New York Jets Positional Preview – Quarterback

AJ Sicignano overviews the New York Jets quarterback position

With the majority of the New York Jets roster set, barring any surprise signings and cuts, AJ Sicignano is going to break down two position groups per week and see where they stand in the AFC East and among the rest of the conference.

Kicking off this series is the quarterbacks. Be on the lookout for running backs on Thursday

Note: Regarding AFC Conference ranks, I have broken the 16 teams in the AFC into three tiers. The first tier being the top units in the conference, second tier being average and the third tier being among the worst in the conference and rookies.

Quarterbacks – Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, Jake Heaps.

In what seems to be a never ending search for the next franchise QB, the team enters the year in almost the exact same scenario they were in last year. They are going into training camp with Geno Smith as the projected starter and a veteran backup behind him should Geno flop.

Hoping Geno takes the next step in his progression as an NFL QB is the ideal situation but he’s given the fans plenty of doubt after his first two years in the league. With the switch to what should be a much friendlier offensive system under new OC Chan Gailey and the addition of WR Brandon Marshall there are glimmers of hope for Geno to turn his career around.

If the staff is forced to pull Geno at any point in the season they will hand the ball to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who may be a better option regardless. He’s always been an erratic, wildcard type player throughout his entire career but he’s also seen his most success under Chan Gailey during their time together in Buffalo. Fitzpatrick was having himself a pretty decent season statistically (17 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and a completion percentage of 63%) last year until a broken leg ended his season.

The Jets also roster two rookie QBs as of right now. Fourth round draft pick out of Baylor, Bryce Petty and UDFA Jake Heaps. Other than the preseason action they’ll see in the upcoming months neither should see any time in the regular season.

AFC East Rank: 3rd (ahead of Buffalo)

AFC Rank: Third Tier

Question: Who would you rank ahead/behind the Jets at quarterback in the AFC East?

  • Muzzlewog

    Good GIF.

  • RONBO19

    A.J, for all the reasons you mentioned this is without a doubt a make of break season for Geno. Many respected NFL experts feel year three is when most young QB’s careers are determined. For that reason I think Geno should get the opportunity to prove himself worthy of being the guy. I agree the new offensive system and the added talent on offense should make life a little easier for him and I am anxious to see how he responds. As for how Fitzpatrick fits into the equation I think he needs to be plan B. Yes he did have a good season last year until he was injured. But he has never played on a winning team and his turn over numbers over the vast majority of his career tell us he is not a clearly better option. At 32 years of age and being on his 6th team in 11 years and when you consider the low cost the Jets paid to acquire him , it is obvious the rest of the league does not hold him in high regard. So in all likelihood, neither should we. If Geno is still a mess early on Fitz may be able to come off the bench and give the team a boost. At this point I just think its better to find out one way or the other if the young guy with the potentially better upside is or is not the teams future QB.

  • a57se

    I have never been a believer in Geno Smith. I read articles on why Geno can succeed (Bucky Brooks, Jaws, etc.) and wonder what they have been looking at. It is like they look at Geno’s highlight reel and don’t bother watching the film where he throws 3 picks in 12 plays or where he is late with his throws over the middle or the hospital balls he likes to throw or his poor footwork where he is almost falling down (without pressure) on some throws or not reading a blitz and adjusting the line calls or not reading the defense properly…
    Scheme changes and personnel changes won’t impact this stuff all that much nor will it change the attitude issues that have presented themselves at different times over the course of his career.
    I really hope I am wrong and this guy is all some of you folks think he is…until he demonstrates that, I remain very skeptical..

