Fitzmagic should have a career season in D.C.
By: Jake Rajala
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is also known as the Gandalf of quarterbacks, is lacing his cleats for his 16th Week 1 appearance in the NFL. “Fitzmagic” is arguably now being given the best opportunity to show he can be a quality starting QB on a competitive team in the entirety of his career. I believe that the bearded veteran QB will do career wonders and complement his ferocious defense very well. Here is why the journeyman QB and fan-favorite can lead his team to glory and put a pin on the divisional hopes of the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the prized Dallas Cowboys.
- WR Terry McLaurin
Ryan Fitzpatrick has had the pleasure of being a QB in an offense with Mike Evans, but his new WR in Washington will be the best weapon he’s had yet. For starters, he’s not living and dying by the sword with a WR1, whereas he was in Tampa with Bruce Arian’s vertical, passing attack. He will not only be allowed to be more conservative with his top WR, but his top WR matches his own skillset quite well.
McLaurin’s gift is his deep speed and ability to torch defenses on the backend. Mike Evans and the former Texans great WR Andre Johnson were big body, big-play WRs, but they didn’t have 4.31 speed like McLaurin. Fitzmagic truly can stretch the field and he showed that last season as he was ranked sixth in the league in YPA. The former Dolphins QB also had highlight-reel plays that showed off his arm strength and talent (see below).
McLaurin suffered from playing with the ultra game manager in Alex Smith last season, but he should be back to scorching secondaries in 2020. The 15.8 YPC tally held by Mclaurin in the 2019 season with Case Keenum as the QB should be eclipsed this season with the exciting Fitzmagic as the signal-caller this season.
- The best defense he’s yielded
Fitzmagic may undeservedly get the recognition of a “plug and play QB”, but he truly can take care of the football AND be efficient at the same time. Fitzpatrick hasn’t been awarded a starting gig on a team over the past several seasons that could offer weapons on offense, play above average on defense, and not have to ask him to play lights out at the QB position. For example, in the past several years, he’s played two years for the New York Jets, two years for the once atrocious Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and two years for a mostly struggling Dolphins squad. The Jets were steamrolled in most of their matchups and the Buccaneers had Winston throwing the ball nonstop and learning less while doing it. However, he did play one season with a quality offensive system and defense to compliment him.
When he played with the Texans in 2014, the Texans had the seventh-best scoring defense. Fitzpatrick clocked 17 passing touchdowns to eight interceptions while recording the third-best single season QBR in his career that season. To no surprise, the sharp Texans QB with a talented supporting cast helped his team have the second best takeaway/giveaway ratio in the league. Fitzmagic helped unveil the Texans unveil their best takeaway/giveaway ratio in the “last twenty years”.
Fitzpatrick is finally in an offense where he will have numerous Pro Bowl-caliber players, a coach that hasn’t a young QB breathing down his neck, and a scary defense to allow the veteran QB to play his methodical, splash play, style of game. The best thing going for Fitzpatrick is not just that his defense is good, but his defense is VERY good. The Washington Football Team essentially rode on the backs of the team’s defense into the postseason last year, particularly on the front seven led by 2020 Defensive Rookie of The Year Chase Young. Despite having undrafted QB Taylor Heinicke at QB, this team gave Tom Brady a fight in the wildcard matchup up until the fourth quarter.
I’m not saying the Washington defense can edge out TB12 or Aaron Rodgers by themselves, but if they have a bit more juice at QB, they ought to be able to be real playoff contenders. In the past six Super Bowls, we’ve witnessed very intense defenses with reliable QBs make it to the dance four times. The Broncos garnered a ring with Brock Osweiler at QB, the 49ers play with Jimmy Garopollo at QB, the Rams compete with Jared Goff at QB, and the Eagles win big with Nick Foles calling the shots. Fitzpatrick is a well capable QB who has finally earned himself the golden situation. Expect impressive personal feats to be claimed by the legendary QB and postseason advances to occur in Rivera’s second year leading the hungry team.