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Todd Bowles Explains Decision to Start Ryan Fitzpatrick

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New York Jets Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Bowles offered the following explanation for his decision to start Ryan Fitzpatrick in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Usually I do not post this much of a press conference transcript, but given the significance of the decision and the amount of time dedicated to it yesterday, I wanted to post as much of Bowles’ thinking as I could.

On whether he made a decision on who will start at quarterback against New England…

Yes.

On who will start at quarterback against New England…

(Ryan) Fitzpatrick.

On why Fitzpatrick will start…

He’s healthy.

On if his approach in his decision is that Fitzpatrick gives the team its best chance to win…

He’s healthy. He’s been our starter. I don’t see anything that could change that right now.

On what gives him confidence in Fitzpatrick….

He’s been playing all year. He knows more of the system. We can do more things with him. He’s been the starter. I don’t give away jobs. You have to take a job. Bryce (Petty) has gotten better. He’ll be ready to play if called upon.

On the argument that Petty should start to help the evaluation process during the offseason…

I don’t think anything of the argument. We take it week-by-week. We try to get to four wins. If we get four, we’ll try to get five and we’ll just go from there.

On whether Fitzpatrick will start for the remainder of the season…

Ryan is our starter. He’s healthy. We’ll see everything else going forward, but Ryan is our starter and we’re going forward with that.

On if he subscribes to adage that “you play to win the game”…

You always play to win the game.

On the argument of developing players in lieu of winning…

I’m not into the other argument right now. I’m into winning ball games.

On if he knew Fitzpatrick would be the starter last week…

I knew if Fitzpatrick was going to be healthy, he was going to be the starter, yes.

On whether he needed to see Fitzpatrick practice today to reaffirm his decision…

Yes.

On if Fitzpatrick is fully healthy…

I don’t think you’re ever 100 percent at this point in the year, but he’s healthy enough to play.

On what Petty could’ve done against Los Angeles to win the job over off of one game…

I don’t know if you do that. Obviously, if you throw 10 touchdowns you’ve got to take a look at it. Barring anything outstanding, Fitzpatrick would’ve been the starter.

On the importance of the philosophy of not giving jobs away and jobs having to be taken…

It’s important to a degree. Obviously, you have to take a job and win a job. But if two guys are on the same level and one of them isn’t playing up to par, you want to give the other one a shot.

On if Fitzpatrick is on a short leash against New England…

He’s the starter.

On if he informed both quarterbacks prior to practice…

They know.

On if his job security factored into his decision to start Fitzpatrick…

Not at all. We know the lifespan of a coach and a player when we get in this business.

On his discussions with Mike Maccagnan regarding the decision to start Fitzpatrick…

We have discussions, but he’s with me whatever I decide. And he understands why I did it.

On the possibility of reaching the end of the season without knowing more about Petty or Christian Hackenberg by playing them…

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. You don’t have to play a person to see what they have. Petty’s time will come. We’ll be patient with that.

On if he can determine enough in practice…

You can determine a lot. You can understand, you can determine a lot, but your best chances to win are the people you go with to win. And if (Petty) has to play, he’ll be ready to play. I thought he had a great experience against the Rams and I thought he carried himself well. Some things, obviously, he’s got to learn, but his chance will come.

On how much he factored the pulse of the locker room into his decision…

None.

On if he considers possible ramifications from the locker room when making a quarterback decision…

Absolutely not.

On whether facing New England this Sunday factored into his decision to start Fitzpatrick…

If Fitzpatrick was healthy, he was going to be the starter for whoever we played.

On why he doesn’t consider the locker room when making decisions…

Because coaches coach and players play. Our locker room is fine. We don’t worry about that stuff. We play and we support whoever is out there.