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Ryan Fitzpatrick is not elite

By Luis Tirado Jr.
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes in front of quarterback Geno Smith (7) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes in front of quarterback Geno Smith (7) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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For the New York Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, ESPN Insider released their “2016 NFL QB Tier Rankings” as to which he was rightfully placed in the bottom and not considered elite.

Make no mistake about it, last season quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was put in a great situation to absolutely thrive in. Technically, quarterback Geno Smith should have started for the New York Jets but due to a locker room altercation involving money, he was punched in the jaw and sidelined for weeks.

Related Story: The greater meaning of Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick was next in line to start and never looked back. He delivered a huge season for the Jets that saw him total 3,905 passing yards, 335 completions, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He got the Jets to a game from making the NFL Playoffs but ultimately fell short as he put up an abysmal performance, which saw him commit three costly interceptions.

ESPN Insider was correct in giving Fitzpatrick such a bottom ranking since in the grand scheme of things, he’s nowhere near considered elite. He never was in his entire career as a journeyman quarterback and quite honestly, was a product of the system built around him last year.

His familiarity with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s playbook, dating back to their tenure together in Buffalo, helped him make it look easy. Combine that with the schedule the Jets had in 2015, Fitzpatrick was able to set franchise records against relatively easy teams. Plus last offseason, general manager Mike Maccagnan had a plethora of salary cap space and spent it on building top talent around him.

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Fitzpatrick has major value to the Jets since he does bring stability and is a fantastic mentor to all the young quarterbacks on the team.

From Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, Fitzpatrick has had a hand in their overall development, coaching and progression.

Fitzpatrick is not elite but is exactly what the Jets need to help build their young quarterbacks to hopefully one day have a franchise quarterback ready to take this team straight to a championship.

Elite quarterbacks are the ones that with everything on the line, deliver big results. No matter what obstacles are presented in front of them, they overcome them straight to victory.

Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, despite how great of a season he totaled when it came to his statistics in 2015, he once again proved that with everything on the line he couldn’t deliver. Elite quarterbacks, like the ones ESPN Insider put in their top tier quarterback rankings, always know how to step up in deliver. Football fans don’t need to be reminded of the greatness of quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger.

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Overall, Fitzpatrick is fine for what the Jets need right now in a a veteran quarterback with his ability to hold the fort and develop those around him for the future. There is a very good chance he will be tremendously exposed this upcoming season since once again, elite quarterbacks are all about winning in the clutch, delivering results and above all else, consistency. Fitzpatrick however, has yet to prove he’s in such a category and most likely won’t as he enters the final few years of his NFL career.

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