  • RONBO19

    57, your one of my favorites here and on Bents blog so your opinion is well respected here. Your really not saying anything I havn’ t thought or even said myself. I read a really good article regarding the development of young QB’s and how they are effected by the lack of preparation they get (or don’t get) in college football. The author went on to say how he felt that college football had become similar to little league baseball where coaches put the biggest and best athletes at pitcher and short stop. He felt a lot of college coaches did the same and he mentioned Terrell Pryor and Vince young as a couple of examples. Like you I noticed Geno’s terrible foot work, his lack of anticipation and all the other flaws in his game. But I also kept my eyes open long enough to see the good plays too which brings me to the conclusion that no matter what happens, the Jets have already invested a high draft pick in round 2 of 2013 plus 29 games of starting experience so as this is year three of his career the Jets owe it to themselves to find out one way or the other what they have. I’m not advocating he keep the job no matter what. Hey, after two or three games if he’s clearly the thing holding us back he needs to take a seat and see if the vet can do better. But it would really suck if we cut him and he went on to have a good career elsewhere and with our luck that would be as Tom Brady’s successor in New England! LOL!

  • a57se

    Isn’t it IRONIC that the GIF here is the infamous timeout play!

  • RONBO19

    Yeah, I noticed that too. Hey, for all of Geno’s screw ups we cant blame him for that one! LOL!

  • a57se

    Well, the whole reason Marty was trying to call a timeout was because he didn’t trust Geno to make the right adjustment…
    Geno did in the end so it wasn’t needed but it is tough not to trust your QB.

  • RONBO19

    I see your point and obviously it has merit. That situation is a microcosm of Rex’s time here where the jets continuously struggled with communication that resulted in one wasted time out after another. Like a lot of problems under Rex’s regime that was a problem they never fixed. Personally to me it was all about the lack of discipline from owner-ship to management through out the coaching staff on down to the players. All the more reason to cut Geno some slack because its impossible for the tail of the dog to know what to do when the head of the dog doesn’t know what it wants. I am very happy the Jets moved on from Rex because as much as I liked him as a person he just never figured the head coach thing. A great defensive mind but clueless as the head guy.

  • Dan in RI

    Ron, I agree wholeheartedly. Geno is in his make or break season. He will either become a good (with a ceiling of very good) QB, or he will become a career back-up. I don’t expect the Jets to have a very short leash with him. Unless he is unbelievably bad in his first two or three games, he’ll have the ball at least until the Bye week, and maybe longer. If he can’t cut it this year, it will be time to move on–but it isn’t even clear what that will mean. Fitzgerald will almost certainly be the fall-back option for this year, but Petty may be an option for next year–the coaches will certainly be watching his development closely. If Geno bombs, and Petty doesn’t show great promise, we’ll be drafting a QB in the first round next Spring, and hoping that some one pulls a Teddy Bridgewater, falling into the mid to late first round (I figure our defense will make us a middle of the pack team, even if the offense is no better than last year). Geno has shown flashes of great promise, even while stinking it up for long stretches of the season. But, as so many people have noted, he also had the least talented group of receivers in the NFL during his first year, with only slight improvement his second year. So it will be interesting to see how he reacts to having some quality players around him this year.

  • John C

    RonBo, I agree Geno should get one more chance, but, over the last 5 years, Fitzpatrick has 102 TDs and 83 ints. Not superstar stats, but not disastrous either.

  • Anthony

    The thing that cracks me up about that play the most was that for all the marbles, the play was, let the 5’10 slot guy go high point the ball. To call our receiving corp deficient for most of the past three seasons would be an understatement.

  • RONBO19

    John, stats are great foe fantasy football but when it comes to winning games Fitz has never been able to do that. I grant you he might turn out to be the better option going into this season coming off a good season and with the experience in Chan’s system. But as a Jet fan its not only this year that concerns me. I am hoping we can build a strong roster that can become a winning team with a sustainable balanced roster. The idea of going into the season with a 32 year old journeymen QB who nobody else seemed interested in is not my idea of how to build a sustainable roster. I like the idea of a veteran back-up but I would be disappointed to see a healthy Geno Smith started the season on the bench because that would mean his doubters were right. I have been a member of the doubter club on many occasions but when I sit back and look at the big picture I realize the team needs to develop a young QB so I’m willing to endure what ever comes our way in the hope his supporters are right.