The Washington Football Team is just a quarterback away from being a serious threat.
If we had a nickel for every time we heard that cliché, not just for Washington, but for every team—we’d have quite a few coins.
But the football truism might actually ring true for Washington this season, as most areas of their team seem to be pretty solidified on paper.
Led by a ferocious front seven on defense, head coach Ron Rivera looks to have his team in position to make a run at the NFC playoffs again this year.
To help bolster their inconsistent attack, the franchise signed veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Washington went through many different players under center last season, from disappointing rookie Dwayne Haskins, to inspiring but limited veteran Alex Smith, to the unproven but intriguing Taylor Heinicke.
The team is hoping that Fitzpatrick brings his magic to the nation’s capital, and is the missing piece for a team on the rise.
Since Fitzpatrick’s play, and perhaps more importantly his presence, will be critical to the fortunes of the team this season, we’ll take a look at whether the bearded one can start every single regular-season game in 2021.
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2021
Why Fitzpatrick Will Not Be Available Each Week
As thrilling as Fitzpatrick’s play and overall storyline can be at times, he’s been more of a flash in the pan type of player in recent years.
In three of the last five seasons, the former Harvard man has played in less than 10 regular-season games.
He had a frisky resurgence for the Miami Dolphins in 2019, playing in 15 games.
He also played in 14 games for the New York Jets in 2016, but that did not go too well for him.
Although there have been mitigating circumstances in recent seasons surrounding his playing time(Jameis Winston’s presence in Tampa, Tua Tagovailoa’s in Miami), Fitzpatrick has not done enough to be the clear-cut starter in the eyes of his last two coaching staffs.
As amazing of a phenomenon as he is, expecting Fitzpatrick to start every single regular-season game after not having done it since 2015 is an awful lot to ask.
Additionally, because he figures to be so important to Washington’s success this year, don’t be surprised if they hold him out for a game or two if he’s nursing a minor ailment.
Why Fitzpatrick Will Start Every Single Game For Washington
While the young quarterback “roadblock” has been in his way for his last few NFL stops, Fitzpatrick has done enough to make the general public wonder whether he was actually the best option.
As noted above, organizations may not have deemed him the unquestioned number one player, but those decisions were influenced by their predisposition to playing younger players.
Whether it was Geno Smith in New York, Winston in Tampa, or Tagovailoa in Miami, all three were at times overshadowed by the creativity and efficiency Fitzpatrick brought to the table.
Heinicke had a memorable playoff performance last year, but the organization did not invest a high draft pick on him.
This means that Fitzpatrick won’t have to constantly look over his shoulder wondering whether the future of the franchise will replace him.
This "First Day of School" pic of Ryan Fitzpatrick 😂 @ESPNNFL
— ESPN (@espn) June 8, 2021
Verdict: Fitzpatrick Has An Excellent Chance To Play All 17 Games
Even though the franchise did not commit to Fitzpatrick for a ton of money over many years, they have a lot invested in his success this year.
It’s unusual to see a 38-year-old journeyman quarterback serve as the potential missing piece to a team’s deep playoff run dreams, but that’s where Washington finds itself.
If the team does establish itself as the class of the NFC East early on, it’s unlikely they’ll run away with the division.
This means that Fitzpatrick will need to be under center each week to help keep them in contention.