3. Protect Fitzpatrick and let him work his magic
We saw it in his eyes against Houston when he plowed into the endzone late in the fourth quarter (though they ended up losing), and we saw it again this past week against the Giants when he took off running on fourth and six to extend the drive and tie the game–FitzMagic thrives in the clutch.
Having played in the NFL for 11 seasons now, with six different teams, Fitzpatrick simply doesn’t seem phased by the pressure of a late-game must-win situation. He has Gailey’s offense down to a T, he’s comfortable in the pocket, he recognizes the blitzes and knows when to adjust. He’s providing this Jets team with everything they lacked in the last seven years with Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez under center. Finally, these guys have someone to lead on offense.
The key is going to be protecting him.
Currently, Fitz is the least sacked quarterback in the league but that’s more of a testament to Gailey’s quick-hitting passing game than it is to the Jets offensive line. As a unit the offensive line has been decent this season. Nick Mangold has been battling injuries but has been his usual self when healthy, James Carpenter has been solid in both the running and passing game, and Brian Winters has been formidable at right guard. D’Brickashaw Ferguson however, has fallen victim to far too many false start and holding calls this season, and has gotten beat repeatedly when matched up against speedy edge rushers.
As the Jets get set for the final quarter of the season and their chase for a seat at the AFC playoff table to begin, remaining disciplined and consistent on the O-line is critical. Because Chris Ivory, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker may be the Jets best weapons on offense, but none of them can succeed without Fitzpatrick leading them.