FLORHAM PARK, N.J.-- Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't want his first season with the Jets to be his last.
Through 12 games, the veteran quarterback has been enjoying arguably the best of his 11 years playing in the NFL. Fitzpatrick has already tossed a career-high 25 touchdowns, has the Jets sitting pretty at 8-5 and in position to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2010.
The fans in New York have embraced "Fitz Magic," and his coach has already made a public plea for an extension to get done. So, when asked himself if he wants to return, Fitzpatrick spoke honestly.
"Yeah," he said. "I'd love to be back."
Since earning the starting quarterback job thanks to a right-hook from ex-teammate I.K. Enemkpali, Fitzpatrick has been one of the NFL's biggest surprises. His season began with him leading the Jets to a 4-1 mark, followed with 1-4 stretch, and has now responded to the slump with one of the best three-game stretches any quarterback in the NFL has played this season.
Against the Dolphins, Giants and Titans (all victories), Fitzpatrick completed 64.2 percent of his passes and threw for 930 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I think we're coming together," Fitzpatrick said. "I think the chemistry, everybody is starting to understand the offense, what we're trying to get done. I think we're understanding the identity of this football team and what makes us go as an offense.
"It's interesting, before the last three games, Todd [Bowles] had mentioned just getting back to basics ... I think simplifying things has been good for us."
Simplifying things? Maybe. But Bowles has another theory as to how Fitzpatrick and the offense have turned things around. Prior to the game against Miami, Fitzpatrick trimmed his once long and mangled beard. Since then, the quarterback has been red hot.
Speaking at his daily press conference, the Jets coach said he thinks Fitzpatrick should shave his beard off entirely in an effort to "see if he can get any better."
That, though, doesn't appear to be happening. When told of Bowles' theory, Fitzpatrick quickly shot down the possibility.
"Nobody wants that," he said, smiling. "I don't wanna go back to baby face. We're gonna keep it like it is."