The Jets won a game against the Browns, but Ryan Fitzpatrick played a mediocre game again. While he did throw some good throws, he had his share of horrible passes as well. Let’s examine some of these throws:
The Browns were playing in a single high safety look, and everyone is covered at the line of scrimmage, so this is a match up based pick them option for Fitzpatrick. He makes the right read on this play, and this isn’t a horrible throw. However, this is one of the biggest limitations of Fitzpatrick with the deep passes, because this is exactly the wrong type of pass for this play. The defender has the inside position on this pass, so the last place this ball needs to be placed is inside of the receiver. This has to be thrown more towards the sidelines or up the field, not a situation where the receiver has to essentially go through the defender towards the ball. The CB gets his hands on the ball and the ball falls incomplete. This isn’t a horrible throw, but it illustrates one of his biggest weaknesses with the deep pass. This is why teams don’t really respect the deep pass with the Jets because even with the right reads, Fitzpatrick can’t make great throws down the field on a consistent basis.
If you look at the line of scrimmage, and do the pre-snap read, you will notice that the defender on Robby Anderson to the right side of the formation was playing back off the line of scrimmage. This indicates a good chance he will be open on this play, and he ends up open on this play. However, Fitzpatrick looks to the other side first, where Marshall is double covered. Fitzpatrick bails out from the pocket, and has an absolutely clear path to a completion with Robby Anderson, but Fitzpatrick stares down Quincy Enunwa, who is also double covered. This is just a horrible display of field vision here by Fitzpatrick, as he missed a clear open receiver in Anderson, and ends up looking in his direction when it’s too late, and makes a bad throw to put the cherry on top. This is one of the situations where the QB has to realize that Enunwa is double covered on this play and move on quickly.
Robby Anderson has to frustrated at this point. He probably has an incognito screen name on these forums as he’s cursing out the QB on a weekly basis. On this play, he’s open down the middle for a crossing route, and Brandon Marshall is beating his man deep as well. Instead of throwing to either of these guys, Fitzpatrick decides to pose for a picture before bending over as if he lost his contacts. He has two options to throw to, that are relatively open, but figures that taking a sack here is the safer play. This is one of the problems of playing a conservative game, even against a bad defense because Fitzpatrick wants to avoid turnovers. An NFL QB has to make either one of these throws.
This play doesn’t count because Hayden got called for an illegal contact penalty on this play. However, this is a horrendous throw by Fitzpatrick, because this goes well over Marshall’s head, so sans the penalty, this is an incomplete pass. While the pass doesn’t count, this is just a horrible pass by Fitzpatrick nonetheless. The other thing to notice is the lack of respect for the deep route by Marshall on this play. Hayden is playing Marshall with no safety help over the top, and notice how he doesn’t even hesitate with a deep pass possibility because Marshall has enough time for a double move. More and more teams are giving less respect for the deep passes, and it really has an impact on the routes by receivers.
If you read this play at the line of scrimmage, you will notice that there is a good possibility that there is going to be an open receiver on the right side of the formation. All three of the receivers become open as time goes on with this play, and Fitzpatrick misses all of them while looking towards that side. Maybe he really did lose his contacts on one of the previous plays, because there is no excuse for not hitting at least one of these receivers for a pass. Instead, he channels his inner Michael Vick and gets sacked, making the Dawg Pound proud.
On this play, we have an example of slow recognition with the read on this play. Fitzpatrick is locked into Bilal Powell on the start of this play, but he is well covered, and Fitzpatrick starts to read from right to left, but the second read, Charone Peake, is open for the pass. However, Fitzpatrick misses the pass again, and decides to throw it to Enunwa, who was open earlier in the play, but was covered by the time Fitzpatrick rolled around to him. This pass has to go to Peake, but Fitzpatrick just doesn’t pull the trigger. This is one of those throws that is probably intercepted by a good defense because this pass is thrown more towards the defender than Enunwa. Not only did Fitzpatrick made the bad read on this play, he compounds his problem by making a bad throw as well.
Pre-snap read indicates that the slot receiver (Enunwa) should be open on this play, and alas he is open for the pass. Ryan Fitzpatrick surprises the defense with a good read on this play, but makes it up to them with a horrible throw. This was an easy completion to Enunwa, but Ryan Fitzpatrick just throws this pass behind Enunwa, who can’t adjust in time to make the catch. If this is a good pass, it has the potential for a big play with Enunwa’s speed, but it goes for naught.
