"That's the NFL. It's just tough," Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "The biggest thing in the game in order to last, is to believe in yourself, because when the owner stops believing in you and the general manager stops believing in you and coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That's kind of something I've had to deal with before, something I'm dealing with now. I just do my best to prepare and be the best quarterback I can."
Maybe Fitzpatrick should have spent the offseason preparing. Maybe instead of galavanting around New York City like a celebrity and tossing the ball around with your brother as you held out - threatening to retire if you didn't get the deal you wanted - maybe you should have been working with your teammates. But it's fine that Fitzpatrick's contract negotiations were all about him, that's how it should be, the problem is after the Jets first win in a month Fitzpatrick once again went out of his way to make it about him and his hurt feelings.
Meanwhile Geno Smith - who didn't look great but looked solid and had the offense moving and looking competent despite two big drops from his receivers - faced yet another roadblock. Last season Smith was set to start before I.K. Enemkpali broke his jaw, Smith didn't whine and complain about losing the starting job. Instead he talked about the team. Yesterday Smith got another crack at the starting job and was looking pretty good before got hurt and twisted up his knee. He wanted to come back in but the doctors held him out as a precaution and this is what Smith said about his situation when asked if it's frustrating for him.
"I mean it's frustrating to get injured no matter what point of the game it is," Smith said. "The key thing is we won today. We got a win. We were able to go out there and execute. (We) did some good things. I'll be fine either way. The main thing is that we can continue to build on this success we had today."
So the 33-year-old quarterback took a team-win ( Fitzpatrick completed two really good throws, a few other easy throws and missed some easy throws. The Jets won because of their defense and 138 rushing yards in the second half, not because Fitzpatrick played great and proved his doubters wrong) and made it all about himself and how he was treated so unjustly and the 'immature, non-leader' responded exactly as a real professional is supposed to. This really shouldn't be a surprise if you've actually paid attention to how Smith has carried himself since the punch, but best believe if Smith said what Fitzpatrick said everyone would be burying the Smith and saying he doesn't deserve to even see a practice field ever again.
But the worst part of Fitzpatrick's quotes was how he completely absolved himself - and his atrocious play - of any of the blame. The owner, general manager and coaching staff didn't just suddenly lose faith in him for no reason, they lost faith in him because he constantly missed easy throws, started taking bad sacks, were throwing interceptions at a historic rate and continually failed to score points.
Fitzpatrick said he was "pissed off" but he's misdirecting that anger, if he should be pissed off at anyone he should be pissed off at himself for playing so poorly. So what's it like to not have people believe in him?
"It's not easy, but I think my teammates believing in me is a big thing. Their opinion of me, that's kind of what drives me and what matters and so I know I still have that belief in the huddle, so that's important to me," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm human, so it's not the easiest thing in the world to deal with, but it's something that I've dealt with, and again just relying on my support system and believing in myself is the biggest thing."
Thats a fine quote, except it's not exactly true. Partly true but not completely true. Fitzpatrick has his fans and supporters in that locker room, no doubt, but so does Smith. This myth that the team doesn't respect or believe in Smith is a lie, there were plenty of players (mostly the younger players ) happy to see Smith get the start this week and if healthy they'll want him to start next week.
Truth be told these quotes aren't that big of a deal, but if it was Smith that was making them the Jets beat would never stop talking about it. Still Fitzpatrick took the moment after the team's first win in a month to be spiteful and make it about himself and his hurt feelings while ignoring his poor play that led to his benching. It'll be interesting to see what happens if Smith is healthy and named the starter next week - as he should be - how will Fitzpatrick handle that?
"I try to be professional and do my job every day, whatever is asked of me and required of me," Fitzpatrick said. "That's kind of the thing that's worked best for me."
Maybe he should have tried that during the press conference last night (insert shrug emoji).
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null