One of the main issues for the Jets’ lack of success in the playoffs has been the lack of production from the quarterback position. Since 2010 with Mark Sanchez at the helm, the Jets have been unable to find a sufficient replacement for him to complement the defense.
Although the Jets went to two straight AFC Championship games with Sanchez under center, he was a sub-par quarterback. In both years they went to the AFC Championship game, Mark Sanchez finished 19th and 27th in Total Quarterback Rating and had a below average quarterback rating in both seasons.
Mark Sanchez with the Jets, Rex Grossman with the Bears, and Joe Flacco with the Ravens, all proved that defense can win championships, and all you need is a smart quarterback who limits his mistakes and makes the occasional great throw.
The New York Jets finished 4-12 last year, but the one real reason they struggled last year was the quarterback – Geno Smith. Smith was too inconsistent and made too many mistakes to lead the Jets to success.
Smith, designated the starter before the season, is now injured with a surgically repaired jaw, caused by a fight with a former teammate, and is likely to miss the first month or two of the season. However, Jets fans have nothing to worry about with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the new starter.
Fitzpatrick showed great promise with the Texans last year, with a 6-6 record as the starting quarterback. An even record is not a playoff team, but four of his six losses were one possession games. Also, Fitzpatrick does not turn over the ball as much as Geno Smith with only eight interceptions last year in twelve starts. Not necessarily the prettiest numbers, but not terrible.
Fitzpatrick is a stable, consistent quarterback who is able to perform well, but will consistently perform decent. With the Jets defense, he will not need to perform spectacular, much like in his time with the Texans that saw him have minor success thanks to a strong defense. Fitzpatrick is still able to dazzle fans like he did in week 13 last year where he threw for over 350 yards and five touchdowns against the Titans.
His performance was rated the fourth best quarterback performance all year with a 99.5 Total Quarterback Rating – not too shabby. Even though the Titans are viewed as a horrible team, they managed to perform extremely well against quarterbacks. If Fitzpatrick would have thrown for as many yards as his average was last year, 207, that would have put the Titans giving up only 221 yards per game, which would have been fifth best in the NFL.
The three performances better than Fitzpatrick’s were from Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan, who played against two of the top five worst passing defenses in the NFL last year, Chicago (30th) and Tampa Bay (28th). With Fitzpatrick having to go up against some great defenses next year such as the Bills twice, Dolphins twice, and the Texans, it shows that he can thrive against terrific defenses.
In addition, Ryan Fitzpatrick has weapons around him similar to the weapons he had in Houston, if not much improved. Fitzpatrick has proven to succeed with a deep threat, a pass-catching running back, and a dependent veteran receiver to keep the chains moving. He had all those weapons with the Texans last year with Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, and Arian Foster.
The Jets have much more offensive weaponry than the Texans of last year:
The Jets’ deep threat: Eric Decker/Jeremy Kerley. Both have proved to outrun corners and catch passes downfield for massive gains which works in Fitzpatrick’s favor.
Jets’ dependent veteran: Brandon Marshall. Marshall is an upgrade from A. Johnson with the same unique redzone availability and more proven elusiveness at his age that will make a popular target for Fitzpatrick.
Jet’s pass-catching running back: Bilal Powell/Zac Stacy. Both have proven to be able to catch out of the backfield, however, Chris Ivory will see more snaps and could take some of those catches away from them. Ivory has not shown much promise in his ability to become a running back with great hands, but the Jets have Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy, and Darryl Richardson if he makes the roster to fill in for Ivory.
The offensive line transition should not be a problem at all for Fitzpatrick. According to profootballfocus.com, the Jets finished with the ninth best pass blocking offense in the NFL, four spots better than the Texans last year. However, the Jets’ run blocking rank, 18th, is much worse than the Texans (third) but Chris Ivory has still managed to rush for over four yards a carry the past two years on the Jets.
Finally, the last variable for a successful season with Fitzpatrick is his record as a starter. Other than the Texans from last year, Fitzpatrick has not started for a team with a great defense like the Jets will be this year. The only issue with the Jets defense last year was the secondary, and the additions of Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine cleared up that problem quickly.
Fitzpatrick may not be a great quarterback, but the Jets do not need a great quarterback; they need a quarterback who can get the job done. That quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Look out for the Jets this season.