Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the more well-traveled players in the NFL.
He is now a member of the Washington Football Team and the signing seemed to signal he would end up as the Week 1 starter.
Yet Taylor Heinicke showed off his skills last postseason and that put him in the starting conversation.
Alas, Ron Rivera has decided to make it official and roll with Fitzpatrick.
One important QB note: The Washington Football Team will start QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1 and going forward, I’m told. This has been obvious by the way the WFT preseason played out, though it was never announced. But it will be Fitz under center.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2021
The veteran did not play Sunday in Washington’s preseason finale, meaning he should be rested and ready to go in Week 1.
A Familiar Role
Fitzpatrick has become the most notable placeholder starting quarterback in the NFL.
He was most previously in Miami, only for the team to bench him in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, even though Fitzpatrick was the best option in 2020.’
He has started in Tampa Bay, New York, Houston, Tennessee, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and even St. Louis when they had a team.
In all that time since his debut in 2005 he has only made 16 starts in a single season on three occasions.
The latest was back in 2015 with the Jets.
Heinicke is not a former top pick, so Fitzpatrick is not exactly just holding down the fort in Washington until a young star is ready.
More Fitzmagic on the way? ✨
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 29, 2021
But he is still 38 years old so if he is not helping the team win early in the year, he will certainly be headed to the bench.
If Washington really has a bad year, expect them to target another young quarterback in 2022 after the Haskins experiment flamed out so fast.
Nothing To Lose
What are the expectations with Fitzpatrick in any given year?
He has never thrown for 4,000 yards in a season and his best record as a starter is 10-6.
Things would obviously be much different if he were plugged into an elite offense in the NFL.
But given his recent track record, Washington is likely hoping he can just provide competent quarterback play to compete in an NFC East division that has the potential to be weak once again.
A healthy Dak Prescott should make the Dallas Cowboys favorites, but the other problems on that team that emerged in 2020 remain major concerns.
So there really is nothing to lose when it comes to starting Fitzpatrick.
The team may be spooked after seeing a first-round pick be used on Haskins in 2019 and him already be gone in 2021.
Washington can roll with Fitzpatrick for a year and if he struggles, Heinicke can get a chance to shine.
What this decision prevents is the team essentially punting on the year by going with a rookie who will need time to develop.
Washington wants to win and Fitzpatrick could go out as a legend if he leads the Football Team to the postseason.