Never a dull day, right Jets fans? Let’s get into it…
1. It is only August 12th and I’ve had my fill of non-football Jets incidents. The specifics behind the altercation have been laid out in multiple places. I’m not personally interested in wading into the muck with the ugly, racially coded statements that were slithering all over Twitter yesterday. My takeaway from yesterday’s telling of the incident isn’t to attack Geno Smith. It is to say IK Enemkpali is out of control and had character issues in college that clearly reared their head again. It is also to say that it is a damn shame a talented 24 year old who had a good spring and summer is going to miss 6 weeks of football, particularly over a such a stupid, stupid situation. Get healthy soon, Geno.2. On to football, which is something I’d much rather talk about. I wrote this about Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier in the off-season and still feel the same.
Fitzpatrick was the best available veteran option for the Jets to acquire this season in a limited market. He knows the offense, has been productive with Chan Gailey and did good work in Houston last season. Unlike last season’s backup, he isn’t likely to check out while being the team’s backup, considering how many times he has come off the bench in his career.
The general perception of Fitzpatrick is somewhat misguided, likely because he is an unathletic looking white guy who went to Harvard with a big beard. The thought process seems to be he is a pocket passer, who will stay within in the confines of the offense, play conservatively and protect the football. In reality, he is an athletic scrambler who often improvises and does a poor job of protecting the football
There is a reason he has been on four teams in four years. However, he knows the offense and played competent football last season. With the supporting cast here, there is no reason to think he can’t guide the Jets to a 2-2 start through the bye week, where they can then reevaluate the quarterback situation. We won’t have further clarity on Geno Smith’s timeline until post surgery but he is likely to be healthy by week 3 or 4. It will be interesting to see if the same fans who wanted Geno to have a quick hook, will want the same for Fitzpatrick when Geno is healthy.3. Bryce Petty is not an option to start now or anytime soon. Save your breath on that one.
4. The Jets are likely to be very cautious with Fitzpatrick in the pre-season along with adding another veteran (potentially Rex Grossman, Tyler Thigpen or another relatively uninspiring name). This veteran will likely be let go at some point in September but be valuable as a camp arm and for pre-season reps, so they all are not dumped on Petty and Jake Heaps when Fitzpatrick isn’t in.
5. Nobody knows what Fitzpatrick can and can not do better than Chan Gailey. The Jets offense will likely have less of a downfield focus with him under center and be a touch more run heavy. Fitzpatrick can move the ball well in the short to intermediate passing game and if he plays within the offense, the Jets can lean on their run game and defense to be competitive on a weekly basis.
6. I couldn’t agree more that the Jets should stay with Fitzpatrick if he is playing well early in the season. You don’t remove the hot hand and you don’t change the quarterback if you are winning. It becomes a tough call if the Jets start 2-2 and the offense has only been “meh.” It likely comes down to how he is protecting the football and if the Jets are plateauing 20 points per game.7. Silver lining? The Jets STILL have a better quarterback situation than the Cleveland Browns, their week 1 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, a divisional opponent and the Houston Texans, another team they play later in the year…so there’s that?
8. Fitzpatrick struggles getting the ball outside the numbers, so I’d expect that much more of Brandon Marshall in the slot and Jace Amaro being featured. (Please don’t leave comments about Amaro being third on the depth chart when the coaching staff has already explained why this is erroneous).
9. Who is the beneficiary of IK being knocked off the roster? Most likely Trevor Reilly but it does increase Jason Babin’s odds of making the roster as well.
10. I received some crap for not criticizing Todd Bowles. I don’t blame him for a player he had no hand in acquiring acting out of control when he was not present. Bowles also immediately cut Enemkpali and directly addressed the issue with the entire team and media within hours after the incident occurring. What are we blaming him for here? If this is happening in a year or two when the full stain of the Rex/Idzik years are gone, then yes he will get blame.
12. Well, the Jets still have Revis back.