The magic will take them to the playoffs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is back, a deal struck on the stroke of midnight re-uniting the New York Jets with a quarterback who in 2015 had among the best passing seasons in franchise history. And now suddenly with a stroke of a pen, the Jets are not only able to have a winning season, they are now in the hunt for their first postseason appearance since 2011.
And not only that, the Jets are now playoff-bound. That couldn’t have been said on Wednesday at 6:59 P.M., moments before the deal was signed. It will be the man nicknamed ‘Fitzmagick’ who will take them there.
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Naysayers don’t want to hear it, that the Jets under Fitzpatrick are significantly better than they were a day ago. But under Geno Smith, this team was headed nowhere.
Unless of course one considers interceptions, losses and sucker punches to be going somewhere useful. A quarterback who always plays well on the practice field, a Pro Bowl quarterback in shorts and no helmet. But come gameday, Fitzpatrick gives the Jets the best chance to win.
Now the Jets with a veteran core look nothing like the team that in 2014 got their head coach and general manager sacked. Instead they have talent on both sides of the ball, the kind of talent that can and will lead them to the postseason.
A Tom Brady-less New England Patriots to start the first four games of the season could put the Jets’ biggest rival in a hole to start the year, a hole that might just help the Jets climb to the top of the division if they can take care of business. But beyond the on-the-field addition that Fitzpatrick brings the intangibles off the field are huge.
One look at social media on Wednesday night and the response of Fitzpatrick’s teammates is everything that one needs to know about his impact in that locker room. Fitzpatrick is respected and well-liked, a gutsy quarterback who may not be the most athletic player out there but who leads by example. For a team built very much to win here and now, this is the final piece to the puzzle.
He’s also playing for next year’s contract, the deal signed on Wednesday night good for one year. Another performance like a season ago and the Jets plus several other teams will be lining up to ink Fitzpatrick to one final, multi-year contract. This is a highly-motivated quarterback the Jets are getting, one not only playing for a big payday but also to make his first ever playoff appearance.
These Jets, from Darrelle Revis to David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson to Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall, represent his best chance at the playoffs. Truthfully, he represents their best quarterback to take them there.
Yes, Fitzpatrick folded in the Week 17 loss at the Buffalo Bills, a game that had the Jets won would have pushed them into the playoffs. But nearly every one of their 10 wins last season came about via his play, his leadership as well as his decision-making ability. And with an offense that could and should be better this go around and a defense that will still be high-end this season, there’s no reason that Fitzpatrick can’t get the Jets to double-digit wins this season.
And finally into the playoffs.