For the second straight season, Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick begins the season as a starter. In 2020, Fitzpatrick began the season as the starter for the Miami Dolphins. He started the first six games and had the Dolphins at 3-3 before losing his job to then-rookie QB and Dolphins 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa.
Fitzpatrick beat out Taylor Heinicke for the starting job this season and officially was named Washington’s starting QB last week. At age 38, this will probably be Fitzpatrick’s last chance to be a starter in the NFL.
“I’ve said to you guys a lot, but I see this as a great opportunity for me,” Fitzpatrick said on Thursday. “One that, maybe I haven’t even had an opportunity like this in my career, and I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to take advantage of it.”
The 17-year veteran loves to take chances with the football, and at times, it’s gotten him trouble, but Fitzpatrick, who led the league with 23 interceptions in 2011, has limited the turnovers over the years, and according to him, that came with age and experience.
“I think early in my career, some of it was not really understanding that throws couldn’t be worth 14 points,” Fitzpatrick said. “Like just going out there when you’re behind and trying to force everything in there. So some of that has come with age and experience. I’m going to push the ball down the field. I’m going to take chances. I’m going to give my guys opportunities. Some of that stuff will continue to happen. You just try to limit it. And you try to; I try to make educated decisions sometimes when it’s not necessarily a 50-50 ball, maybe it’s a 70-30 ball. You just make those educated decisions and go from there.”
Washington should have a pretty good defense in 2021. Last season, they were second in total defense and fourth in points allowed, so they will keep this team in games. Fitzpatrick may have to be that game manager for Washington in 2021.
On Thursday, he defined what being a game manager means to him.
“There’s a lot of different things, you’re on the edge of field goal range, and you’re not taking sacks,” he said. “Those types of things that you hear all the time on the broadcast, those are really important pieces of playing the quarterback position. So to me, managing a game and making the right decisions, it doesn’t necessarily mean just dinking and dunking and throwing short passes. It means making good decisions that pertain to the certain particular situation that you’re in during a game.”
The NFC East is a very winnable division. Every team in the division has its issues. If Fitzpatrick can protect the football, make a few plays, and be that game manager, Washington has enough talent to win the division again in 2022, but one thing working against them is history. No team has won back-to-back NFC East titles since 2004.
For Washington, If we get “Fitzmagic,” this could be their division, but if we get “Fitztragic,” well, it could be a struggle in D.C.