Though he will probably not end up being immortalized in Canton, Ryan Fitzpatrick would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer if there was a category for "unusual careers." The former Harvard quarterback has played for 28% of the teams in the league. He's 30th all-time in career passing yards, ahead of Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Kurt Warner, and Steve Young, to name a few. His hot streaks have a name: "Fitzmagic." His cold streaks, however, have resulted in him moving cities with the frequency of an airline pilot.
Fitzpatrick's engaging personality has always been part of his aura (in 2019, he attributed his offseason weight gain to having to eat multiple family birthday cakes) and it has been on full-display in Washington, his ninth NFL team. This week alone, Fitzpatrick went viral multiple times, first by taking part in the team's "grade school" social media post.
And a day later, embracing a cicada who found a temporary home inside his incredible beard.
It's clear that Fitzpatrick is already having a good time in Washington, but the quarterback's fun-loving spirit belies a competitive athlete who has found a way to carve out a lengthy and successful career. With the Football Team, Fitzpatrick is looking to add his skillset to a group that is looking to build off of last season's NFC East title.
"I think he's ultra-competitive and I think that's what we're seeing when we watch his career get better as it goes on," Washington quarterbacks coach coach Ken Zampese said this week. "He's such a unique look and a unique character and his delivery is dry as can be and he just drops these one-liners and bombs on guys and they don't even know what happened. He's got a great deal of swag for such a, I don't know what you say about the exterior, I love him. He's authentic through all of it which is the important part. He's got a lot to give, he's got a lot of experiences."
"Fitz is great," Washington receiver Terry McLaurin said last week. "The first thing that struck me about him is just that he has a [really] cool, calm demeanor about him. When he's in the huddle, it's just really collected."
In Fitzpatrick, Washington is getting a 38-year-old quarterback who is coming off of a season that saw him complete a career-high 68.5% of his passes. They're also getting a player who is not afraid to take chances down the field, a skillset that will open up an offense that finished just 25th in the league in passing in 2020. Fitzpatrick is looking to make the most of Washington's skill players, a group that includes McLaurin, newcomer Curtis Samuel, Cam Sims, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic.
"It's diverse," Fitzpatrick said of Washington's skill players, via NFL.com. "We've got big guys, we've got small guys. We've got super quick guys. We've got a lot of speed, guys who can go up and get the ball."
While they had their moments, Washington's offense played second-fiddle to its defense in 2020. And while Washington's defense will likely continue to be the strength of the team, the gap between the two units should be significantly smaller in 2021. That could result in good things for Washington, a franchise that is looking to win its first postseason game since 2005.
"I don't want to create any expectations," Washington coach Ron Rivera recently said. "Other than the fact that we expect our team to go out and win."