The sound you hear is the well-oiled cogs of the quarterback carousel in Washington. A whirlgig that has continued to circulate for the last 20 seasons, its apparent end seems to be nowhere in sight with Ryan Fitzpatrick set to lead the burgundy and gold into their forthcoming campaign.
Via nine teams in the past 16 seasons, Fitzpatrick enters his newest franchise with expectations aplenty stemming from a vibrant, youth-infused defense and a slew of star-studded talents throughout the offense. While the Patrick Ramseys, Rex Grossmans, Mark Sanchezs, and Josh Johnsons of the organization’s past shed light to the seasons enjoyed by Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and most recently, Alex Smith, there hasn’t been a quarterback presence in the nation’s capital to enjoy any sort of elongated tenure since Mark Rypien led the charge to the team’s third Lombardi trophy in the early 90s.
A journeyman, to say the least, Fitzpatrick, whether he outplays expectation or falters below the line of satisfaction, could have his future already set in stone. While Ron Rivera and Washington brass would surely like to have their future under center in town, the never gun-shy former Harvard graduate could welcome success to D.C. the organization hasn’t enjoyed in years. Without a playoff win since their 2006 wild-card victory over Tampa Bay, Washington is a dangerous ball club with Fitzpatrick at the helm. Despite accruing more than 5,050 attempts in his professional career, not one has come in the postseason. And although most of his career stops have placed him in locations desperate for talent on both sides of the football, Washington’s roster around the grizzled veteran signal-caller has slotted the 38-year old in arguably the most opportune spot he’s been in his dynamic career.
Following Smith’s retirement, Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen became the immediate 1-2 option for Rivera prior to the signing of Fitzpatrick during free agency. While Heinicke showed explosiveness and intriguing dual-threat ability in Washington’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last January, his performance developed into more of just a flash in the pan than a consistent level of production Rivera could expect. Heinicke failed to replicate his wild-card heroics during this summer’s slate of preseason games, leading to Fitzpatrick’s anointment as the team’s QB1 just days ago.
Despite rumors following the New England Patriots’ release of Cam Newton—obvious ties to Ron Rivera linked Newton to Washington—the second-year head coach in D.C. shot down any chance of a reunion with his former MVP quarterback.
“It did pop on our radar, but just so you know, Ryan Fitzpatrick is our starting quarterback,” Rivera announced Wednesday. “So that’s where we are. We have three guys we like that all came to camp, did a nice job for us, and we’re going to go forward with those guys.”
Confidence and trust can carry a massive amount of weight between a head coach and a quarterback. With years of experience in the NFL landscape between the both of them, a tight-knit relationship between the two could progress into something special for Washington if all comes to fruition. With plenty of insurance if Heinicke and Allen had to suit up for a week or two, the embarrassing rotation of quarterbacks used each and every season in D.C. looks to have hit a stopping point, for now. As much as it is Rivera’s unit, it’s Fitzpatrick’s team to lead, and there’s no one that’s going to get in the way of Rivera’s ideals of earning his second consecutive division title.
This is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s football team.
- Dec 05, 2022
- Dec 05, 2022