Hit on Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick draws concern and questions

Not so long ago, football voices would celebrate a player’s toughness, the ability to take a shot and keep on performing. The NFL’s emphasis on player safety, especially regarding potential concussions, is muting the bravado.

After Ryan Fitzpatrick had his helmet separated from his head by Browns DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who administered a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit to the Jets QB running along the sidelines, Rich Gannon, the CBS analyst didn’t celebrate the quarterback’s toughness.

Instead Gannon emphasized how the “independent observers” had moved quickly (they were on camera) to put Fitzpatrick through the concussion protocol.

“That’s the right thing to do,” Gannon said. “That was a nasty hit.”

Jets still playing inexcusable football in win over Browns

Yet as Fitzpatrick was stinking up the joint in the first half (3 of 14), neither Gannon nor play-by-play man Kevin Harlan ever speculated that the poor performance might have had something to do with the aftershocks of getting his bell rung.

It would have been a legit point to make.

Norman Julius Esiason did just that during CBS’ halftime report. As the replay of Boddy-Calhoun’s hit aired, Esiason said he didn’t “know why he (Fitzpatrick) is (still) out there” playing.

“That is about as vicious a hit to the head as you are going to take. His play is reflecting it,” Esiason said. “I’m wondering why he’s on the field. … It just doesn’t look right.”

Jets avoid humiliation against Browns with comeback in 31-28 win

Fitzpatrick would go on to provide ample evidence he had shaken the cobwebs, looking much sharper in the second half as Gang Green overcame a 13-point deficit to win 31-28. Credit Esiason with revisiting his halftime comments on CBS’ postgame show.

“A lot of us, including yours truly, wondered if he was knocked for a loop and shouldn’t have come back in the second half,” Esiason said. “But he did.”

Still, Esiason’s cautionary halftime commentary was well-placed and appropriate.

RANTING CHAD

Bryce Petty named Jets backup QB to Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Browns

That was a heck of a performance Todd (Mr. Sunshine) Bowles offered up at his postgame press conference after Jets-Browns.

The words, by the man of few words, clearly inspired SNY’s Chad Cascadden, who wigged on Gang Green.

“Why are you coming out slow? Why are you sleepwalking? It’s ridiculous,” Cascadden screeched. “It’s ridiculous. This is the NFL. A guy (i.e. Bowles) shouldn’t have to go into the locker room and yell at a bunch of grown men to get going.”

Yes, the Jets came out zombie-like against winless Cleveland. Yet Bowles and his crack staff should share some of the blame for obviously not pushing the right motivation buttons.

ELI ROUGHED UP

Wherever Eli Manning was spending his Sunday bye, his ears must have been burning.

The Giants QB had the day off and was still getting torched. This was ugly. On CBSSN’s “That Other Pregame Show,” the panel was asked to predict what would have happened if the Manning-Philip Rivers trade never went down.

The always subtle London Fletcher said Rivers would have won “three, maybe four Super Bowls” if he played for the Giants. “Eli Manning, I don’t think he’s still in the league right now (if he played for San Diego) because I don’t think he would have played as well as Rivers has played in San Diego,” Fletcher said.

Wait, there was more. TOPS Gasbag Chris Simms continued dumping on Manning.

Ryan Fitzpatrick takes a vicious hit that leads to voices raising concern if he has a concussion.

Ryan Fitzpatrick takes a vicious hit that leads to voices raising concern if he has a concussion.

(Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

“Eli is toward the bottom of football as far as quarterback play right now,” Simms said. “He does get a free pass at times because of the Super Bowl thing, which I’m so sick of, ‘Oh, he’s got two Super Bowls,’ so now he can hang around and be average for six more years.”

Ouch!

INFLATING BRADY

Maybe it’s me, but it appears the NFL Network has major pangs of guilt over how its boss, Roger Goodell, treated Tom Brady during DeflateGate.

Each and every Sunday morning the cast of “GameDay First” or “GameDay Morning” genuflects to Major Tom. Hey, Brady deserves much credit and respect.

But doing these tributes, disguised as features, is getting tired.

Another one aired on both shows Sunday. Then again, with six hours to fill every Sunday morning during the season, NFLN can do a lot worse killing time than figuratively kissing Brady’s tuchis.

It keeps the NFL-owned property away from controversy, right?

STUDIO STEVE

The Steve Smith Sr. Media Audition Tour continued Sunday on CBS’ “The NFL Today,” with the Ravens wideout informing eyeballs in attendance the NFL is more committed to pursuing those who engage in excessive celebrations than others with off-the-field issues, like those accused of domestic violence.

Smith, who was once suspended for beating up a teammate during practice, apparently knows the ins and outs of what goes down in the NFL offices. That would give him unique analytical abilities, right?

But if Mr. Smith is indeed pursuing a post-playing media career — he’s already a regular on ESPN Radio — he might want to focus on his delivery.

Smith talks faster than he runs, making it hard to understand him. When Smith is ripping the NFL he should slow down, relax.

Consider that free advice.

DILFER ON TARGET

On this occasion, we actually understood a Trent Dilfer ESPN “Countdown” Sermon.

And the man made a point, a very good point. Dilfer said when Ryan Fitzpatrick gave his spiel about how the coach, the GM and the owner no longer believed in him, the Jets QB was giving football consumers a rare look into his soul.

“I appreciate the rawness of Fitzpatrick’s responses. … Everybody wants us to be these model citizens and do everything politically correct and never come out and say what we really feel,” Dilfer said. “That’s what the NFL has become and it can work against you.”

Dilfer went on to explain how he “took the high road” and kept his mouth shut after Elvis Grbac said the Ravens “now have a real quarterback” when Dilfer was not re-signed by the team following their Super Bowl winning season.

“That bitterness and resentment I carried now for 16 years,” Dilfer said Sunday on ESPN. “I could have come out and said ‘this is wrong’ but I stayed out of it.”

Tags:
new york jets
ryan fitzpatrick
nfl
rich gannon
new york giants
cleveland browns
tom brady
deflategate
trent dilfer

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