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Jets Film Review: Ryan Fitzpatrick 2.0

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He wasn’t awful, until he was.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Ryan Fitzpatrick was just about unplayable in 2016, but a year before, he was a hero...well sort of. He was a hero in the sense that he defied expectations and ended up throwing a team single season record of 31 TD’s. It wasn’t bad for a journeyman who was gifted the starting role.

Josh McCown is not on anywhere near a pace to throw 31 touchdowns, but he is defying expectations much like Fitzpatrick. I don’t think any pundit had the Jets at 3-3, nor did we think that McCown had that kind of first quarter or so in him. The problem was it was only a quarter. Let’s go to the film.


McCown scored early on a huge defensive miscue. This isn’t a case of McCown stinks by any means, but it is easy peasy football.

The Jets run the fake sweep right and run a flood concept in the endzone with out routes deep in the endzone and toward the pylon.

The defender who should cover ASJ bites on the fake and is DOA as ASJ runs by him.

Just about any throw will do when the receiver gets this wide open.

This is garbage defense, and the only things McCown could get credit for are a good fake and not throwing the ball into the stands. Are we really that desperate for decent QB play we praise play action (again noting that this TD was set up by some heads up throws and runs by Josh).


Plays and throws like this second TD are great to see. It’s a perfectly weighted ball to Kerley who strolls into the end zone.

The Jets line up with three wide outs to the right of the QB and one to the left. It’s a levels concept in the middle of the field with two deep routes on the right side.

Meanwhil,e the Pats are playing cover one with a QB spy against McCown. (I’m not sure the logic other than McCown burned them earlier on the ground.) Otherwise, it’s man coverage underneath.

The levels concept gets the QB spy to take a few steps up. Kerley runs a great route and gets some separation coming across the field. The defenders are all too far up to really make an impact. Meanwhile, the deep safety just stands there and doesn’t really move anywhere.

The pass was perfectly weighted to the outside. The defender went for the pick and ended up missing. At worst, Kerley would have been tackled while making the catch had the defender played the man.

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This is stuff that a good quarterback can do consistently. It was a seriously great pass that worked out well.


Just when I mentioned in the game thread that McCown was looking to prove me wrong, he went through a protracted dry spell. Nothing summed up Fitzpatrick’s tenure more than ill-timed turnovers, and McCown did his best to remind me of that fact. This is about as poor on timing as you can get.

The Jets run a nearly max protect set with two deeper routes including Anderson running a 15 yard out and a deep corner on the other side. The slot runs a ten yard curl/button route.

The Pats are in cover one with a deep safety, and the rest playing man. The slot has 3 guys on him. The two outside routes are the only two with any hope of getting open.

Anderson hits the break and stumbles a bit. He actually had a step on the man. The pass itself looked underthrown and too far in the middle of the field. I’m not sure how much to weight Anderson tripping coming out of the break vs. a poor pass, but the combo lead to the pick.

It was a bad pass and even worse timing. The Jets could have just taken the game to halftime and called it even. Worse, a game the Jets were leading by 14 suddenly was tied at half. The momentum swung the other way.


To quote John B via email discussing the last interception, “It might be the worst executed play collectively on the both sides of the ball in the NFL this year.”

To sum up it had everything: a blown assignment on offense and defense, a missed sack, a horrendous pass to a wide open target, and a player making an interception that brought the ball six yards back than it would have been incomplete.

The Jets run a jumbo set. Two TE’s set up on the right, with a FB and RB behind center and a WR lined up slot left. The Jets run play action with a delayed flood concept. The FB runs to the flat, the two TE’s run in routes while the only speed man runs opposite play direction.

The defense is cover one man. The difficulty I had was who was covering the Tight end. The outside man runs a blitz (more on that in a second.) The inside man looks to be blitzing but instead of engaging plays almost a soft QB spy. The blitz itself is almost perfect, he motors by Shell with ease. That’s where it gets interesting and depressing.

McCown avoids the sack. The FB arrow route near the sideline was open for a flash. That’s dead and gone because of the pressure. But lo and behold Tomlinson is wide open in between the safeties and lineman.

There’s not a defender within 15 yards. Any throw that was within range should be a first down. McCown also has no defenders directly on top of him. He has time to plant and make a throw.

Instead, he pulls a Fitzpatrick and throws off his backfoot, missing behind the wide out. The ball is picked off but really it didn’t matter. It should have been a pass that was complete.


The 2018 NY Jets starting QB is probably a bigger mystery than bigfoot. McCown has played well in spurts, but doesn’t exactly light it up out there. I don’t think the Jets necessarily need a light it up QB to be successful, but I think you need more than McCown especially if the goal is to be a Super Bowl contender and not just fluke our way into the playoffs. Otherwise you’re hoping for 2015 Ryan Fitzpatrick and not the 2016 version. McCown may play a decent game manager, but I don’t know if the Jets can be successful if he has one or two good quarters with two quarters where he does nothing.