FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the New York Jets to a 3-1 record, their best start since the 2010 season. But more is expected of Fitzpatrick as a veteran familiar with this offense, even as he is having a rather decent season.
The Jets are No. 14 in the league in yards per game, perhaps a more accurate indicator than any other of their offensive standing since they had an early bye last week and most of the league hasn’t, making total offense an unfair comparison. The offense has improved dramatically when compared to over the past two years under then starter Geno Smith; last year the Jets had the eleventh worst offense in the league in yards per game and the year before they were eighth from the bottom.
But the one glaring area for improvement is Fitzpatrick turning the ball over. The Jets quarterback has six interceptions in four games, putting him on pace for 24 interceptions this season.
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The good news for the Jets is that three of those interceptions came in a Week 3 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. So outside of that game, he’s been relatively careful with the ball, although he has dodged a couple close calls.
When asked where Fitzpatrick needed to improve, head coach Todd Bowles stated the obvious on Wednesday while being quick to praise the 32-year old veteran.
“Not throw interceptions. Other than that, he commands the game pretty good. Got to learn how to slide, we’ve talked about that,” Bowles said. “He’s doing a lot of good things, we have to continue to get better. It’s only been four weeks, it’s still young for him. There’s still a lot of chemistry development with other guys.”
Fitzpatrick is on pace for 3,696 passing yards this year, which would be the fourth most in franchise history in a season. His projected 28 touchdowns this year would be second most for a Jets quarterback in a single year.
- Bowles wouldn’t make guarantees about Sheldon Richardson’s playing time this week as the defensive end returns from his league-mandated suspension. But he does expect him to make an impact. Richardson “Adds to the mental psyche of the defense to get a player like that back” Bowles said.
- The Jets expect wide receiver DeShaun Jackson (hamstring), an explosive part of the Washington Redskins offense, to be available and play on Sunday.