Can the journeyman QB, in his 11th year in the NFL, lead the Jets offense? Can Fitzpatrick, at the very minimum, hold down the fort until Geno Smith returns in 10 weeks?
In an attempt to provide an answer, Jets Insider spent the better part of New York’s Saturday training camp practice on “Fitz Watch,” tracking everything the quarterback did in team drills.
So, how did Fitzpatrick perform in his 28 reps? Not good, not bad. Actually, you be the judge:
Opening of team drills:
First Play: The Jets put the ball in Fitzpatrick’s hands right away in team drills. On the first play from scrimmage, Fitzpatrick faked a handoff to Chris Ivory before rolling out and hitting Jeff Cumberland in the flat. Short gain. Honestly, it was a near impossible throw to mess up.
Second Play: Handoff to Ivory off the left side.
Third Play: Handoff to Ivory up the middle [Great play by Leonard Williams for a would-be tackle for loss]
Fourth Play: Chris Ivory handoff around right side
Fifth Pay: Fitzpatrick on another roll out. This time, he finds receiver T.J. Graham on a short drag coming across the formation.
Second unit comes in. Fitzpatrick and the first-team offense come back on the field during the next set of team drills.
Sixth Play: Fitzpatrick drops back and hits Brandon Marshall on a curl on the left side. Pass was a little low, but Marshall did a nice job reaching down to dig it out of the dirt.
Eighth Play: Fitzpatrick goes to Marshall on a deep in. Pass falls incomplete as it was just a bit wide, but a flag came flying in. Cromartie got called for a hold on Marshall.
Ninth Play: Fitzpatrick dumps it off to Bilal Powell in the flat. Nothing cooking deep, so the veteran just took what the defense gave him.
10th Play: Quick completion for Fitzpatrick on an out to Shaq Evans.
Second unit comes in. Fitzpatrick and the starters return two drills later for the beginning of red zone work.
11th Play: Another dump off for Fitzpatrick. Nothing cooking deep, so the veteran tossed it to Chris Ivory in the flat for a couple yards up.
12th Play: Another dump off, but this one falls incomplete. Big collision that resulted in Marcus Gilchrist sitting out a few plays. The safety came in hot and put a hit on Ivory to break up the pass.
13th Play: Fitzpatrick hooks up with Marshall again on a short screen.
14th Play: Jeremy Kerley comes a play away from making the play of camp. Against Cromartie, Kerley reached up with one hand and made a Beckham-type grab in the corner. Fitzpatrick’s throw was put where only Kerley could get it, and Kerley did, but he couldn’t get his feet down.
15th Play: Fitzpatrick looks for Shaq Evans on a quick slant. Pass was a little low, but Evans still got two hands on it. Evans dropped it.
Second unit comes in. Starters return when 11-on-11’s restart.
16th Play: First shot of the day for Fitzpatrick as he goes deep for Marshall. Looks like there may have been some miscommunication because Marshall just stopped running. He had Revis beat.
17th Play: Run to Chris Ivory up the middle
18th Play Fitzpatrick connects with Marshall on a short curl over the middle. Accurate pass
19th Play: Quick out, Fitzpatrick hits Decker. Another accurate, short pass.
20th Play: Beautiful, toe-tapping catch by Jeremy Kerley on a comeback route. Fitzpatrick fit the ball in past Marcus Williams. Dissecting the play, it probably wouldn’t have been such a nice catch had Fitzpatrick put more zip on the ball. The issue? Not totally sure Fitzpatrick has enough arm strength to make that throw easily.
Second unit comes in. Starters return during next set of team drills
21st Play: Run to Chris Ivory
22nd Play: Fitzpatrick with a poor pass to Bilal Powell in the flat. Low and outside. Footwork was a bit off with rush bearing down.
23rd Play: Fitzpatrick hits Walter Powell on a curl. Simple bang-bang play.
24th Play: Little miscommunication again, this time it’s on a Fitzpatrick pass for Evans. It looks like the pass sailed high and behind. Fitzpatrick may have expected Evans to break outside, but instead he broke inside.
25th Play: Marshall reaches up to catch a high pass from Fitzpatrick. Nice grab and strength to not only make the grab, but then extend the ball outward and keep it away from Darrin Walls. Ball could have been placed a little better.
26th Play: Nice throw here from Fitzpatrick. He dropped back, hit his back foot, climbed the pocket and delivered a strike to Quincy Enunwa on a deep in. This one was probably Fitz’s best throw of practice.
Second unit comes in. Offense returns for their final drill of the day: Red Zone beginning at the 10 yard line.
27th Play: This was the best play for Fitzpatrick all day. In the shotgun, the Jets came with an all-out blitz. Fitzpatrick didn’t hesitate at all, standing tall in the pocket and firing one to Decker on a slant for the score.
28th Play: Marshall made Cromartie look silly with a double move. He broke initially inside looking like he was coming on a slant, when Cromartie committed, Marshall cut and went to the outside and left Cromartie standing flat-footed. The result was an easy lob for Fitzpatrick to a wide-open Marshall in the corner.
Second unit comes in. Practice ends two plays later.