It was a whirlwind 24 hours for Ryan Fitzpatrick as he said he circled the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in his truck while the final details of his contract were being worked out inside, then hustled to the auditorium and was less than a minute late to the first team meeting of camp Wednesday night, then hustled outside and ran the Jets' first offense for much of a long, hot practice this afternoon.
Afterwards, Fitz talked with reporters about his day, and his week, and his offseason. Here are five points he made in his chat with the media:
How did he stay in shape during the offseason away from the Jets?"It's really just keeping the arm oiled up a little bit. But I think the best thing for me is this is now my No. 12 training camp that I'm going into. I understand where I need to be and I also understand I've still got some work to do. Even today, after a seven-month layoff, getting on the field and thinking through plays and seeing a defense, that's going to take a few days or a week to just kind of get back into that flow. That'll all come."
How important was support from his teammates such as WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker during the layoff?"It was a tough process. I wanted to be here. I was around, my kids were in school here, and being 10 minutes away and not being able to come to the facility was tough. But the way those guys had my back and just some of the loyalty and faith they showed in me, I thought that was awesome. That was probably the best thing that came about this long, turbulent offseason for me was just that bond between us, and I think it really grew stronger because of that."
On betting on himself by agreeing to a one-year deal..."That's kind of why I'm still here and standing here. I mean, I've got a ton of confidence in myself. When that offer [early in negotiations] came in, all I thought to myself was it's going to be a one-year deal, we've got to do it as a one-year deal, because if that's how they want to play it and that's how they see it, then I'd much rather bet on myself. ... I feel like I'm just continuing to get better and better as a football player, I feel more comfortable now than I did last year and the year before and the year before. So hopefully I continue to get better."
Does he enjoy the role that, while he's starting, he's also mentoring three young QBs?"Yeah, I love it. ... If you look at all three of those guys [Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg], all three of them are way more talented than I am in terms of the way they throw the ball, the way they move around, how they looked at the combine. So there's part of it that I at least a little bit have figured out to where I've been able to last 12 years that hopefully can rub off on them a little bit."
How much pressure has he put on himself with this contract?"I put a lot of pressure on myself. But the pressure that I feel, I've got guys like Brandon and Deck, they stuck their necks out, they were in my corner all offseason. And so I've got to go out and perform for those guys and for all the guys in the locker room. That's the added pressure. It's just internal, in this building. There's a lot of guys counting on me. That's what it is as a starting quarterback anyway, but that would be the main pressure that I feel, just try not to let those guys down."