Sunday Morning QB: Jets' never-ending search for a franchise QB

There’s nothing the Jets can do now that:

Chad Pennington, who actually looked like he might be able to compete with Tom Brady, couldn’t prevent his shoulder from continually blowing out.

Brett Favre’s arm nearly fell off down the stretch of the 2008 season and a 7-2 record turned into a crushing 9-7 non-playoff year.

Mark Sanchez imploded after taking the Jets to the AFC title game in his first two seasons – he beat Peyton Manning and Brady back-to-back on the road in the 2010 playoffs — but is better known for the Butt Fumble and consecutive seasons of 26 turnovers than his early success.

Tim Tebow was inept throwing the ball and his Jets highlight was running through the rain shirtless in training camp in Cortland, a Chariots of Fire moment.

Geno Smith was a knucklehead who got punched out and had his jaw broken by a teammate over $600.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was a one-year wonder at the age of 33 in 2014. He’s back to being a journeyman at 34 as the lowest rated QB in the league.

Jets GMs Bill Parcells, Terry Bradway, Mike Tannenbaum, John Idzik and now Mike Maccagnan have all failed in the last 17 drafts to find a franchise quarterback.

After Maccaggnan took Bryce Petty in the fourth round of his first draft in 2015 and Christian Hackenberg in the second round this year, and neither giving any indication in practice, or the one start Petty had two weeks ago, of being the answer, this is a crucial offseason coming for Maccagnan to figure things out.

The Jets can’t compete in the AFC East until they can compete at quarterback. Brady is 39 but playing at the highest level of his career, Ryan Tannehill has taken big steps in Miami with new coach Adam Gase and the arrow is pointing up on Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo.

So, where do the Jets go from here? Who starts for them in 2017?

THE INCUMBENTS

Fitzpatrick/Smith: No chance. Both free agents. Fitz has been a mess after his $12 million stalemate this summer. Smith tore his ACL in his only start. Neither will be back.

Petty: He had a chance to win the job when Fitz couldn’t play against the Rams two weeks ago with a bad knee. But he was so-so in his first start and Bowles had no desire to give him the ball again Sunday against the Pats even with the season over at 3-7.

Hackenberg: Maccagnan must have been sold that Chan Gailey could get him straightened out after he was bad his last two years at Penn State following a promising freshman year. He has major accuracy issues, which is a problem. He has yet to dress for a game.

MANDATORY CREDIT; NO LICENSING EXCEPT BY AP COOPERATIVE MEMBERS

Tony Romo is too fragile to be the answer for a rebuilding Jets squad next season.

(Jae S. Lee/AP)

THE VETERANS

Tony Romo, Cowboys: He’s not getting his job back from Dak Prescott unless Prescott is injured. He still wants to play so it’s not likely Jerry Jones will be able to talk him into ending his career as a backup. Going to Denver in a trade to become Peyton Manning 2.0 is the most logical move. Romo is too old, too brittle and too expense for the Jets, who are no longer a win-now team.

Kirk Cousins, Washington: He’s making nearly $20 million as Washington’s franchise player. If they can’t agree to a long-term deal, Washington can franchise him again. He’s not about to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent and Washington would rather pay him again as the franchise player than trade him. But he’s exactly the kind of quarterback the Jets need: Just 28, playoff experience, getting better.

Jay Cutler, Bears: He’s always hurt and when he’s healthy, he throws bad interceptions. The Jets passed on him in the 2006 draft to take D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He has an amazing arm, but has never learned how to use it, much like Jeff George. He’s not expected back in Chicago, especially after suffering a shoulder injury last week.

Not Released (NR)

DeShone Kizer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

THE DRAFT

The Jets are working their way to the top of the draft. Right now, they are sitting in the No. 5 spot. Unlike the last two drafts when QBs went 1-2 — Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and then Jared Goff and Carson Wentz — this is not a top-heavy QB draft.

North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is emerging at the top of the QB board followed by Clemson’s DeShaun Watson and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.

