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New York Jets: Turnover Factory

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What's bigger than a machine? A factory.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 13 interceptions in his last five games.  We all know that's not good. What I didn't know until I did the research was just how bad it is.  Here's how bad it is.

Think of the Jets quarterbacks best known for being turnover machines.  Mark SanchezGeno SmithVinny Testaverde outside of 1998?  Brett Favre?  Amateurs, the lot of them.  They never came close to Fitzpatrick's towering turnover torrent.  Testaverde topped out at 11 interceptions in five games in his Jets career.  Sanchez?  He never had more than 10 for the Jets.   Favre in his one Jets year managed only nine at his worst.  And Geno?  He's not even in the same league, eking out a measly eight in his worst five game stretch.  Pathetic.

OK, how about the more obscure and atrocious Jets quarterbacks.  Remember Browning Nagle?  Really awful quarterback, right?  His worst stretch of five games had him throwing seven interceptions.  Brooks Bollinger never had more than five in any five game stretch.  For those who go farther back, how about Frank Reich?  He was bad, but didn't quite match Fitzpatrick, topping out at 12 interceptions in a five game stretch.  Ken O'Brien, Richard Todd and Matt Robinson all also threw as many as 12 interceptions in a five game stretch.  Close, but not quite.  What's really remarkable about this is the guys who came close all played in an era of much higher interception rates, making Fitzpatrick's dubious mark all the more remarkable.

There is one quarterback in Jets history who did manage to top Fitzpatrick in throwing gobs of interceptions.  You all know his name.  He of the wagging finger coming off the field in Super Bowl III.  Joe Namath threw 15 interceptions in a terrible five game stretch at the end of his career in 1975.  The next year the Jets drafted Richard Todd and Namath was just about done.

Namath is the only Jets quarterback in the post-merger era to have thrown for more interceptions in a five game stretch than Ryan Fitzpatrick.   Namath did it in a vastly more interception prone era, as a broken down has-been playing on fumes for a terrible team.  None of the other awful quarterbacks the franchise has had starting over the years has ever matched lucky 13.  Most have never come close.  This is a historic level of ineptitude we're seeing from Fitzpatrick. People have called various Jets quarterbacks turnover machines.  If they were machines, then Fitzpatrick right now is an entire factory.   Yet head coach Todd Bowles, if he is to be taken at his word, has not lost any confidence in Fitzpatrick and does not appear to be close to replacing him as the starting quarterback of the Jets.  One has to ask the question, if historic levels of turnovers won't do it, if even a factory doesn't change his mind, is Todd Bowles too loyal for his own good?