New York Jets 2016 positional grades: Quarterback
Dec 24, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) runs off the field against the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jets 41-3. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The were many factors to the New York Jets’ atrocious season, but the most glaring factor was quarterback play.

On the eve of training camp, the New York Jets brought back their 2015 signal caller, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was coming off of a career year.

At the time it did make sense. Sure, revisionist history would say otherwise, but as a veteran team coming off a 10 win season, they needed to give it one more go of it.

The problem was it just didn’t work out.

Through two weeks everything seemed to be going according to plan. The Jets were 1-1 and Fitzpatrick finally had beaten Rex Ryan. Statistically, he was reaching expectations with three touchdowns to just one interception and a rating of 96.8. It was Week 3 when the wheels fell off.

Six interceptions. Yes, against the Kansas City Chiefs, Fitz threw six interceptions. It shouldn’t have gotten to that point. He should’ve got pulled after three and that was the mistake that derailed the Jets.

Going to Geno Smith at that point in the game wouldn’t have meant that they were moving on from Fitzpatrick. To use the baseball analogy it would have been like pulling your starter for a reliever if the starter was having a bad day.

From that moment on, the Jets were a mess.

They eventually got to 1-5 and Fitzpatrick got pulled. Geno Smith looked okay when he took over, as he completed just four of eight for a touchdown in his lone start against Baltimore. The only issue from Smith’s season is he got injured before we could really see enough from him. That ended his season and likely his Jets career.

So, we were back to Ryan Fitzpatrick again, who would start the next two games throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions along the way.

Week 9 against Miami was a particularly rough game for him, but we’ll let the visual do the talking on that one:

He threw a couple of bad picks and was missing receivers all over the place until suffering a knee injury, which led to Bryce Petty getting his first NFL start the following week against the Los Angeles Rams.

Throwing for 163 yards one touchdown and one interception for 70.2 passer rating, that’s the definition of mediocre. There were some signs of competency and other signs that made you think maybe he’s not ready after all.

Then, the Jets headed into the bye week after the loss to the Rams at 3-7. Following the one-week vacation, they were going up against the New England Patriots. To the dislike of the fans, they went back to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

To be fair, Fitz played his best game of the year against the Patriots throwing for two TD’s and had a passer rating of 115.2. He shouldn’t have been out there, though. The Jets season was over and the Petty development should’ve started then.

Instead, it had to come in relief. Petty replaced an awful Ryan Fitzpatrick the following week in an embarrassment of a game against the Colts.

The Jets’ fourth-round selection in the 2015 draft would get the start against the 49ers but struggled mightily in the first half.

Petty managed to put just three points on the board and threw a pick. In the second half, however, play improved as he finished the 23 of 35 for 257 yards. The Jets would come away with a 23-17 overtime win.

Unfortunately, it came off the rails a bit against Miami the following week and then again in New England the next week. Petty threw for one touchdown and three picks over that span before suffering a torn labrum.

It was back to Fitz for the final week of the season, which was most likely the right move for once. The Jets and Christian Hackenberg would’ve gained nothing by throwing him out there when he wasn’t ready.

The Final Numbers

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick: 56.6% 2,710 yards 12 TD’s 17 INT 69.6 rating
  • Geno Smith: 57.1% 126 yards one TD one INT 81.2 rating
  • Bryce Petty: 56.4% 809 yards three TD’s seven INT 60.0 rating

The Grade: F

Overall as a unit, the QB position did not get it done. Fitzpatrick was a failure in year two plain and simple.

The journeyman could not come anywhere close to replicating his 2015 season and his poor play was one of if not the main cause for the Jets 2016 failure.

As for Geno Smith, he got hurt and we couldn’t tell a lot from him throughout the past two years really. His time with the Jets is most likely over and his play in 2016 wasn’t enough to yield a contract for next year.

Bryce Petty overall left a lot desired. His overall stat line was not very good, the only plus is his strong arm. Petty’s still got a lot of work to do on the mental side of things. It’s clear there isn’t much of a feel for the pocket yet and he can tend to hold onto the football for too long.

The draft pick of Hackenberg doesn’t look great but we should wait until he at least takes a snap on the field first before judging him.

I'm a Jets, Islanders and Mets fan from Long Island. I'm the General Manager of my college radio station WFTU Riverhead where I also do a sports talk show called "This Week In Sports". In addition to ESNY I'm a co-editor of "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take -Wayne Gretzky" -Michael Scott