactured a touchdown in a 9-6 loss. An emergency backup in defeat, Fitzpatrick benefited from an extra week of healing with the Week 11 bye.

"I'm excited to get out there and play versus New England and try to rally our guys," he said Monday. "This is something that I still really enjoying doing and really enjoy it with the guys in the locker room. I'm looking forward to it."

Bowles has repeatedly said that he will play the person who will give his team the best shot at winning. The 33-year-old Fitzpatrick, who has completed 56.4% of his passes this year for 1,983 yards with 8 TDs and 13 INTs, remains atop the depth chart ahead of Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg.

"I actually know quite a bit about both of them so it's not paramount for them to play right now, and right now Fitzpatrick gives us the best option," Bowles said. "You don't have to play a person to see what they have. Petty's time will come. We'll be patient with that."

After guiding the Jets to 10 wins a year ago, Fitzpatrick hopes he can lead the Green & White on a post-bye surge.

"We're all in this locker room to win games and do whatever we can to try to put it together and win games," Fitzpatrick said. "I think that's how Todd coaches and that's how we're going to play."

The remaining six games include a quartet of contests inside the division, starting with Sunday's battle with the Patriots. The Jets close the 2016 regular season with home dates against the Dolphins and the Bills in Weeks 15 and Week 17 sandwiched around a trip to New England on Christmas Eve.

"Four divisional games left, I think that's a big deal because they're all rivalries," Fitzpatrick said. "They're teams that you don't like. We play them twice a year and we learn not to like them for various reasons whether you've been here for a lot of time or just a year or two years. They are certainly games that are easy to get up for."

Last season, Fitzpatrick started all 16 games for the Jets despite undergoing surgery in November to repair a torn ligament in the thumb of his non-throwing hand. While the knee has improved, Fitzpatrick anticipates wearing a brace for the rest for the 2016 campaign.

"I think the thumb was maybe a bigger deal because in terms of thinking how I would be able to hand off and getting used to a brace that was so restrictive I couldn't move my thumb," he said. "That definitely took adjustment, but this one is not as bad because my every play movement maybe is not as effected as it was last year."

During a trying 10-game stretch, the Jets have started three quarterbacks. Fitzpatrick will start his ninth contest Sunday, starting that he and his teammates have a lot to play for.

"We play for each other, we play for the name on our jerseys, we play for a lot of different things," he said. "It's just one of those things. It's been a tough year, but we all still enjoy playing this game and playing with each other. So we're going to go out there and give it everything we have."

The Jets Returned to the Practice Field on Monday to Begin Prep for New England

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