The fiery, self-assuring comments made by New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only get old if he’s losing.
Following the New York Jets 24-16 victory last Sunday at the Meadowlands, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was self-assuring with the words he spoke. He was defiant, challenging the entire organization that brought him back on a one-year term for a cool $12 million.
Fitzpatrick: "When owner stops believing in you & GM stops believing in u & coaches stop believing in u, sometimes all you have is yourself"
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 23, 2016
Ryan Fitzpatrick reiterates that, as a human being, it's tough to see the ppl who don't believe in you every day in the building #jets
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) October 23, 2016
The nerve of this guy.
Considering his travels through six different National Football League cities, Fitz’s words turned off many a people. It takes balls of steel to get up there on that podium and challenge an entire organization when performance screamed for a benching.
Perhaps it’s better this way. Maybe Fitzpatrick can only reach the heights he did in 2015 if he feels disrespected. Maybe balls of steel are exactly what the organization needs right now.
Heading into the 2016 campaign, the Harvard grad was New York’s plan. It was Mike Maccagnan’s design to use the 33-year-old all season long. The plan was Fitz to remain the starting quarterback for the entire season. Only when and if New York found itself a franchise guy — in house or elsewhere — would he be unseated.
He was the all-important veteran guy to hold the bag until the real plan comes to fruition.
Just 24-hours later, Geno was the starter.
Whether it was Bowles’ decision or pressure from management or ownership, we’ll never know. What we do know, however, is that the plan of Fitz as the guy was abandoned after a 1-5 start. A start that had not yet eliminated New York from the playoffs. A start that saw the Jets play the most absurdly difficult schedule a football fan could ever lay eyes on.
More importantly, it was a 1-5 start that saw other parts of the football team as more culpable than the Jets QB play.
The defense was horrid. The pass defense, an area that looked to be solid in August, ranked last or second to last heading into Week 7. Future hall of fame cornerback Darrelle Revis struggled mightily. Calvin Pryor was toast.
New York’s offensive line hasn’t played well since day one. The running game has been hit or miss.
Worst of all, coaching has been baffling. How the Jets defense continues to throw out a four-man front consisting of four interior defensive linemen is an ordeal most fans are still trying to get to the bottom of.
This has led to the biggest problem of all, one that had the Jets asking Fitzpatrick to lead the club to victories, rather than his QB blending in with a strong defense and dominant running game.
It can’t work that way. Not with this QB.
In essence, Fitzpatrick’s fiery words were frustration with his disappointment of the system around him. While nobody could ever defend his terrible play, it does, indeed, work both ways.
But it simply doesn’t matter. In this league, the quarterback is always first to blame. He receives too much credit with wins are piling up and too much blame when times are at the absolute worst. When FitzMagic was born in 2015 and 31 touchdown passes crossed the plain of the end zone, Jets fans loved the guy. When he couldn’t overcome the team’s terrible play in Week 17 in Orchard Park, they suddenly became disillusioned.
It’ll always be this way. Whether it’s now or decades ahead, the QB in the NFL will be the guy.
So when Fitzpatrick gets up there in front of the football viewing world and acts so defiant after playing so miserably for over a month, don’t feel spurned. Don’t ramp up the hate meter to an all-time high.
If the guy is leading the Jets to victories, it simply doesn’t matter what he says.
If his words help his own play, allow the defiance to unfold.
If the New York Jets beat the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick can call out Woody Johnson and Mike Maccagnan two times a day for the next three years.
If he’s winning, nobody cares. He has the chance to force fans not to care what comes out of that Ivy League mouth of his. All he has to do is win.