NY Jets: 5 reasons to stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick


The NY Jets shouldn’t make any drastic moves at quarterback and would be wise to stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the rest of the season.

Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) warms up prior to a game against the New York Jets at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

It all may have been too good to be true. The NY Jets, fresh off of a miserable 4-12 season and with a new head coach and journeyman quarterback in tow, seemed destined to make the playoffs in 2015.

But the honeymoon period in New York is over. The once 4-1 Jets are now 5-5, and fans are bracing themselves for disappointment yet again.

Although the Jets have managed to remain competitive (3 of their past 4 losses have been by 7 points or less), close does not cut it in the NFL. Following the team’s loss to the Texans last Sunday, fans are clamoring for dramatic action.

In particular, many are calling for the benching of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Although concerns about Fitzpatrick’s play are understandable (3 touchdown passes, 4 interceptions, and a sub 50 completion percentage over his last 2 games), the Jets and their fans would be wise to maintain a steady course.

Here are 5 reasons why Fitzpatrick remains the best option at quarterback for the Jets.

Next: 5. He is the natural leader

Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) flips the ball to back judge Perry Paganelli (46) after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

5. He is the natural leader

No one would say that Fitzpatrick is the most athletically gifted quarterback. His journeyman status (Jets are his 6th team), advanced age (33), and struggles to throw the ball downfield are all well known.

That being said, he brings a sense of veteran leadership and a gritty style of play that the Jets desperately need. From the moment he steps onto the field, to the huddle, to his actual play, Fitzpatrick leads by example.

Fitzpatrick’s gutsy style is often borderline foolhardy. His daring runs and refusal to slide often exposes him to risk of injury. Nevertheless, it’s clear that his teammates respect what he brings to the table.

For a team that has been burdened with inept rookie quarterbacks for far too long, Fitzpatrick is the breath of fresh air the Jets desperately need.

Next: 4. He gives the Jets the best chance to win

September 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith (7) watches his team in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports

4. He gives the Jets the best chance to win

Ten games into the season, the Jets are 5-5 and Fitzpatrick has thrown 16 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions. For perspective’s sake, let’s compare those numbers to how other recent Jets signal callers have fared.

Apart from Mark Sanchez’s hot start in 2010, Fitzpatrick has so far managed to post one of the best seasons by a Jets quarterback in recent memory. Fitzpatrick’s numbers look all the more impressive when compared to the horrific debacle that was the Geno Smith years.

In times of prosperity, it can be easy to forget about the trying past. But if you had told Jets fans prior to the start of the 2015 season that their quarterback would have more touchdown passes than interceptions and their team a .500 record ten games into the season, they would have gladly signed up for that.

Next: 3. He is an easy scapegoat

Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (19) can’t make the catch as Houston Texans strong safety Kevin Johnson (30) defends during the second half of a game at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

3. He is an easy scapegoat

The quarterback is the single most important position in any team sport, yet fans still have a tendency to attribute too much of their teams’ successes and failures to quarterback play.

As the Jets slumped into their miserable 1-4 losing streak, Fitzpatrick has obviously struggled. However, if the individual games are dissected more carefully, it becomes clear that a litany of other factors have led to the team’s demise.

Against the Patriots, the Jets nursed a 17-16 lead heading into the 4th quarter before their defense collapsed. Key miscues by floundering rookie wide receiver Devin Smith cost the Jets opportunities to win against the Bills and Texans. After getting off to an incredible start, the Jets’ running game has stalled. Key injuries have revealed vulnerabilities on both sides of the ball. The list of problems goes on and on.

Fitzpatrick is a decent quarterback who can win given the right circumstances, but he cannot elevate a faltering roster by himself. If the team can correct their other issues, there will be no need to make a change at quarterback.

Next: 2. Hope is not lost

Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) celebrates with running back Bilal Powell (29) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jets 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2. Hope is not lost

Although all hope seems lost, the Jets (5-5) technically still have a decent chance to make the NFL Playoffs.

The team is currently mired in a four team dogfight for the final wild card playoff spot. Fortunately, the team has a manageable schedule down the stretch (Dolphins, Giants, Titans, Cowboys, Patriots and Bills).

Considering their recent struggles, the Jets seem incapable of beating anyone. But if they could run off another hot streak and win 4-5 of their remaining games, the Jets could still easily find themselves in the playoffs.

Until the Jets are eliminated from the possibility of postseason play, they should keep starting the players that give them the best chance to win now. That definitely includes Fitzpatrick.

Next: 1. It's a long season

Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) throws a pass during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Falcons 30-22. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

1. It’s a long season

Although there are some holdouts who still believe that Smith could step in immediately and outperform Fitzpatrick, the majority of Jets fans recognize that there are most likely no quick fixes on this team’s roster.

Many fans who are clamoring for Fitzpatrick’s benching want to explore what long-term quarterback options the Jets may already have. They want to see if Smith or rookie Bryce Petty could potentially develop into a viable starter in the future. At the very least, Jets fans want the organization to be ready to move forward and to add another quarterback in the off season if necessary.

Evaluating talent is essential. Given the past few drafts by the Jets, its clearly something the team needs to spend more time doing.

Next: Jets fill Quinton Coples' roster spot

All that being said, the Jets have six games left. If the team continues to struggle over their next couple games, they will be eliminated from the playoff picture. If that happens, the Jets will still have multiple games left to evaluate the quarterbacks on their roster and to plan for the future.

In the meanwhile, the Jets should not surrender the season or hit the panic button. If the team can maintain a steady course in the midst of all their struggles, if they can remain unswayed by the clamorous voices of the New York media, then the Jets may yet give their fans reasons to cheer in 2015.