The New York Jets made sure to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for 2016 since without him, the upcoming season could have been lost without everything he brings to the table.
There tends to be two sides to every issue when it comes to the fan base of the New York Jets. There are rarely times where the fan base collectively agrees on an action that must take place. Even when star and future Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis was asking for a new contract back during the dark ages of general manager John Idzik, the fans were split on whether or not he even deserved the contract and the subsequent raise he wanted.
Now came this off-season where Jets fans saw a long and boring process between the organization and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. His reps kept going back and forth attempting to solidify a contract that would at least keep Fitzpatrick in a Jets uniform for at least one more season.
The process dragged on longer than anyone else expected and many analysts stating that if the Jets are able to lock Fitzpatrick down for this season, they could be serious NFL Playoff contenders. Fast forward to the 2016 NFL Draft and with the uncertainty of a certain veteran quarterback, fans and analysts alike expected the Jets to take a long hard look at all the quarterbacks coming out this year.
One particular player that was interesting was the quarterback out of Penn State Christian Hackenberg. This young and very talented quarterback had an immense challenge when his pro style coach Bill O’Brien left to become a NFL head coach. In doing so, he left this talented player with a new coach who looked to change how he functioned in and out of the pocket. When Hackenberg was drafted the one thing people knew he would need was time.
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This is where the brilliance kicks in on general manager Mike Maccagnan’s part.
By signing Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal, Maccagnan not only gives the Jets a fighting chance for the playoffs but also allows the younger two quarterbacks in Bryce Petty and Hackenberg more time to settle themselves into their roles and develop.
This way come next season, they can have a legitimate chance at landing the starting role as Fitzpatrick either takes on another new contract with a backup role or moves on to either a new team or even retirement.
This development period that Hackenberg gets to have allows him to shake off any bad habits or teachings his previous coach had forced upon him. One example of a bad teaching was shown immensely in the show “Gruden’s Quarterback Camp” that is presented on ESPN.
In this specific episode, Gruden comments on how after the coaching change occurred in Penn State, Hackenberg would start off with a different foot forward compared to when he was with O’Brien. When asked, Hackenberg stated how his new coach tried to tell him that his way was better and in a way forced the player to play in an uncomfortable manner. This type of bad habit is what Hackenberg will have to shake when getting ready to take a shot at the starting position in the future.
So not only in one signing did Maccagnan give his team the best chance to win but he also allowed his newly drafted quarterbacks some time to develop and better learn the system. Plus what better person to be mentored by than Fitzpatrick himself. This is a huge learning opportunity for both young quarterbacks and a huge way for the Jets to build on what they did last season and make a legitimate run for the playoffs and maybe even more.