It wasn't perfect, it wasn't pretty, but it was effective as the New York Jets offense turned around a weak start to Friday night's preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons into a strong performance. And it was the overall solid display from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that gives certain optimism as this team inches towards the regular season. 

The Jets offense was held off the scoreboard for their first five possessions but were finally able to start moving the ball effectively in the second quarter. This was the second start of preseason for Fitzpatrick, who was the backup for much of the offseason and through training camp until starter Geno Smith was punched by a former teammate, shelving him for the first month of the season.

And while Fitzpatrick wasn't a big name signing this offseason, he's brought a certain something to the Jets offense. Metro reached out to three Jets players on offense via phone or social media to gauge their thoughts on what Fitzpatrick brings to the team and also the differences when stacked against Smith.

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All three players were promised anonymity in their responses so as to be able to speak freely. Interestingly enough, each player said in some way, shape or form that they wouldn't bash Smith, which wasn't the intent of the questions but nonetheless interesting that they want to protect their current teammate.

“Fitz really has a command of the offense. In the huddle, he gets it out pretty fast which is nice. He understands it,” said one Jets player. “You know that he understands everything when we are at the line, the coverages, the routes. He has the best command of the offense in that room.”

The player went on to add about Smith that “I think he has some really nice tools to work with.”

All three players, two of them considered skills position players, have had preseason snaps with Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick finished Friday night's 30-22 win over the Falcons 13-for-19 for 118 yards. 

Which shouldn't be surprising since Fitzpatrick might be the brightest player in the locker room with a degree from Harvard but also since he has played in this offense before when current Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

Two players, when asked to compare Fitzpatrick versus Smith, wouldn't answer because they didn't want to seem to side with one over the other. But one player said simply of Fitzpatrick that "he's a guy who has been in this league and the guys respect that a lot. It is clear that he knows what he is doing."

On the field, Friday night's preseason win, Fitzpatrick had some shaky moments but did put together some nice passes.

Two players, when asked to compare Fitzpatrick versus Smith, wouldn't answer because they didn't want to seem to side with one over the other. But one player said simply of Fitzpatrick that "he's a guy who has been in this league and the guys respect that a lot. It is clear that he knows what he is doing."

“He places the ball well. You can tell he understands the importance of YAC (Yards After Catch) because he does a really nice job of placing the ball,” another Jets player, a skills position player, told Metro this past weekend. “I'm not saying that the other quarterbacks don't do that, but Ryan is a veteran, he understands how to do that. I'm sure the younger guys will get better with that as their career's grow.”

All three players said that they have equal comfort between Fitzpatrick and Smith being able to lead them come the regular season. In all likelihood, Fitzpatrick will start at least the first four games of the regular season as Smith recuperates from jaw surgery.

“Geno has all this potential and huge upside. He can be really good someday,” one of the players said. “But Fitz is really calming. He has a great presence in the huddle and in the pocket. He doesn't hang his shoulders. In the huddle he's really strong. He's a veteran through and through.

“I just think with [Fitzpatrick] he has a certain confidence that the offense is building off of right now. He definitely has our respect.”