As the New York Jets stand firm on their offer to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, what will ultimately happen if he doesn’t come back to the franchise?
If quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick does not return, every fan of the New York Jets and media member will automatically write off the Jets in 2016. No one wants to see quarterback Geno Smith starting Week 1. It is a fair criticism of Smith, since he faltered when given the opportunity to be the quarterback of the future for Gang Green.
Is the season really over before it starts if Fitzpatrick doesn’t come back? No. Absolutely not. Yes, everyone is aware of the difficulty of the schedule for the Jets and the glaring holes, such as offensive tackle and edge pass rusher, that still remain. With that being said, the season still isn’t over just because Smith is the starting quarterback.
Smith showed why he was passed on in the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he also showed everyone why he was drafted 39th overall. The guy can throw a football. Smith can make throws that few quarterbacks can make, certainly not Fitzpatrick. Smith may not have the intangibles or awareness that allowed Fitzpatrick to flourish the last two seasons, but he will have no problem getting the ball to Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Although Smith had Decker at his disposal in 2014, he didn’t have Marshall. Decker is a different player when Marshall is on the field, as Marshall is a bona-fide number 1 and Decker is not.
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Another area of the Jets’ offense that improves with Smith as the starter is their deep passing game.
Early in the season when the Jets are playing five playoff teams in the first six weeks of the season, they must be able to stretch the field.
A failure to do so will allow opposing defenses to take away all the short hitch and slant routes, as well as the run game, by stacking the box.
If the Jets are going to the NFL Playoffs this year, they absolutely have to beat their division rivals, especially the Buffalo Bills at least once. That was something Fitzpatrick couldn’t do last season.
Fitzpatrick put up numbers that no quarterback has ever put up wearing the green and white. He is a leader and tremendous competitor who garnered the respect of everyone on the team. The best case scenario for the Jets is still to bring Fitzpatrick back. He gives them to best chance to win and they need a guy like him to be able to read defenses and audible; especially against top defenses like Seattle and Kansas City.
The point is though that the Jets aren’t doomed if Fitzpatrick doesn’t come back. Let offensive coordinator Chan Gailey do what he has done for his whole career, which is to take mediocre quarterbacks and make them into above average starters. He did it with Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh and Tyler Thigpen in Kansas City, so why can’t he do it again with Smith?