TTYL: Texts, videos key to chemistry for Jets' Fitzpatrick

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Ryan Fitzpatrick uses his phone to score some chemistry with his New York Jets teammates on and off the field.


Nope, it's more than just silly emojis.

The veteran quarterback regularly sends text messages, videos, voice memos and emails to receivers Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and just about every other playmaker on offense. It's all about game plans, game film and thoughts and suggestions for the upcoming week.

''He sends it to us in groups, individually, and it's constant,'' Marshall said Wednesday. ''He's relentless.''

It's also working for the Jets, who rank 10th in the NFL in offense behind a 33-year-old quarterback who is on pace for a record-breaking season. Fitzpatrick has thrown 22 touchdown passes, seven short of the franchise record held by Vinny Testaverde.

A big reason has been the communication he's established with guys like Marshall and Decker, who are also enjoying outstanding seasons. Marshall has 83 catches for 1,062 yards and 10 TDs, while Decker has caught 59 passes for 801 yards and eight scores.

''Right after the game, we start texting,'' Marshall said. ''Monday is when we move to the next game, and he'll start sending over video messages with different looks, or he's asking me what I see or what I like.

''But 90 percent of it is what he likes, what he wants. He tells us what he wants us to do.''

Fitzpatrick came to the Jets in the offseason in a trade from Houston, and was expected to be New York's backup. But projected starter Geno Smith had his jaw broken in training camp by a punch from linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali - and Fitzpatrick suddenly found himself as the No. 1 quarterback.

He spent the weeks leading up to the season opener cramming in time with the starters on offense, trying to learn their tendencies and going over film and game plans with them. Fitzpatrick also started using technology to his advantage.

''That's what it's really about, is the communication,'' Marshall said. ''The only way we're going to bridge the gap is by constantly being in communication. It's really what Ryan has done.''

It's all something kind of new for Fitzpatrick, who joked about not being able to text anyone early in his career.

''Technology back in 2005 wasn't the same as it is today,'' said Fitzpatrick, a rookie with St. Louis then. ''I used to send stuff on my beeper.''

OMG. Remember those?

All kidding aside, Fitzpatrick has seen the advantages of being able to notice something he thinks can help the Jets and immediately connect with his receivers without a phone call or waiting until the next day to show them.

''That's something I've done more here than in other places,'' he said. ''Part of it was just kind of our schedules. Part of it is just having some guys that really understand the game - and, from a simple clip, can really get on the same page with what I'm trying to get them to see. I send individual clips. I'll send to Brandon. If it's relevant to Deck, I'll send him some stuff.''

Marshall has seen it before from other quarterbacks during his career, including Josh McCown in Chicago, and Chad Pennington and Chad Henne in Miami. But he has been impressed with the urgency and diligence with which Fitzpatrick has established himself as the team's leader and being sure everyone is on the same page.

''If it wasn't for him, no telling where we would be right now,'' Marshall said. ''I'm really honored to play with him and really follow him. When you look back and you really study the game, it's the teams who really come together at the end of November, December. If we can stay on this road, there's no telling what happens.''

Oh, and the offensive linemen aren't exempt from Fitzpatrick's messages, either.

''There is a great O-line group text,'' the quarterback said with a big smile. ''But that's usually not about football. Yeah, I snuck my way into that one.''



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