New York Jets: Quarterbacks and barbecue


As is tradition at my house, friends and family gather at my house for a Fourth of July barbecue. This year, we had a rather large group as we invited folks over to enjoy the shark steaks from our earlier fishing trip this summer. A good time was had by all, until as my wife said, “Everything turned to football.”

Among the guests, we had our fair share of Steelers and Eagles fans, as I long ago relocated from New York to the friendly confines of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Needless to say, there was a bunch of football talk! To generalize, the Steelers fans are optimistic, but have more then a few questions concerning their roster. The Eagles fans among us, were the loudest and likely the most excited about the new season ahead.

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The Jet contingent talked about quarterbacks most of the day. It was a heated debate, with a wide range of opinions on how the Jets will fair at the position this season. Our group is split on the possibilities surrounding the position this year. Two of our members, myself included, see Geno Smith as the best option this year. Our other two outspoken opponents see Ryan Fitzpatrick as the guy that should lead this team into 2015.

This debate is not only happening in my backyard, it’s seemingly happening throughout the fan base. We know Chan Gailey and Todd Bowles have said that the job is Smith’s to lose. The question being debated this year over tons of food and refreshments, was whether Smith can hold onto it.

Interestingly enough, as I sat back and listened to the growing debate, I realized fans outside our fan base see the quarterback position a little differently then Jet fans. Tony, an old friend and long time Steelers fanatic, sees Smith as a quality option who Jet fans aren’t giving a chance. Tony believes that Smith’s third year is going to shut up a lot of his critics.

Pat, a die-hard Eagles fan and a constant tormentor of this Jet fan, also believes Smith will have a good year with the weapons the team has on offense. Pat also criticizes Jet fans for being too critical of the third year quarterback.

The debate rolled on into the afternoon with the Fitzpatrick group making their case for him to be the starter. My buddy John, a long time Jet fan is adamant that the team needs to start Fitzpatrick. He claims the best way to handle this year’s quarterback position is to start the seasoned veteran and allow Smith to sit and learn.

John discounts the third year being the year for Smith argument. He points to his constant struggles in his first two years and the reported poor play by Smith in OTA’s this spring as his reason the Jets would be wise to let him sit.

Of course it seems you can’t have this conversation without the trade possibility coming up. James, a friend I grew up with in the city made the trip this year from Staten Island, views the quarterback position as dismal. He’s all about trading Muhammad Wilkerson to the Chargers for Philip Rivers.

Despite being told that Rivers was likely going nowhere this season, James believes it needs to be done. His contention is that this likely one of the best all around rosters the Jets have had in decades, and if they can add Rivers it would be Super Bowl bound. We almost had to restrain him when someone claimed that Geno Smith could do the job Rivers could do here in New York!

It was a great day of barbecue and good friends. As always we resolved nothing as to how to handle the position this year, but the conversation was totally enjoyable. No matter who starts this season, we agreed, the Jet fan base needs to support him. Little will be accomplished if fans greet our starter with boos as he comes onto the field.

May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

I believe Smith will be the guy to start this year. If he can win this competition he will have earned it. Fitzpatrick, while not being an elite quarterback, brings a challenge to Smith that I hope will be enough to get him to a more consistent place in his game.

If Smith struggles early however, I think Gailey has to have him on a short lease. In my opinion, by game four, if Smith continues to struggle it will be time to sit him. I think he deserves a chance to prove he can lead this team, and to prove to himself and his critics that he can play successfully at the professional level.

We here at The Jet Press want to hear your take on this most important position. Who is the guy you want to see start the season? Do the Jets have their starter on the roster? Is a trade out there that the Jets can find a quality starter? Please leave us a comment and Let’s Talk Jet Football!!

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