Once again the New York Jets have high expectations going into the regular season. Like always, those high expectations come with the usual drama that this franchise seems to carry on a yearly basis. Last year, it was the training camp incident that involved quarterback Geno Smith and former teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali, who sucker punched Smith for not showing up to a charity event.
Fast forward to 2016 and there’s another issue that looms going into training camp. The Jets front office has still not resigned veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a new long-term contract. 2015 was a considered a breakout season for Fitzpatrick, as he led the Jets to a ten win season and one victory shy of making the playoffs.
Fitzpatrick posted career highs in passing yards (3,905), and touchdown passes (31) during his 2015 campaign. Even with Fitzpatrick’s best season of his career and coming up a game short of advancing to the playoffs, the Jets front office is hesitant of awarding Ryan with a new contract. It is reported that the Jets are in no rush to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick to a new long-term deal with the ball club going into the 2016 season.
With that being said, I just want to let you know that the Jets will not make the playoffs without Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. Along with Geno Smith, the team has two other backups on the roster that are clearly not ready to become a viable option for the Jets at the quarterback position. Backups, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg are still learning the nuances of a pro-style offense.
That leaves Geno Smith as the Jets only option to become their opening day starter if a deal with Fitzpatrick is not made. Smith record as the Jets starting quarterback is 11-18 and his career passer rating is 72.3. We never saw what Smith could do in Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s scheme in New York, due to the incident that took place in training camp last season.
The suckered punch to Geno Smith’s jaw is what allowed Fitzpatrick to become the starting quarterback for the New York Jets for the remainder of the 2015 campaign. Even if Smith has mastered the ins and outs of Gailey’s offense, that does not mean he will come in and set the world on fire in the AFC East this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Brandon Marshall had something special last season. In 2015, Marshall posted one of the best seasons of his career when he hauled in over 1,502 yards receiving and 14 touchdown receptions. Those numbers could go up or down with Geno Smith at the helm.
There were times when Smith shows flashes of being a premier quarterback in the National Football League, and then there were moments when Smith would put on his best Mark Sanchez impression as the Jets starting quarterback. If Geno Smith wants to remain the Jets starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2016 campaign, he must learn how to extend drives and not turn the football over.
The only way that I see the Jets having a leg up in the AFC East is if Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lays an egg in the four games that he will be stepping in for Tom Brady as the team’s starting quarterback. Other than that, I just do not see this team making it out of the AFC East as a playoff contender.
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