New York Jets

Fans of the New York Jets and Geno Smith can talk physical attributes all day, but there’s one facet that forces Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the better option.

Arm strength. It’s a hell of a thing.

It’s an attribute that often has coaches and talent evaluators salivating at an eye-boggling degree. Forget salivating, these guys foam at the mouth when an arm is perceived as golden in the power regard.

Through time, however, we’ve become smarter. We’ve realized accuracy far outweighs arm strength. Every part of the new pass-happy NFL supports that claim.

Besides, how did it work out for Jeff George? And George played in a run-and-shoot era prior to the madness that is today’s short passing attack.

Each of the 32 National Football League teams have their own unique views on what is important to them at the position.

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The New York Jets are no exception. Neither are their fans.

Thanks to the major annoyance that is the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation, the cry for Geno Smith to take over grows stronger each day. The Smith supporters will cite the obvious positives – his youth, mobility, and of course, arm strength.

They simply want to see what Smith can do in a real offense surrounded by real weapons. This is a completely legitimate stance that can be backed up with real stats, thoughts and projections.

The problem is, it’s the wrong stance.

Unless you’re without a brain, you understand Geno Smith is far superior in the raw physical QB categories. Fitz can’t touch the man in the areas of size, strength, speed, and throwing power.

Unfortunately for Smith, this league is at a point that it lends much more success to the thinking man’s QB – the guy who can read and dissect a defense on every play; the guy who can be deadly accurate on everything underneath the coverage.

What’s more is this Jets offensive line is built in a way that forces Fitzpatrick as the much better option for one reason.

Fitzpatrick’s pocket awareness destroys Smith’s, and it was on full display a season ago.

Fitzpatrick’s pocket awareness destroys Smith’s, and it was on full display a season ago.

Despite many thoughts to the contrary, this New York offensive line isn’t great. Nick Mangold is as good as they come at center. James Carpenter does a fantastic job at left guard. Aside from those two guys, anything goes.

We don’t know how much Ryan Clady will provide at left tackle. Breno Giacomini might not even be on the roster once Fitz comes back. And Brian Winters, well, while he’s always solid in the run game, leaves much to be desired when he’s forced to stand straight up.

Time and again Jets fans witnessed it in 2015: Fitz’s magic in the pocket allowed this offensive line to look better than it actually was. His ability to move around and release the ball from a plethora of arm angles turned out to be invaluable.

Check out the following info from’s Randy Lange. It’s called “QB Keepability.”

QB Keepability is an off-beat metric used to separate the top mobile QBs who boast the best pocket awareness in comparison to some of the more aloof. Fitz finished second in the entire NFL in this regard:


For those who want to discount stats, or “off-beat metrics,” just rely on the old football eye. Time and again Fitzpatrick ducked around left-side heat after D’Brickashaw Ferguson was beat badly. His mobility and awareness made the offensive line look that much better.

The line finished an incredible second in the league last season with just 22 sacks. However, their QB hits allowed ranked 27th with a total of 71. Brick’s second most 59 QB pressures just doesn’t jive with the Jets line, as a unit, only giving up 22 sacks.

Fitz made them look a lot better then they truly are.

A subtle example of this FitzMagic came early in Week 13 against the New York Giants. On the Jets second series of the game, Chan Gailey dialed up a play-action with pulling motion.

Carpenter pulled right, but the Giants were actually in a great look defensively against this play. They had an overloaded six-man pressure coming on weak-side of the play. Ferguson blocked down which meant Tommy Bohanon had a tough chore in stopping rookie Landon Collins along the edge:

It was Fitzpatrick’s pocket awareness that made the play go. He felt the pressure along the edge and stepped up in the pocket to provide Brandon Marshall just enough time to beat his man on the comeback.

Just a couple series later, Fitz saved his team about seven yards thanks to his superb awareness:

Giacomini completely whiffs on the cut block and Fitzpatrick – with literally no time to react – collects two yards on the play.

In stark contrast, Geno Smith’s pocket awareness has been anything but special.

Geno’s 35 interceptions, 74 sacks, and 16 fumbles in just 29 games started are completely deplorable. Did he have a game-changer like B-Marsh out wide? No, he didn’t. Still, though, guys like Eric Decker, Jace Amaro, Jeremy Kerley, Chris Ivory, and Bilal Powell shouldn’t equal those disastrous numbers.

Furthermore, it can be argued that Geno’s offensive line was better than Fitz’s (with a better Ferguson book-ending the left side).

An example of Geno’s terrible command at the line of scrimmage was on full display during Week 1 of 2014. Facing a 3rd-and-4, Geno had just one WR at his disposal with Powell in the backfield. Oakland sent just five men but overloaded it to the weak side:

The execution by the offensive line was horrible here. There was, however, enough time for Smith to kill the ball and know what his hot read was in anticipation of a free runner. Look at Decker on the post route. Geno could have easily sailed the ball near the uprights and lived for the field goal.

Instead, Smith looked to make an incredible play and fumbled the ball.

The examples aren’t just limited to a few videos here and there. And what’s worse is the idea that Smith has made incredible strides during minicamp. With the Jets in an off-the-field battle with their starting quarterback, of course Geno Smith will be pumped up as much as humanly possible. Also, of course he’ll look good in shells (helmet and shoulder pads) while not facing a live defense. Any young second-round QB should, at the very least, be making strides.

It doesn’t mean he’s solved his poor QB IQ and overall sense of the pocket.

None of this is to take away Fitz’s journeyman like career in the league. He does make mistakes. His 116 career interceptions tell a certain story.

But when putting those 116 interceptions up against 154 touchdowns, the story becomes a little more understandable. Fitz is a gunslinger without the arm. He’ll make a mistake downfield when looking to make a play. He rarely makes a mistake in the pocket, like Geno does.

Not only have the pass-happy rules of the NFL made it so the much smarter and less physically gifted QBs can succeed, but the New York Jets offensive line is assembled in a way that it needs that magic Ryan Fitzpatrick brings to the table.

There is no doubt. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the better option for the Jets.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]