FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Brandon Marshall was all decked out in a bright green T-shirt that read "FitzMagic 2.0," so count him among the believers in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
So that makes two.
From what Fitzpatrick can see, there still aren't many others - as he said in his controversial postgame comments on Sunday, which he didn't exactly back down from on Wednesday afternoon. The only difference this time was that he slightly softened his stance after talking with Todd Bowles, GM Mike Maccagnan and even owner Woody Johnson.
No, Fitzpatrick doesn't seem to think they are believers any more than he did when he called them out on Sunday. But he admits now that there's only one way he can make them believers.
He's got to play a whole lot better than he has so far.
"It's show-me business," Fitzpatrick said. "It's based on production. You've got to go out there and do it on the field. When we win and when I play well, everyone's happy. I think that's the most important thing that can come of this. I know that I have to be a better player and I'm working at it every day."
That's the only bottom line in what just might be an already-lost season for the 2-5 Jets, and Fitzpatrick acknowledged that more than he did on Sunday, even as he stood by his previous words. The Jets can still throw a Hail Mary by winning their next three games to get to 5-5 and at least make their Week 12 Sunday night game against the New England Patriots interesting.
But they can't do that if Fitzpatrick doesn't play better. And if he doesn't play better he may also find himself out of a job at age 33. After his awful performance in the first five games of the season, a vast improvement is the only way to make anyone else believe.
That part of the message was lost on Sunday after Fitzpatrick relieved the injured Geno Smith and went 9-for-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown in 24-16 win over Baltimore. Afterwards, he lamented his plight at being benched just five days earlier. He said "when the owner stops believing in you, and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself."
Asked if he regretted making those comments, Fitzpatrick said, "No, not at all." But those comments, understandably, didn't sit well with Fitzpatrick's bosses, especially since they're paying him $12 million and he paid them back with no touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the fourth quarters of the first six games.
He had a conversation with all of them, and the message seemed to be: Just go play well and win.
"Basically the discussion has been 'We're all here to do the same thing, which is to win football games,'" Fitzpatrick said. "It doesn't matter how it happens. This business, as [Bowles] always says, is a show-me business. This business is based on production. You've got to go out there and produce. That's what I'm working at right now and that's what I intend to do for the rest of the year."
If he does, it likely won't change the long-term belief in Fitzpatrick because it's pretty obvious there is none. It's a lock that as soon as the Jets lose another game or two and accept that the playoffs are out of their reach, they'll turn to Bryce Petty, as long as his shoulder is fully healthy.
So the only way Fitzpatrick can stay relevant, on the field, and to keep the faith of his organization, is to win and dramatically turn this season around.
And maybe, as Fitzpatrick said Sunday, he'll "play better as an underdog, pissed off." That would clearly be fine with Bowles, who on Monday said "If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I'm more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time." And if he has to lean on a me-against-the-world mentality to do it, the Jets likely won't care as long as he gets results.
That's the only thing that matters anymore. It's not about Fitzpatrick's believers, it's about how he plays from here on out. And he certainly believes he can play better - even if he sometimes thinks he's the only one.
"I mean there's probably a lot of people standing here with microphones and cameras that don't believe in me either, you know?" he said. "And that's fine. The basics of that is that I believe, and that's the most important thing. You've got to believe in yourself. That's basically who I care about, when I look in the mirror."