A bromance is indeed developing on the NY Jets this season.
It’s the holiday season and love is in the air in New York. In the first half of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, the Jets held their counterparts at love. Besides that, we may be seeing a long-festering “bromance” coming to fruition between two veterans who have loved and lost before. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall have been in the NFL for a combined 21 seasons, played 252 games and have been a part of 9 different NFL franchises. Currently they have combined for a grand total of zero playoff appearances. Both players have been doubted, discounted and questioned.
Marshall is a volatile player – which once held true for his off the field actions as well – who can make plays that win or lose you a game. The Jets have seen both ends of this. Fitzpatrick is in the same category. From his beard trimming habits to his penchant for the 50-yard heave to his refusal to slide on any run, it’s evident that the Jets have also been on both ends of Fitzpatrick’s volatile habits. Put the volatility of these two together and you have created an inferno. This explains the inconsistent results of the Jets.
When things go well offensively – like they did today – it’s easy to see why these guys have a place in the league. When they lay an egg like they have in other games, it’s easy to see why they have been questioned in the past. The NFL is a very fluid league. Guys lose their jobs on a regular basis. Fitzpatrick and Marshall are two guys who have fallen out of favor multiple times over their 21 seasons. This past game against the Dolphins however, it seemed to all come together for the duo of hardened veterans.
— Ben (@ShowtimeBirns) November 29, 2015
Not counting the game against the Raiders, of Fitzpatrick’s 355 pass attempts this season, 99 have been in the direction of Marshall. That’s approximately 28% of the pass attempts, and of those 99 pass attempts in Marshall’s direction, 62 of those passes have been caught. It’s safe to say that these two just get each other. During the week, Marshall sent out this message regarding the dynamic communication that the pair engage in:
— Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) November 24, 2015
After a loss that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth and left the organization at a crossroads with respect to this season, this was a message that needed to be sent out by the team – the leaders of the team – that everything is going to be alright, and that the storm will be weathered. Simply showing them smiling after the week that they had left me feeling relaxed going into the game against Miami. So today, when Fitzpatrick threw 4 TD passes, 2 of which went to Marshall and threw 11 of his 37 attempts in the receiver’s direction, it should not have been a surprise to anyone.
The Jets’ offense may have indeed evolved, but by no choice of their own. With running back Chris Ivory sputtering and having no legitimate help behind him, the team seems to have had to rely exclusively on the passing game. The Jets’ offensive gameplan – despite a change in staff – has been stuck in 2009 Ground ‘n Pound mode for some time. Many of their opponents have not been strong in the secondary (Example A being the Houston Texans last week) and most of the Jets’ pass attempts against Houston came after they found themselves falling behind. Why the Jets have not exploited the mismatches they have before today is beyond me.
Against Miami, the Jets clearly exploited their advantage, as they featured the passing game exclusively against a weak secondary. The NFL has been a passing league for a long time and maybe this was the game to make the Jets realize the power of a potentially dynamic duo. When talking about the teams’ adjustment in offensive strategy for this week, Marshall said the following as reported by Brian Costello of the New York Post:
"“It’s just like basketball, when your 3-pointer is off, you’ve just got to go to the bucket…That’s all we have to do. We have to go to the bucket. Our jumper’s been off. We’ve got to get back to that, driving and getting to the foul line, hitting some of our free throws and getting that rhythm back.”"
Fitzpatrick to Marshall on Sunday was like John Stockton to Karl Malone: an easy slam dunk. All the talk in the off season was how Geno Smith and Marshall were living together and that Marshall was somewhat of a mentor to the young QB. Bros are more fun than dads, so the potential of a father-son relationship brewing could have been dangerous. The power of a good bromance is indisputable.
As Drake and Josh said in their famous theme song, “I never thought that it’d be so simple but I found a way, I found a way. The bromance between Fitzpatrick and Marshall is real, now the Jets just have to let it flourish or “open up (their) mind(s)” and “see what’s inside.”