The charge from Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has always been the same – make the New York Jets as competitive as possible. And last March, Maccagnan made a critical move to bolster the quarterback position when he acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Houston Texans. Although he started training camp No. 2 on the team's depth chart, Fitzpatrick became the Green & White's starter in August after a locker room altercation left Geno Smith with a broken jaw.
"I thought he's played well and that's kind of what we expected, but more so we're probably excited about sort of what he brought from an intangible standpoint to the locker room and to the team," Maccagnan told reporters today. "I think he's been a very good influence on both Geno and Bryce."
Fitzpatrick has started all of the Jets' nine games, completing 59.7% of his passes with 15 TD and 7 INT. After undergoing surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb last week, Fitzpatrick told reporters today that he expects to start SUN vs. the Texans.
"At the midseason point we're very happy with what Ryan's done so far and what he's brought to this organization and the team…," Maccagnan said. "He's got a lot of good football left in him and we'll see how this unfolds as the season goes on."
Preparation for Houston Reaches the Midway Point at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center
Smith, who appeared in relief duty against the Raiders, remains the team's No. 2 signal caller.
"He's actually done a good job in terms of his practice approach and preparing," Maccagnan said. "As a backup player, you don't know when your time is going to be called."
Rookie Bryce Petty, a fourth-round selection from Baylor, remains third on the depth chart. Petty was always seen as a developmental project and the Green & White liked his long-term potential when adding him on Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft.
"We like him from a potential standpoint," Maccagnan said. "Really with Fitz and Geno, Bryce is a third string quarterback, but we're taking our time with him and really trying to groom and develop him."
When asked today if finding a quarterback in the draft was a top priority, Maccagnan said the Jets shared a philosophy with most of the teams in the league.
"I think every team probably looks at the position - unless they have one of the top elite quarterbacks in the league at that position - as a position that they want to address," said the first-year GM. "And quite frankly the teams probably have a very good quarterback situation are always probably looking to find the one to kind of put in the pipeline to replace that one down the road. I don't think we're any different from any other team."
Maccagnan, who served as the Houston Texans director of college scouting from 2011-'14, was active in free agency and via the trade route in his first offseason at the helm. But he wants to build through the draft.
"We had a mix of some veteran free agent acquisitions and a mix of some younger players too, and then we obviously brought in players from the draft," he said. "The whole thought process, we thought at the time when we put this all together, was to try to make ourselves a competitive team. Then where the roster was talent wise, try to acquire talent and then that would help us do better on the field in the short-term, but with a long-term view that eventually this is something we ideally build through the draft."