Brandon Marshall’s first impression of Ryan Fitzpatrick: ‘Terrible’
To say that the relationship between Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick as New York Jets teammates got off to an inauspicious start would be an understatement.
“He was terrible,” Marshall said, via NJ.com. “He really was.”
Marshall arrived at his unflattering initial opinion of Fitzpatrick during offseason OTAs and minicamps in 2015. Fitzpatrick was still recovering from a broken leg suffered the previous season which impacted his ability to plant and throw with any velocity or accuracy.
At the time, likely no one with the Jets was overly concerned over Fitzpatrick’s struggles, as he had been brought in to serve as Geno Smith’s backup. One unfortunate locker room altercation for Smith where he had his jaw broken by IK Enemkpali later and everything changed.
Marshall recalls at the time when Smith went down that the Jets locker room wasn’t radiating positivity over the prospects of having Fitzpatrick under center.
“I was scared,” Marshall said. “It was over. Season was over. We were done. Done. It’s the truth… He was terrible. I don’t know what he was doing.”
Marshall’s dour outlook of Fitzpatrick’s ability to lead the team proved unfounded. After taking over for the sidelined Smith, Fitzpatrick never let go of the starting job. Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a 9-7 record, narrowly missing the playoffs. He threw for a franchise-record 31 touchdowns and 3,905 yards, which was the second-best passing output in Jets history.
Marshall was the primary benefactor of Fitzpatrick’s breakthrough season, setting single-season franchise records for receptions (105), yards (1,502) and touchdowns (14). Eric Decker proved to be a phenomenal second option for the passing game as well.
The entire Jets organization’s perspective of Fitzpatrick of course has changed dramatically since his struggles in 2015 offseason activities. Despite a lengthy and protracted — and sometimes contentious — contract stalemate that nearly bled into training camp, Fitzpatrick signed signed a one-year, fully guaranteed $12 million contract in late July.
And now, Marshall, who supported Fitzpatrick throughout the tense negotiations — for the most part — is relieved to have the quarterback in the fold.
“He seems comfortable back there,” Marshall said of Fitzpatrick. “He is looking really good right now. He’s very impressive.”