Another loss. Another vent. Thoughts on the New York Jets coming off their latest defeat and after they announced Ryan Fitzpatrick would start at quarterback against the Colts this week on Monday Night Football…
When it comes to the big picture, yesterday was not all that bad. The Jets played a competitive game against a team they had no business beating. They still lost, which is less painful than usual because this team is out of the playoffs and is tumbling towards a high draft pick. A handful of young players, namely Quincy Enunwa, Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, and Daryl Roberts put together strong games against a quality team. The reasons they lost (and are a bad team), stayed the same, Darrelle Revis and Muhammad Wilkerson have checked out, they played poor special teams, lost the turnover battle and their quarterback did nothing on the game’s final two drives.
It remains indefensible that Fitzpatrick will start another game, although we have seen this movie before. The 2-8 Jets started Mike Vick just two years ago, so why not keep tradition and start Fitzpatrick? First off, Woody Johnson does not want a 30-10 loss with one of his young “what if…MAYBE they could be okay” quarterbacks getting embarrassed on national television. Second, Todd Bowles and his staff clearly think Bryce Petty is not ready to play in the NFL (this is why he couldn’t pass Geno Smith on the depth chart over the summer).
To be fair, many like this writer, don’t think Petty is a NFL starter and disliked the pick but at 3-8, let’s see proof of that. You have to hope he can at least be a competent backup long term here and he needs these valuable learning reps. Fitzpatrick’s run is done here (although there a handful of fans foolish enough to begin talking about him coming back in 2017 after one decent game against New England).
What is left on this Jets team to build around? Offensively, three headline pieces were acquired by previous GMs: offensive guard Brian Winters, wide receiver/h-back/Voltron Quincy Enunwa and running back Bilal Powell. John Idzik also appears to have found two players capable of being competent backup offensive linemen or spot starters in Wesley Johnson and Ben Ijalana. Mike Maccagnan does have James Carpenter to pair with Winters long term at guard and potential at receiver with Robby Anderson, Charone Peake and Devin Smith. Outside of that? The Jets should decide between keeping Eric Decker or Brandon Marshall, not both.
You can make a case for either, but I’d keep Decker, pending his recovery. He is younger, more cost effective to keep and his skill set is less redundant with Enunwa’s, who can play Marshall’s old role. I don’t doubt Marshall can be effective another year but maybe for once the Jets can take a page from New England’s book and move on from a player a year too early, instead of a year too late.
Defensively, Leonard Williams, Darron Lee, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Buster Skrine and Daryl Roberts will all get a longer look here. Williams has been a stud. Lee has flashed his first round potential. Both Mauldin and Jenkins have been disappointing this year but deserve another full year of an extended look. Skrine can be a solid slot corner and Roberts has been a quality waiver wire find. Outside of that, the Jets need to make a decision on how to proceed with Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. One is definitely going to be traded, but the Jets shouldn’t be averse to consider moving both. This is a team that needs two corners, maybe two safeties, another inside linebacker and more help on the edge. Spread the resources around.
In the meantime, the Jets have five games left, starting with Monday Night Football likely in front of 10,000 disinterested fans. Root for the young core and hope the team soon makes a logical decision at QB.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com