EA Q&A: Fitz’s Beard Tips

Posted Oct 15, 2015

Jets Have Feasted on Turnovers, Defense Adds a Force & Patience Needed with Smith

EA: While I’ve been on-site for all of Fitzpatrick’s starts, I’ve only seen highlights of Cousins to date. The numbers are similar when you compare the two – Fitzpatrick (78.1 Passer Rating, 231 YPG, 7 TD & 6 INT) and Cousins (81.9 Passer Rating, 244.8 YPG, 5 TD & 6 INT). While Cousins is completing 68.1% of his passes and has been sacked six times, Fitzpatrick is completing 60.7% of his passes and has been sacked a league-low two times. Fitzpatrick has done a tremendous job getting the ball out and avoiding the negative play. That sack total is one of the most overlooked Jets’ stats to date. Cousins, who was a little off against the Falcons, could use a healthy DeSean Jackson because the latter opens things up with game-breaking speed. TE Jordan Reed also has been missed for the Washington offense.

EA: We don’t mind questions for the players even though this is the EA Q&A – I actually encourage it.  “It’s probably more up to my wife than me, but I’m going to do my best to keep it long,” Fitz said of the beard. As for grooming tips, the veteran QB doesn’t bring too much to the table. “I’m more of a let it grow and see what happens kind of guy,” says Fitz. “Let it grow long and slow. I don’t really groom it a whole lot.”

My beard advice? I’ve attempted to keep it seasonal. So for me, that usually means holding out until Thanksgiving before breaking it out. Then after the NCAA Tournament, it’s time to go clean-shaven. I encourage folks to find a good barber to set you straight with you a line and then trim it up every 10-14 days.

EA: Spot-on. The number that jumps out to me is the turnover margin department as the Jets are +6 and the Redskins are -3. Washington has scored just three points off turnovers in 2015 while their opponents have scored 34 off their takeaways.  Chan Gailey’s offense has been efficient, scoring 23.8 points per game while ranking T5 in Red Zone efficiency (73.3 TD%). The Reskins meanwhile rank just 25th in scoring at 19.4 points per contest and they stumbled in the run game on both sides of the ball vs. the Falcons. If you make the ‘Skins one-dimensional and that means winning on first down, then it figures to be a tough afternoon for Kirk Cousins against this defense. This is a scrappy Washington team though and if they protect the football – they will stick around. The ‘Skins are talented up front defensively, but look for the Jets to try to stay balanced. I think the Jets might have to grind this one out and they’re equipped to do that.

EA: Not 100% sure on the pants, but the smart bet is on green. They like the look and they’ve been successful in the combo, so…

EA: The Jets are adding an excellent player to the mix and their defense is about to become even more formidable. Sheldon Richardson is a disruptive force and he is ready for action. I don’t think Richardson’s addition will change too much for Harrison – he is a NT who comes off the field in a lot of clear passing situations. It will be interesting to see how Todd Bowles, Kacy Rodgers and Pepper Johnson rotate the likes of Williams, Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. But I would imagine there will be times when all four on the field at the same time. Don’t forget about Leger Douzable ether because I think the veteran DL had a solid opening quarter as well. As Bill Parcells told Bowles long ago, “You can never have enough good defensive linemen.”

EA: I thought the Eagles were effective – at times – attacking the perimeter with Ryan Mathews, getting both Mathews and Darren Sproles free on occasion in the pass game and playing a tempo game. But the Jets defense is so good that the “effectiveness” resulted in 17 offensive points (including 1 TD after a turnover in Jets’ territory), 231 total yards and a 28% (4 of 14) on third down. Although the Redskins have talented offensive personnel, they have different strengths. To date, Chris Thompson has been their primary target (14 receptions) out of the backfield. They like to employ multiple tight end sets, pound away and get into third-and-manageable situations.

EA: The Jets have become a balanced ball club. Chris Ivory is a runaway freight train, averaging 104.7 yards per game (T1) on the ground. And on the outside, Brandon Marshall has tormented opponents with 30 receptions. Eric Decker – with at TD reception in each of his three games played – gives the Green & White a unique weapon on the inside.  Chan Gailey has options and I would imagine Washington is going to do everything it can to take away Ivory. Easier said than done. Defensively the Jets have to tackle well because the ‘Skins have favored a short passing game to date. Washington head coach Jay Gruden said DeSean Jackson hasn’t been able to open it up at practice yet.

EA: Patience. After missing basically the entire summer, Smith has played just two NFL games while catching five balls for 53 yards. QB coach Kevin Patullo said Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting used to Smith’s speed an play style. Smith is a glider and Chad Pennington told me this week on Jets Audibles that Randy Moss was that way as well – it didn’t look like Moss was running that fast but he just blew by everybody. Both Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have mentored Smith on recognition and given him tips on how to get open. The chemistry will get better with time. I don’t think Gailey has to change up anything he is doing right now – he exploits matchups with the best of them.


LISTEN: Pennington: Gailey Playing to His Strengths

READ: NFL Power Rankings: Jets Back and Ready to Ball

READ: Marshall: Pass Offense Is a Work-in-Progress

WATCH: Bowles: Richardson May Start

WATCH: Jets Spotlight: Muhammad Wilkerson