I’m including this one, because this is another angle of the throw on this pass. In the game started by Geno Smith, the Jets dropped two passes while running from the right of the formation to the left, and in both cases, the receivers seemed surprised the ball didn’t come towards them. The most viable theory was that, Fitzpatrick tends to throw a ball, that acts similarly to a 2 seam fastball on these crossing routes, where he’s putting maximum effort into these throws. For non-baseball fans, a 2 seam fastball has a counter action, where the ball backs up to the side of the hand with which it was thrown. So if a right handed pitcher throws a 2 seam fastball, it will move from right to left, and then reverse course and start moving from left to right. If you notice this pass, you will see the late 2 seam action on this football as well, so when the receivers dropped those passes on Geno Smith, it could have been a case where they were expecting the ball to move at the last movement into their arms. Fitzpatrick tends to have this happen from time to time when he’s trying to zip in a pass in the intermediate area. It’s not common for QBs to have this kind of movement, so whenever he gets replaced, don’t be surprised if receivers have similar drops for future QBs this season.
Remember the first play of this article? This is a similar play, and another example where Fitzpatrick throws it exactly where you should not throw the ball towards. This pass is right at the defender, and for references, the CB gets up despondent that he did not intercept the pass. While Enunwa is not open on this play, this is the type of pass situation where you either look for a secondary option, or you try to lead the WR on this play. Instead, this is just a horrendous throw that very well could have been intercepted.
If this was Harvard, and the task was to find the midpoint between two objects, then Ryan Fitzpatrick gets an A. The Jets have a receiver slip on this play, while another is open on the short curl route. However, Fitzpatrick throws the ball exactly in the middle between them so absolutely no one has a shot at this pass. If you look at the pre-snap read, you will notice that the left side of the formation had a better chances of being open, but Fitzpatrick ignores that side. Charone Peake is facing a one on one match up, where there was a chance he would be open downfield although a rusher is about to hit Fitzpatrick. This is just a horrible throw by Fitzpatrick again.
This isn’t a great play design by the Jets in the red zone, as there aren’t many options on this play. However, Fitzpatrick throws to the one guy that is the most well covered on this play. Robby Anderson is open for short pass here, but Fitzpatrick pushes this pass to a guy double covered and is again lucky that this isn’t intercepted. This is not even a case of a rusher bearing down on Fitzpatrick, as he has time to move around in the pocket but forces the pass.
Another play, another bad pass. Unless Marshall is running on stilts, there is no way he catches this ball. This ball isn’t behind him, it’s just over his head at a weird angle. The only recourse for Marshall on this play is to put his one arm up, and knock it to yourself, which he fails. How does Fitzpatrick miss this pass? It’s an easy pass to lead him towards the sidelines, but he misses badly on this play. Of course, Charone Peake as well as Matt Forte is open on the left side of the formation on this play, but Fitzpatrick ignores that side. That aspect is forgivable because Marshall does become open on this play. Notice the deep safety on this play pay no attention to Peake on the possible deep route because, again, there is no respect for the deep pass from Fitzpatrick.
Another deep pass, so hide the children and women. Brandon Marshall beats Hayden on this pass and has a step on the defender, so naturally Fitzpatrick throws this to the the CB. This is just a flat out bad throw by Fitzpatrick, there is really no other way around. You have to lead the receiver down the field on this pass, but the trajectory on this pass is horrible. You will see better passers be able to put more arch on deep passes to avoid the defender standing between the ball and the target. Maybe he’s getting geometry lessons from Calvin Pryor, but if there are two parallel lines with one of them being undesirable, he should learn about adjusting angles of attack. Another pass that could have possibly been intercepted.
On a third down play, with about five defenders in the area, let’s throw it a guy so he can get buried behind the line. Bilal Powell has a one on one match up with a deep safety that is much more appealing, yet again Fitzpatrick throws this pass to Enunwa without even looking at other options. There is absolutely no upside on this pass, as it would be safer if Fitzpatrick just fell down right after taking the snap. This is another example of the offense barely recognizing coverage, and running headlong into failure.
This is another mediocre performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick. While the stats look decent, remember that this is one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Jets had opportunities to blow this game open, but the offense just didn’t take advantage. Fitzpatrick is lucky that he didn’t have multiple interceptions in this game. The running game helped Fitzpatrick in this game, with Bilal Powell proving some spark as well. Another week, another grade of C+ for Fitzpatrick, although this could have been much worse.
Fitzpatrick Grade: C+
A) How would you grade Fitzpatrick this week?
B) What do you feel about the 2 seam fastball theory and drops?