The Jets know they got away with one this past weekend.
This was supposed to be the “gimme” on the schedule. The winless Browns were pretty much everyone’s pushover, who have gone through six quarterbacks this season and their defense has been awful.
Pretty much, they have been the Browns, only this time Cleveland doesn’t seems to care with an NBA title on the books and the Indians on the cusp of the World Series.
This was supposed to be an in and out for the Jets and come home with a much needed easy win.
But remember, these are the Jets and they are as much of an enigma as Hillary Clinton’s email server.
The 20-7 Browns lead at halftime shocked everyone and even had Joe Namath on Twitter calling for the anointment of Bryce Petty.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who looked horrible, took the blame. Although, according to Todd Bowles, there was a lot of that to go around.
“He’s a quarterback, so any time it goes good or bad the quarterback is the focal point, but there are a lot of reasons why we haven’t played well the first half of the season,” Bowles said. “Either it’s a guy here or a guy there. It’s not necessarily the quarterback at all. It’s either a missed block here or there, a missed throw, a mis-timed route, or we didn’t run the depth to the routes. It’s a combination of things of why we haven’t played well. When it clicks, and we start clicking like the second half, it clicks, but we have to get off to faster starts and we have to play better in the second half.”
Even with the 24 points in the second half, Fitzpatrick was only 16 for 34 for a rating of 79. That’s just not good at all.
So really, Fitz is not the answer. We all know that, and deep down, Bowles probably knows it too. However, he’s staying with his journeyman this week against the Dolphins and hopes the first half this week will be better than last week.
“Everything out there is mindset, but it’s not a matter of inches a game, we’re there and it’s just the hype of the crowd, or the excitement, or calming down,” he said. “Everybody is just doing their own job and some people try to over-do their jobs. Sometimes they make a good play here or there, but we have to find a way to have better chemistry and get off to a quicker start somehow. Whether we have to run it more and get that extra yard, or we have to throw it more and get that extra yard, the execution all the way around needs to better on both sides.”
These are just are hopes and dreams and frankly, Bowles and the rest of the Jets brain trust need to just come to a decision and live with it. As of right now, Fitzpatrick isn’t going to be back after this season and neither is Geno Smith, so that leaves Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the roster.
If the Jets are to move forward, they should just rip the Band-Aid off and let the air heal thyself. They have to see if either quarterback has anything to lead this club.
Remember back in 2004, Tom Coughlin benched Kurt Warner with the Giants, who led them to a 5-2 start, in order to give Eli Manning the necessary growing pains needed to be an NFL quarterback. Eli lost his first six starts and then won the last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Three years later, he was winning the Super Bowl. Sometimes you need to take a step back to move forward.
Neither Petty or Hackenberg are No. 1 overall picks like Manning, but you don’t know if the fourth rounder Petty is an NFL quarterback without seeing serious game action and you have to believe using a second rounder on Hackenberg puts him under center sometime in the future.
So if the Jets are to learn if either player is the answer to the age old question, why not start Petty or Hackenberg? If not now, then when?
If the Jets beat the Dolphins like they downed the Ravens and Browns, does that mean Fitz gets another start?
The Jets still have two games against the Patriots on the schedule. However, the rest of it is pretty soft. But even if they win out the other six games, would 9-7 get them to the playoffs?
And you never know. If Petty or Hackenberg is the real deal, then they should be able to shred through the softies coming up. We have seen in both Dallas and Philadelphia this season, young quarterbacks can energize a club.
But the Jets as a whole needs to play better than they did in Cleveland. And if Fitzpatrick doesn’t shine brightly in Miami, Bowles owes it to his club to play the youngsters and see if either are the answer going forward.