The New York Jets have had a miserable 2016 season. All fingers are being pointed towards quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but is this debacle really his fault?
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) reacts after being benched in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets have just one win over the first six weeks of the season, making them by one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL so far this season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year deal for $12M before the preseason started, has not experienced the same success as he did in 2015.
Fitzpatrick has thrown for five touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while only completing 57% of his passes this year. No team is going to experience success when the starting quarterback has double the interceptions to touchdowns.
It is always easy to blame the starting quarterback, but here are the top five reasons that this season’s debacle isn’t Fitzpatrick’s fault.
Next: 5. Running Backs
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
5. Running Backs
The Jets running game has been next to nonexistent. They decided to let power running back Chris Ivory leave as a free agent and brought in Matt Forte. He was a Pro Bowl player in his prime but was coming off of an injury ridden 2015 season with the Chicago Bears.
Last year, Forte only ran for 898 yards. So far this season with the Jets, Forte has only carried the ball 102 times for 360 yards and just three touchdowns in six games. Those three touchdowns all came in the Jets big Week 2 win against the Buffalo Bills. A game in which he rushed the ball 30 times and had 100 yards.
Next: 4. Wide Receivers
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
4. Wide Receivers
On paper, the Jets have one of the best group of wide receivers in football, but there is a reason football games aren’t played on paper. They have not been good at all.
The Jets have 13 dropped passes which are second in the NFL. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall whom always fills the stat sheet, always seems to miss a big catch in a big spot. An example of this is when Fitzpatrick hit him right in the hands in the closing moments of the season opener. against the
Against the Cincinnati Bengals, that particular reception which would have gone for big yardage, may have lead to a game-winning field goal. But Marshall let it bounce right off his hands for an incomplete pass.
Next: 3. Pass Rush
3. Pass Rush
The Jets signed defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a five-year deal worth $86M. They envisioned that Wilkerson, along with Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, and Steve McLendon, were supposed to have one of the most feared pass-rushing defenses in the NFL.
In the season opener against the Bengals, they looked like it, by recording seven sacks. Over the last five games since the season opener, the Jets have a total of just five sacks.
Opposing quarterbacks have had far too much time to sit back in the pocket and pick the Jets defense apart. Defense wins championships and well, without the support of a good one, there was only so much Fitzpatrick could do with limited time on the field.
Next: 2. Defensive Secondary
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2. Defensive Secondary
The Jets secondary has been down right awful. The struggles of Darelle Revis have been well documented, and rightfully so. He has gotten torched for big plays against him multiple times, including Weeks 1 and 2 where he gave up huge plays.
When Revis has been burned, safety Calvin Pryor has been nowhere to be found. Buster Skrine, a player who always shows up and hustles, has been flagged a lot for illegal contact, which leads to opposing offenses getting automatic first downs.
Next: 1. Coaching
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Head coach Todd Bowles has had a lousy sophomore season with the Jets. It is the job of the head coach to take the roster he has and put them in the best position to succeed. Bowles, along with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, fall way short of doing this.
If you see your cornerback getting torched, why not get him some help instead of exposing him the whole game? On defense, nobody is on the same page. It looks like 11 players playing 11 different types of defense. A group of Kindergartners playing “Duck Duck Goose” have more coordination than the Jets defense.
On offense, the Jets had one game where they committed to the run which led to victory. Otherwise, the run game has again, been nowhere to be found. Penalties, dropped passes, and undisciplined play all fall on the coach. The Jets have far too much talent to only have one win so far this season.
Fitzpatrick deserves some of the blame for what has happened with the Jets this season, but he is pretty low on the list of players responsible for this disgraceful year. Yes, we all know about his 11 interceptions, but six of them did come in one game.
Otherwise, he has been good enough to at least have the Jets at .500, but he doesn’t play defense. Nor can he play wide receiver and possibly catch some of the footballs that his teammates have let him down on all season. Even his “jackpot” $12M contract ranks pretty low for an NFL starting quarterback. So this belief that the Jets spared no expense for him is ridiculous. Quarterback Geno Smith wasn’t the answer three years ago, he isn’t the answer now, and won’t be the answer moving forward.