When Ryan Fitzpatrick inks a new deal with the New York Jets, he should NOT be automatically granted the keys to the kingdom and named the starting quarterback. I say “when” because we all know it is eventually going to happen. There is no denying the chemistry that was built and the numbers that were put up last season with Fitzpatrick at the helm. Since then, several veteran players have made it clear that they want #FitzMagic back under center, creating a media frenzy that never seems to end and a possible locker room rift being created. In the meantime, Geno Smith has been doing and saying all of the right things off the field, while simultaneously impressing coaches with his growth on the field.
Calls for Fitzpatrick
From voluntary OTA’s and throughout minicamp, veteran players have been publicly calling for Ryan’s return. Darrelle Revis was quoted saying “We want him back … we want to see him walk in this locker room”. Earlier in the offseason, veteran leaders Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall showed up late to the voluntary portion of OTA’s. Brandon was also quoted saying “ You guys know how I feel about Ryan”. The Jets veteran leaders have made it clear who they want under center.
Geno Stepping Up
Throughout the entirety of the Ryan Fitzpatrick contract saga, the one thing that has remained a constant is the fantastic offseason that the current Jets number one quarterback – Geno Smith – is having. All offseason long Geno has been saying and doing all of the right things both on and off the field. He has been a total professional in handling a myriad of questions regarding his future from the impossible Jets beat writers – to optional off-season workouts with some of the NFL’s best wide receivers while also attending his teammates camps and charity events.
It seems as if Geno is doing everything in his power to become the leader of this team. He has also shown tremendous growth on the field. Todd Bowles was quoted as saying “he’s light years ahead of where he was last year… As far as being confident, operating the system and understanding the checks and running the offense, he’s night and day where he was”. It seems as if Geno has turned over a new leaf and is trying his best to prove everyone wrong.
It would be unfair of the Jets to simply hand Ryan Fitzpatrick the starting spot right after signing his contract. Nothing should be given or guaranteed. Fitzpatrick should have to earn his keep and win back the job from Geno Smith. During his short tenure as Jets head coach, Todd Bowles has preached competition; it’s time to put his money where his mouth is.