Ryan Fitzpatrick has been employed by over a quarter of the NFL teams in his 17-year career, continuing to defy the odds as the veteran quarterback approaches his 40s. But Fitzpatrick appears to be getting better with age, as his passer rating has been 91.8 during the past three seasons -- much higher than his career mark of 82.3.
Why is Fitzpatrick always finding success this late in his career, earning starting jobs and performing at a high level for each team he's employed by? He's just used to the change of address.
"There are certain things that maybe it is easier for me to switch teams than it is for other guys just because I have done it so many times and have been through the process," Fitzpatrick said on a conference call at Washington minicamp this week. "One of the things that I have done as my career has gone on, this goes for making a play or making a read in a game, but it also goes for switching teams and being in a new place. Just trying to eliminate as much noise as possible. Trying to make sure I know the things that I need to focus on and know the things that I need to get better at and get on the same page with guys about."
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That strategy has worked for Fitzpatrick over the past three years, as he's completed 64.83% of his passes for 7,986 yards for 50 touchdowns to 33 interceptions in 32 games. Fitzpatrick's teams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins) are 11-14 in his 25 starts as he's challenged Jameis Winston and Tua Tagovailoa for starting jobs.
This time, Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned starter in Washington. A different job, but the same approach as he shares the secret to success with his new team.
"Putting some of that other stuff on the back-burner because it is not as important," Fitzpatrick said. "Just my relationship with [offensive coordinator] Scott Turner. Standing next to him at practice and talking, whether it is my plays or someone else's and the thought process that goes into it. Just hearing his voice coming through the helmet and saying hey, I would love a reminder on this or on this one. ... Just working on that rapport.
"Those are things you try and look for as you get to new teams and those are really important to me in these offseason sessions."