‘No re­grets’ about Fitz­patrick

Jets’ gen­eral man­ager Maccagnan still glad he re-signed vet­eran quar­ter­back de­spite his sea­son-long strug­gles

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr.

It took all off­sea­son for Mike Maccagnan and Ryan Fitz­patrick to agree on a deal to bring the vet­eran quar­ter­back back to the New York Jets.

Maccagnan is still glad the re­union hap­pened — even if it all went wrong this sea­son.

Dur­ing a nearly 40-minute sit­down with re­porters Wed­nes­day, the Jets gen­eral man­ager dis­cussed sev­eral is­sues as New York en­ters its bye-week break at a dis­mal 3-7.

He said the team is “ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed” about its record, but in­sists re-sign­ing Fitz­patrick to a one-year, $12 mil­lion deal was the right move.

“I have no re­grets about bring­ing Ryan back,” Maccagnan said. “I think go­ing into it, we felt very good about the sea­son Ryan had pre­vi­ously. So I have no re­grets from that stand­point.”

Fitz­patrick set a fran­chise record last year with 31 touch­down passes while lead­ing the Jets to a 10-6 record and within a vic­tory of a play­off ap­pear­ance.

Af­ter the sea­son, it ap­peared merely a for­mal­ity that Fitz­patrick would be back. But the sides got locked in a con­tract stale­mate that dragged on for months, end­ing only on the eve of train­ing camp in July.

Big things were ex­pected for the Jets, es­pe­cially with their record­set­ting quar­ter­back in the fold again. But the of­fense got off to a lousy start and Fitz­patrick was benched as the Jets opened 1-5.

He re­gained his start­ing spot when Geno Smith was lost for the sea­son with a knee in­jury less than

two quar­ters into his lat­est — and, pos­si­bly, last — op­por­tu­nity with the Jets.

Fitz­patrick re­turned un­til a sprained knee gave Bryce Petty the start last Sun­day against Los An­ge­les.

“Of course, I think ev­ery­body, and Ryan in­cluded, would prob­a­bly say he holds himself to a fairly high stan­dard,” Maccagnan said. “I’m sure there are as­pects that he would like to ... we all would like to have bet­ter suc­cess on the field as a team.

“But from the stand­point of bring­ing Ryan back, no, I don’t have re­grets on that.”

Fitz­patrick leads the NFL with 13 in­ter­cep­tions against has just eight touch­down passes.

It’s pos­si­ble Fitz­patrick could never throw an­other pass for New York if the Jets de­cide to give Petty and/or second-round pick Chris­tian Hack­en­berg the last six games to au­di­tion for the job for next sea­son.

That’s a de­ci­sion, Maccagnan said, that will ul­ti­mately be made by coach Todd Bowles, who’ll con­sult with his staff and the GM. Bowles said Mon­day his de­ci­sion will be based on who he be­lieves gives the team the best chance to win.

“From my stand­point, you like to see young play­ers play,” Maccagnan said. “But you also want to make

sure they’re ready for that. To me, it’s a more com­pli­cated de­ci­sion than some peo­ple re­al­ize.”

With both Fitz­patrick and Smith sched­uled to be free agents in the off­sea­son, the Jets will have no es­tab­lished quar­ter­backs on their ros­ter.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily un­nerv­ing,” Maccagnan said. “We feel good. We have two young quar­ter­backs to work with and grow and de­velop, and we’ll see how we ad­dress this go­ing for­ward.”

As for Bowles, Maccagnan was sup­port­ive of the second-year coach, but added that ev­ery­one in the or­ga­ni­za­tion needs “to do bet­ter at our jobs.”

There have been quite a few bumps in the road for Bowles, a for­mer de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who was highly re­garded around the league be­fore be­ing hired last year to re­place the fired Rex Ryan.

Play call­ing, clock man­age­ment and his over­all ap­proach have been ques­tioned at times, par­tic­u­larly with mis­steps by play­ers — most no­tably Muham­mad Wilk­er­son and Shel­don Richard­son be­ing benched for a quar­ter for be­ing late for a team meet­ing — cre­at­ing the per­cep­tion the Jets are dys­func­tional.

“We knew there would be ad­ver­sity along the way, but he’s very con­sis­tent and very fo­cused,” Maccagnan said. “And I think he has a very good pulse on the team and the locker room.

“I do think he’s go­ing to be a very good head coach in this league.”

Maccagnan punted on talk­ing about pos­si­ble moves or de­ci­sions be­yond the sea­son, pre­fer­ring to fo­cus pub­licly only on this year right now. But he also knows the next six games will go a long way in help­ing de­ter­mine the fran­chise’s fu­ture.

“We do know where we want to be even­tu­ally,” Maccagnan said. “We do feel good about some of those things head­ing for­ward.”

AP FILE

Jets gen­eral man­ager Mike Maccagnan said he has no re­grets about bring­ing back quar­ter­back Mike Maccagnan.

AP FILE

Jets quar­ter­back Ryan Fitz­patrick has strug­gled all sea­son af­ter re-sign­ing with team in off­sea­son.

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