New York Jets: Is Josh McCown Any Better Than Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) talks with New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) after the game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets swapped veteran quarterbacks this offseason. But did the Jets really improve at the position?

It’s a pretty interesting diatribe. This article was inspired by a loyal New York Jets fan in Michelle Latas Vittone who tweeted this out:

If you ever want great dialogue among crazy passionate Jets fans, feel free to check out the “No Fly Zone,” New York Jets Facebook group. I’ve been there for several years and it’s a great place to talk Jets.

But back to the task at hand. The Jets made a switch of the guard at the most important position in football. Did they make the correct decision?

The short answer is yes.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s time with the Jets was truly over after his three interception fiasco in Buffalo Week 17 of the 2015 season. Despite an old dog having his day, the Jets put everything on him coming back and it failed.

So there was zero talk of Fitzpatrick returning to the green and white for this next season. 34 years old, more interceptions than touchdowns last season, and a piss poor attitude wasn’t the ripe combination the Jets were looking for.

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Despite that he has somehow found a job (one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) before Colin Kaepernick (more on that on this week’s episode of The Jets Zone).

So what does Fitzpatrick bring to the table?

He admitted during parts of last season that he felt, “the organization didn’t believe in him.” Which put a chip on his shoulder that amounted to nothing but headlines in the paper. What kind of “leader” says stuff like that?

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That’s what the Jets need right now a leader or a franchise quarterback. Although the latter seem a bit harder to find nowadays, I always ask the store manager when I come in but they always seem to be out of it.

That’s clearly something that Josh McCown is bringing to 1 Jets Drive. From former players speaking of his time in Tampa Bay:


“You can just tell, having a veteran guy in like Josh McCown, he kind of brings more of a leadership role,’’ Connor Barth said via ESPN. “You can just tell the difference in that perspective because you want your quarterback to be a leader. It’s just great seeing the guys coming together.’’

Or even more recently his former head coach Hue Jackson here via News Day:

“They are getting, first of all, a tremendous locker room guy and person,” said Jackson, who coached McCown last season in Cleveland via NewsDay. “Great character. He’s a tremendous leader. Josh knows how to play the game. If they need him to help a younger guy, he’s going to do that extremely well. If they need him to play, he’ll step out there and play.”

He’s comfortable playing whatever role the Jets give him and for me that’s a big key in all of this. From all accounts, McCown should be the starter Week 1 based off of everything that we know.

Christian Hackenberg has played in a different offensive system every year. Bryce Petty is recovering from surgery and even when healthy hasn’t looked spectacular. McCown has been there and done that around the league. He has savvy and knows the west coast system that will be employed by new offensive coordinator John Morton.

Plus something else to keep an eye on is that McCown doesn’t stay healthy, something else obviously the Jets were comfortable with. Which means it’ll inevitably be Petty or Hackenberg time at some point this season.

While McCown came a bit more expensive than Fitz, it’s money worth investing. Although technically Fitz is costing the Jets about the same right now a $5m in dead money. While McCown has a $6m charge on the credit card, fully guaranteed.

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Right move for Jets?

Yes the Jets made the right move swapping arms. We saw it before when Mark Sanchez wore out his welcome, Geno Smith did too (I guess), and Fitzpatrick joins the line of guys who got kicked out the door.

The expectations for this season really couldn’t be lower. Although no one expected the Jets to have the season they did in 2015 with a seemingly washed up Fitz. Could McCown do the same thing?

His best year was in that weird 2013 season where he only threw one pick at 34 years old. While it’s possible, it seems highly unlikely. McCown is going to be 38 years old by the time the season starts and he’s shown no Tom Brady-esque syndromes that he can play forever (check durability nuggets above).