Time To Give The Harvard Man A Break, My Column

Joe Caporoso with a not entirely sincere plea to give Ryan Fitzpatrick a break…

There are many culprits for the New York Jets early season woes, yet much of the blame is unfortunately being misdirected to the man under center. Now is not the time to point fingers at a position like quarterback and now is not the time to point fingers at the Harvard Man, Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of the few things the Jets have got right in recent years…

Coming off the greatest season that did not culminate with a playoff appearance in modern NFL history, Fitzpatrick was forced to spend his offseason puttering around with his kids rather than immersing himself in offseason workouts. Why? The Jets cruelly kept him away from Florham Park, comically only offering 3 years and 24 million dollars. Where was the Brock Osweiler money? Where was the Sam Bradford money? Fitzpatrick broke records, won hearts and led with a blue collar grittiness that this city rallied behind en route to the 12th best Jets season ever.

Lucky for New York, the Harvard Man bailed them out by humbly accepting a mere pittance of 12 million dollars for a single year of service and toil. The Jets didn’t do him any favors to make that single year easier though. They drafted a pretty boy 2nd round quarterback with superior arm strength. Distracting. They kept mopey movie theater attender Geno Smith around. Distracting. They kept Madden Aficionado, 37 year old, second year player Bryce Petty around. Guess what? Distracting.

On the field, Fitzpatrick lit up the world on Thursday Night Football with an Offensive Player of the Week performance, against Super Bowl favorite Buffalo. Did the Jets oblige with a contract extension to right the wrongs of this offseason? Nope. Who can blame Fitzpatrick, ever the economics whiz-kid, for not feeling frustrated and letting it impact his performance the following two weeks?

It is easy to point the finger at the guy throwing 9 interceptions in two weeks. It isn’t easy to dig a little deeper at the real problems. First off, let’s look at the league. How can anybody be expected to perform against that Kansas City secondary? In no time in our recent, primetime memory have we seen anybody throw the ball against them with ANY success. The Legion of Boom the next week? Why even bother to show up? Have we EVER seen an average, maybe LA based, mediocre QB beat them, while avoiding any turnovers in a 9-3 game just a few weeks ago? Not that I can specifically remember. Thanks for the schedule, Roger.

Second, what is with this miscast group of receivers and backs who aren’t doing a thing to help the Harvard Man win on those 50/50 balls? Rookies like Dak Prescott are thriving but with the likes of Brice Butler and Terrence Williams carrying them week to week. Sure, Brian Hoyer is playing well but he is throwing to Zach Miller and Eddie Royal. Easy enough targets for even a novice.

Fitzpatrick is stuck with a hobbled Porsche Betting Brandon Marshall, a gritty possession receiver in Eric Decker, some Enwa guy who played at Nebraska….yeah, they throw plenty of passes there. When you mix in that mediocrity with the swirling September winds of East Rutherford, it is a climate not even Joseph Montana himself could excel in.

No, now isn’t the time to blame Fitzpatrick, man of Harvard. Now is the time to rally behind the heady, conservative leader of the offense who will properly manage the game and take whatever the defense gives him. Get out of his way, Chan. Get out his way, Brandon. Let this Ivy League bred Adonis chop wood and recapture the magic of last season which brought the Jets to brink of greatness as the AFC’s 7th best team.

Photo Credit: Harvard.com 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports