The SiriusXM NFL Radio bandwagon pulled into Florham Park on Wednesday, and that meant it was time for our annual chat with Pat Kirwan, this time sans radio partner Jim Miller, who couldn't wait to get down to the field to watch practice.
Kirwan had great observations all around the Jets roster, but his thoughts on the offense were the most interesting to me, beginning with his answer to the opening question about how the former Jets personnel man saw this year's Green & White team shaping up in the AFC East.
"As soon as they got Fitz back, I felt much better, like a lot of people," Kirwan said of, who else, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. "I talked to Ryan this morning, and you know, I parallel his career to Richie Gannon. Gannon was 34 when he found Jon Gruden and Gruden found him [on the Raiders]. So with Chan Gailey again this time around, I think Ryan's very much energized."
Part of the reason for that, Kirwan said, was the potential Fitz-to-Forté connection — "To get Ryan back with Chan and Matt, Forté can go right back up to 75, 80 catches."
But the main attraction is Fitz with his two wideout buds, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. I asked Pat if this trio was in line to duplicate or improve on last year's outstanding collaboration.
"I see them going a little higher," he said. "And I do see that because according to Fitzy and Jimmy Miller, who played for Chan, they're expanding the offense. They're already moving into more stuff. He said we kind of took off from where we left off."
Kirwan does have questions on the Jets offense. He's cautiously optimistic about TE Jace Amaro — "Time will tell, but the middle of the field's going to be wide open with those two receivers — and he wants to know who's going to settle in at third WR and who the third tackle will be behind Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini.
But the football guru, who continues to market his books and DVDs on his website in addition to his radio work, sees this offense, defense and specialists under new ST coach Brant Boyer coming together to win more battles than it loses against this year's tougher schedule.
"With Fitz back and plenty of time to get ready and what he told me about where they are," he said, "I think the Jets are sitting in a wild card spot."