Geno Smith’s broken jaw creates a vacancy at the New York Jets quarterback position that Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to fill, but claims that the development is a good thing for the team are wildly off base.
A majority of Jets fans aren’t big supporters of Smith, who’s struggled through two seasons after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. On one hand, it’s an understandable notion. He’s been given enough chances, right? Smith has tossed 34 interceptions compared to just 25 touchdowns.
After all, this could be first-year head coach Todd Bowles’ chance to rid himself of a quarterback he didn’t draft!
“Yes, Fitzpatrick is a limited player,” Steve Politi of NJ Advance Media said, “but he was better than Smith in virtually every measurable way last season, and significantly better at protecting the football that the turnover machine than Smith has been over the past two seasons.”
I think the Geno Smith injury is the best news the Jets have gotten in weeks. Chan Gailey has gotten the good out of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) August 11, 2015
Mike Foss of For The Win added, “the Jets had hoped to use 2015 to determine whether Smith was a player to build a franchise around. Fitzpatrick lacks Smith’s potential longevity, but he brings a far more polished and competent set of skills.”
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is a tremendous coach for quarterbacks, and he should help both Smith and Fitzpatrick improve. But he has received even more opportunities than Smith. Fitzpatrick has a lower than ceiling than Smith.
Why is this a good thing?
Since emerging in 2005 with the St. Louis Rams, the Harvard product has bounced from the Rams to the Cincinnati Bengals to the Buffalo Bills to the Tennessee Titans to the Houston Texans and now to the Jets.
Fitzpatrick hasn’t been surrounded with weapons like New York employs—Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Devin Smith and Jace Amaro, for example—so perhaps the 32-year-old racks up some gaudy numbers in a couple outings.
But Smith never previously had the caliber of targets the Jets have in 2015, either.
Fitzpatrick has continually proven he’s not capable of locking down a role as a starting quarterback in the NFL, yet there’s a strange sense of excitement surrounding the journeyman. The same defenses supporting Fitzpatrick are reasons fans could’ve been interested in watching Smith.
Maybe Smith isn’t a franchise quarterback either. At least the 2015 season would have settled that debate.