New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick might not be able to top his 2015 production, but one analyst actually expects him to be better in 2016.
Fitzpatrick broke the franchise’s single-season record with 31 touchdown passes, set a career-high with 3,905 yards last season and threw only 15 interceptions last season, a career low in a season during which he started all 16 games. He parlayed that tremendous season into a $12 million pay day after a long-winded offseason stalemate with the club.
So what does the 33-year-old quarterback have left for an encore?
CBS color commentator Phil Simms not only expects a good year from “Fitzmagic,” he believes Fitzpatrick can perform even better this season.
“If he doesn’t play better, I would be surprised,” Simms said, according to Newsday’s Neil Best.
That might be the minority opinion. The Jets face a far tougher schedule than they did in 2016 and some analysts are skeptical that Fitzpatrick is capable of repeating that past success because of his reckless propensity. Plus, the Jets still missed the postseason despite Fitzpatrick’s career season and he was the main reason why. Fitzpatrick imploded against his old team, the Buffalo Bills, throwing three fourth-quarter interceptions in a win and you’re scenario on the final day of the regular season.
On the other hand, Fitzpatrick still has Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker at his disposal along with two pass-catching options out of the backfield in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. Chan Gailey is still in town and Fitzpatrick has had his greatest success with Gailey calling the plays. Granted, the Jets don’t have a tight end and the rest of his weaponry is unproven beyond those four guys. But overall, the pieces are in place for another good season.
Fitzpatrick might be very good during his second season as New York’s placeholder. But better than last year? That might be a stretch. If he is, the Jets should be playoff bound.