Mitch Trubisky of the North Carolina Tar Heels

Mitch Trubisky of the North Carolina Tar Heels

(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Browns are pretty much locked into the first pick. After passing on Wentz this year, and being so unsettled at quarterback, they will likely take whoever is considered the best QB.

I don’t know if Maccagnan is willing to admit so quickly he was wrong on Hackenberg, which will be the message if he takes a quarterback in the first round.

Who will be the Jets QB next year? To be determined.

EASTBOUND AND UP

It’s now a two-team race in the NFC East between the Cowboys and Giants.

The Giants’ path to the division title became much more difficult with the Cowboys victory over Washington on Thanksgiving. Assuming the Giants beat the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday, the Cowboys will maintain their two-game lead. The Giants now need the Cowboys to lose to the Vikings in Minnesota on Thursday night and then Big Blue needs to win in Pittsburgh next Sunday in order to control their own fate in the division going into their showdown with the ‘Boys at MetLife on Dec. 11. The Giants’ victory over the Cowboys in the season opener combined with a victory in two weeks would give them the season sweep. But that only helps in the tie-breaker if the Giants can get even with Dallas… Disadvantage for the Giants: Beginning next week they play two in a row against teams coming off Thursday night games with a 10-day break. The Steelers beat the Colts on Thanksgiving night and then the Giants get the Cowboys 10 days after their game in Minnesota. The Colts will have an 11-day break before playing the Jets at MetLife on Dec. 5.

BOY OH ‘BOYS

The Cowboys 10-game winning streak is the longest single-season streak in their 57 seasons. Their longest previous streak was eight games… Prescott is closing in on Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie record winning streak for a quarterback. Big Ben won 13 in a row for the Steelers in 2004… No rookie quarterback has ever started in the Super Bowl. In the previous 15 seasons, Brady, Big Ben and Russell Wilson have started the Super Bowl in their second seasons.

TIGHT RACES

The Patriots, Cowboys and Seahawks are the only teams with more than a one-game lead in their division… The Raiders are 5-0 on the road and their victory over the Texans last week in Mexico City was considered a home game. They are 8-2 overall with a one-game lead in the AFC West over the Broncos and Chiefs. They’ve been so good on the road, but their remaining three road games are in division… Besides three questionable officiating decisions that all benefitted the Raiders in Mexico City, how about the green laser in the stands that more than once was shined in the eyes of Texans QB Brock Osweiler? It’s inexcusable that was allowed to happen. “Certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play,” Osweiler said.

BILL’S BUNGLE

The Jets will forever carry around the burden of the Butt Fumble from four years ago in a Thanksgiving night blowout loss to the Patriots in an otherwise meaningless game. But how about last year’s Bill Belichick Brain Blowup against the Jets, which was far more costly?

New England went into the 15th game with a magic number of one over the Broncos to clinch home field in the playoffs.

Belichick, who always acts like he’s so much smarter than everybody else, likely cost Brady a chance at his seventh Super Bowl appearance and his fifth championship with his coaching the last two games of the regular season.

Brady’s touchdown pass to James White tied the Jets with 1:55 left. New England forced overtime by stopping the Jets on the next series. The Patriots won the OT coin toss and Belichick bizarrely elected to kick off. “I thought that was the best thing to do,” Belichick said.

Brady’s reaction? “Whatever coach decides, that’s what the team does,” he said.

Belichick decided what was best was to keep the ball out of the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history. But his defense then couldn’t stop Fitzpatrick, who ended the game on the first OT series on a quick five-play, 80-yard drive when he completed a six-yard touchdown to Eric Decker.

The next week in Miami, Belichick decided to work on the Patriots running game in the first half, again taking the ball out of Brady’s hands. Brady attempted just five passes in the first half, the Pats fell behind 10-3 and wound up losing 20-10, and with Denver winning its last two games, Belichick lost home-field advantage.

If the Patriots had not blown a two-game lead with two to play, I’m sure Brady would have defeated a compromised Peyton Manning in Foxborough in the AFC Championship Game. Instead, with The Hoodie panicking in the fourth quarter by going for it and failing on two fourth downs when he should have kicked field goals, the Patriots lost in the championship game in Denver, 20-18.

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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