Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upgrade over Geno Smith

Jets starter Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw, but his replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick is actually the better quarterback.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upgrade over Geno Smith

Just when things appeared to be settling down for Geno Smith, along comes IK Enemkpali, who with a single “sucker punch” — in the words of head coach Todd Bowles — knocked Geno Smith off the field for 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starter, and reunited with former Bills head coach turned Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. What does this mean for the Jets’ outlook this season? Whisper it quietly, but outside a couple of horrendous, benching-worthy outings, Fitzpatrick was surprisingly effective for the Texans in 2014, earning our 15th-best grade for all quarterbacks. He entered this season with a much better PFF rating than Smith.

Now, Smith may have been ready for a step forward in his third season, but absent that, this change at QB really shouldn’t change the outlook for the team. According to our data, Fitzpatrick is the better QB, and not only did he show he had something left in the tank, but he had a good run with Gailey in Buffalo and will have a top-level target to throw to in Brandon Marshall.

Of course, if Fitzpatrick goes out and struggles, then Smith figures to receive a positive reception whenever he can return to the field.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    random stat o the day; geno smith posted the only perfect QB rating in 2014, against miami

  • Mike Nichols

    Fitz will surprise in NY this year. He had 95.3 passer rating last season thats pretty good.

  • a57se

    The thing with Fitz is that he isn’t gonna run a high octane offense but with the Jets D, he shouldn’t have to. If you don’t need him throwing 300 yards a game, he’ll be fine.

  • Allen Holland

    This is a perfect example to illustrate a flaw in PFF rating and actual performance. Fitzpatrick is good at the little things but he’s not an aggressive enough passer to get himself into trouble. He’s similar to Alex Smithin that he doesn’t take chances with the ball. Without a running attack or yards after catch, the Jets won’t score many points relying on the arm of Fitzpatrick.

    • Sam Doohan

      Totally agree with this. Even PFF stats are still just stats and don’t perfectly show the real world. Fitz is a decent QB but there’s a reason why even this year no-one looked at him as a starter. He plays it safe which means he seldom has disastrous games, but his ceiling is really low too. Sure, he posted some nice PFF numbers but he’s one of those players where his traditional stats tell you all you really need to know – Career average of 200 yards per game and 6.6 yards per attempt. It doesn’t matter how high he grades if the Jets only score 9 points a game.

      And don’t get me wrong; I like Fitz. He’s the backup a lot of teams would love to have. A smart, well prepared professional who’ll look after the ball. But it kinda tells you something when the Browns and the Jags weren’t trying to throw starter money at him in the off season. The Jets didn’t even bring him in to compete; they brought him in to backup a QB badly in need of backup.

      • PFFSamMonson

        I think the characterization of Fitzpatrick as a ‘safe’ or ‘conservative’ QB is way wide of the mark. He didn’t get much interest as a starter cos he’s 32 years old and will clearly never be one of the top 15, top 10 QBs in football, which is what everybody wants.

        Teams will give the chance to the guy who plays worse right now cos they think he has a chance to be better next year, the year after…ever.

        Fitz may never be that guy, but he probably IS one of the best 20 QBs in the NFL. 20th maybe, but he’s a lot better than many people give him credit for. His issue is that despite that he’s flawed enough that teams will never be happy with him starting and will always be looking to replace him.

        He’s really not an Alex Smith type pathologically conservative passer. He is aggressive, he is reckless, he will attack, to his detriment oftentimes.

        • Sam Doohan

          So why do the Browns end up with Josh McCown? Over the last four or five years no-ones treated Fitz as a viable starter even though there have been more than a dozen seriously QB needy teams in that time.

          I agree that he’s a better QB than people give him credit for but there’s a lot more to his constant moves than just teams targetting franchise guys only. We know who Fitz is. He’s a good back up, certainly a better guy to have on your bench than Scott Tolzein or Matt Flynn but that’s pretty much all he is. He’s better than Geno but Geno has been a catastrophe.

        • Scott Prouty

          I don’t see how aggressive and reckless would add up to a remarkable PFF score. I guess we’ll see how Fitz & the Jets go.

    • Douglass Pinkard

      With the third-ranked rushing attack last year and a defense which figures to be significantly better than one that already was fifth against the run in 2014, what gives you the idea the Jets need someone whose arm needs relying on? All they need is a guy who protects the rock, the one thing Geno has yet to figure out how to do in live regular season situations.

    • http://rickybrugal.bandcamp.com Skinny Testaverde

      No offense, but on what planet is Fitzpatrick someone who doesn’t get himself into trouble? He usually throws at least 10INT a year, and was once an INT machine. Am I misunderstanding or misreading your post, though?

      • Scott Prouty

        I’m trying not to ruffle the feathers of Fitzpatrick backers. I’m trying to say, in a non-confrontational way, the Jets are not better with Fitz at QB.

        The Jets will not have a vertical passing game with Fitzpatrick at QB. This won’t be a wide open offense. It will be a ball control, conservative offense. Without a running game or WRs picking up yards after the catch, Fitzpatrick isn’t leading this team to a playoff run.

        I’m also going on the basis that, apparently, PFF has a high grade on Fitz. Probably because he doesn’t throw the ball deep or into traffic. If the only thing Jets fans want from a QB is to not make mistakes, how is that going to translate into wins?

        I’m not buying the resurgence of FitzMagic, either.

  • DrAWNiloc

    One more sucker punch and the Jets may be forced to field a real QB.

  • Vic Hedges

    Say what you want about Fitz being the eternal backup QB but he is an upgrade over Geno Smith – that’s for sure. The Jets aren’t going to the Super Bowl with Fitz but they certainly weren’t with Smith either.