Joe Namath: ‘Fitzpatrick Will Have To Play Himself Out Of Job’

Ryan Fitzpatrick was solid for the Jets in Week 1, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. We’ll see how he performs Monday in Indianapolis, but if Fitzpatrick continues to play well, will he remain the Jets starting quarterback even when Geno Smith returns?

“I think Coach (Todd) Bowles already answered that question,” Jets legend Joe Namath said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “If Fitzpatrick is playing well, he’s keeping the job.”

Yes, but will Fitzpatrick’s good play actually continue?

“Well, it’s his 11th year, and I think it’s the best team he’s been with, so that’s going to remain to be seen,” Namath said. “What I saw of him last week, his arm strength is certainly not to be questioned. He’s throwing with some heat. I got to believe that what he has between the ears – his demeanor last week was good to me. He looked very clam, collected. I got to believe he knows how to manage that offense and has – because of his experience – the knowledge of what to anticipate from defenses and (the ability) to change things. Given the team he has – the Jets did bring in some pretty nice personnel – he’s going to have to play himself out of the job. Let me put it that way. He’s going to have to play himself out of the starting job.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Fitzpatrick and the Jets fare in their first road game of the season. That said, the Colts sure looked suspect – not to mention soft – in their 27-14 loss to the Bills last week. Not exactly a great way to open the season, especially since Indy closed last season with a cold-weather 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship.

Are the Colts tough enough to win at a high level?

“I don’t know that there’s a cat in the National Football League that isn’t tough physically or mentally,” Namath said. “The game is too damn demanding. I believe the Colts are tough enough individually and collectively; they just didn’t play well against Buffalo. Buffalo confused them. That Buffalo defensive front was pretty good. It’s hard. But I’m more concerned about the Jets. I hope the Colts play a lousy game. I hope the Jets beat them up pretty good. But I couldn’t comment realistically on the toughness of that Colts defense or team. I believe all those guys that are playing in the NFL have to have proven themselves just to get there. How they play day-in and day-out remains to be seen.”

The same can be said for the Jets, who might actually have the talent to make the playoffs and – who knows? – perhaps overtake the Giants as New York’s team.

“I know it’s what some people think about in the organization,” Namath said. “We can go back to signing Tebow if you like and try to fight for headlines. The media and trying to win the city, so to speak, without winning the championship – both teams are very conscious in their media department and other areas of how they’re looked at with the New York fans. But the two things that are going to remain consistent is the fan base of the Giants and the fan base of the Jets, which has never weakened or wandered. The Jets have’t done much or haven’t won the big one (in a long time), but that darn fan base . . . is there. The Jets’ fans are going to stay, and you know the Giants fans are too – even though it’s been tough these last couple of weeks for the Giants fans.”

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