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Ryan Fitzpatrick Will Regress Next Season

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Yes, another Ryan Fitzpatrick/Geno Smith debate.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to make a not-so-bold prediction: Ryan Fitzpatrick will regress next year. Save it, bookmark it, whatever. Fitzpatrick wildly exceeded expectations this season, after never breaking .500 in his career. He threw for more yards and touchdowns than ever before in the previous ten years. But I believe it was firmly on the back of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker bailing him out, and he won't be able to match his production next year as he regresses back to the mean of what's been a very average career.

Look, I don't know if Geno Smith is the future. I do think it's a mistake to automatically give Fitzpatrick the starting gig next year, as Todd Bowles has said he will, after he was reportedly outperformed by Smith prior to "The Punch." I am admittedly Smith's staunchest supporter, and why not? He had a great rookie year in 2013 with what's generously called a "lackluster" supporting cast; throwing to the likes of Saalim Hakim, David Nelson, Greg Salas, Kellen Winslow, and Jeff Cumberland. Smith didn't have Marshall and Decker; he had perennial all-stars like Vidal Hazelton and Clyde Gates. And yet the team still went 8-8 with Smith leading five come-from-behind wins. I am not trying to argue Fitzpatrick didn't play well this season; he did at times, but I also don't believe Smith couldn't have done the same, if not better, with the same offensive coordinator and supporting cast.

Personally, I don't buy the "Fitzpatrick has the support of the locker room" argument. The locker room loved Smith in 2013 when he led those five game-winning drives, and they'll love any quarterback that wins. How soon we forget that not too long ago, we were proclaiming Smith had the same "grit" and "moxy" of Fitzpatrick as he dove headfirst for a touchdown against Miami.

So what does Fitzpatrick have over Smith? A better beard, I suppose. But not much else.