The NY Jets entered the regular season with back up Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, so far, he has repaid the Jets with an impressive 3-1 record to kick off the start of the season.
The NY Jets haven’t had an established quarterback since Joe Namath it feels like, Chad Pennington was the last quarterback of the Jets, in my own opinion, to ever prove he was the man for the job. Even then, the Jets were never a consistent team. You also have Mark Sanchez, a guy who most said they didn’t believe was ready for the NFL but started off great and fizzled out.
Sanchez had a positive first two years in the NFL making back to back AFC championship appearances in 2009 and 2010, but his stats were never consistent.
He was never able to ease up on the turnovers, and after five seasons with Gang Green, the Sanchize landed himself on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster as their full time back up.
And then their was Geno Smith, enough said there. Smith had a better than expected rookie year, if you will. He led the Jets to eight wins which was about five more than they were projected to win. Nevertheless, there was a tremendous amount of work that still needed to be done in order for Smith to be the clear franchise quarterback.
The following season, Smith won just four games which not only resulted in a last place finish for Gotham in the AFC East, but the firing of head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.
This short history lesson leads me to the present, as we all know Smith was involved in a physical altercation in a locker room incident this off-season which resulted in a broken jaw. Fitzpatrick was named the starter for the regular season while Smith nursed his injury.
As of right now, the Jets quarterbacks receive the grade of a C+.
As a starter, Fitzpatrick averages about eight wins or less a season. While that sounds like a train wreck for the Jets community, try to remember, when has Fitzpatrick ever had this much talent surrounding him? Sure, while he spent a season in Houston, he had DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson, but the support from their offensive line wasn’t fully there. This year, the Jets’ offensive line has been completely lights out. They haven’t allowed a sack in three of their four games so far this season.
Overall, magic Fitzpatrick has been performing at a level that most fans and analysts would not of predicted. Despite his stats which aren’t the best, the fact that he’s led this team to a 3-1 record so far when this time last year with Smith, they were 1-4 is pretty outstanding.Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass to running back Zac Stacy (30) against the Miami Dolphins in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
On the year, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 924 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He has a completion percentage of about 60% and averages 231 passing yards per game. His stats aren’t the best, 6 interceptions through four games is a bit much, if Fitz can ease up on the turnovers and increase his yards per game then his grade will noticeably increase. Currently, the Jets also rank 12th in points per game with 23, and 24th with passing yards per game.
I did take in Smith’s actions into consideration when making this grade because it is a grade based on the quarterbacks. Smith’s immaturity with the locker room altercation and practicing passes at his home after surgery is definitely not something a “Pro Bowl quarterback” that Smith referred to himself as last season, acts. Bryce Petty, the rookie out of Baylor, has shown significant signs of progression throughout the preseason but has a long way to go before even coming close to competing for the starting position.
Right now, this is Fitzpatrick’s team, as long as he can continue winning and diminish his turnover rate than not only will the team improve but so will their grade. For the first quarter of the season, they remain at a C+ as we will see how the Jets and Fitzpatrick continue to perform throughout the second quarter.