Some argue for Ryan Fitzpatrick,others for Geno Smith. In the end though, it doesn’t matter who takes snaps for the New York Jets this season.
On the surface it seems injuries are to blame. When guys like Nick Mangold and Calvin Pryor missed time, their respective units plummeted to despair. Todd Bowles’s squad simply didn’t have the ability to replace either guy.
And while injuries are surely to blame for this season’s bitter turnaround, something else remains at the heart of the root problem.
The quarterback position.
In such a QB-driven league, the Jets are still without a franchise guy. A guy who they can call their own in the mold of a star – someone who could pull a game out of the fire after a dismal performance.
Think about how life would be with a franchise QB. Having a star quarterback means many things.
For one, it means star-power. It means seeing your own guy in DirecTV commercials every day, allowing for a mini smirk to remind you of how great you have it.
Say your defense has an off week. Your franchise QB can engineer two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to save the day. Having that guy means your entire team doesn’t have to be on point all the time. The QB means that much difference in a league that routinely features several throwers to hit the 4K yard mark annually.
It’s been so long for the franchise – Joe Namath – that once Ryan Fitzpatrick lifted New York to that incredible 4-1 start, a majority of the fan-base fell in love with the guy.
He fit the part, too. A grizzled-old vet who’s played very average at the position his entire career, just waiting for his chance to shine under the bright lights of New York City. That was the most appropriate theme some fans with delusions of grandeur started to toss around in their minds.
Fitz was the second-coming of Vinny Testaverde.
Of course we now all know this not to be true. Over his last two games, the Harvard grad has completed well under 50 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and four costly interceptions in two Jets losses (Buffalo, Houston).
Lurking in the shadows is Geno Smith. The incumbent starter heading into the season who actually did hold the mantle as the “leader of the team” coming into the fresh campaign. Only an IK Enemkpali haymaker ruined that.
For the many who fell in love with Fitz, there were always a few who wanted to see Geno get his one final chance. After all, in his third season with the organization, this may be his last true opportunity.
While the two sides (pro Fitz and pro Geno) go at it, there’s one final faction of Jets fans who understand what’s really going on.
It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is. Both of these options are poor to average ones.
Fitzpatrick is an 11-year NFL journeyman who’s now on his seventh NFL team. He’s a gunslinger without the arm. It’s one thing for Brett Favre or even Jeff George to take that approach, but not a guy with an 82 arm strength rating in Madden 16.
Geno is a third year QB who’s started 29 games in which he hasn’t improved one lick from a “between-the-ears” aspect. For all the positives he possesses – such as stands strong in the pocket while taking a hit; mobility; arm strength – he counters with bone-headed negatives (decision-making, accuracy).
It’s done. This season is now just one more transition year. At 5-5, barring a minor miracle, this will account for the Jets fifth straight season without seeing playoff football. For all of the good new general manager Mike Maccagnan did this past offseason, after losing four of their last five games, the roster suddenly feels very old. The offensive line is aging, as is the secondary and the leader of the defense (David Harris).
We also learned rookie head coach Todd Bowles has much to learn about this job. Time management concerns and preparation issues have now come to the forefront.
It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, this organization remains one of the many who’s currently looking for their guy to build around. And until that happens, a championship will be as elusive as ever.
The only evidence needed is to take a gander at recent memory. Tom Brady (3), Ben Roethlisberger (2), Eli Manning (2), Aaron Rodgers (1), Joe Flacco (1), Drew Brees (1), and Russell Wilson (1) make up all of the Super Bowl winning quarterbacks the last 14 seasons. Only Wilson and Flacco can possibly be argued non-elite guys.
The great QB wins in this league, and until Maccagnan and Bowles find their guy to lead them, that Super Bowl will elude the Jets.
It doesn’t matter who starts for the Jets right now. Their franchise QB is not on the roster yet.
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