Washington Football Team will have a new starting quarterback for the 2021 NFL season. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, head coach Ron Rivera has decided to go with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team’s starter in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers instead of Taylor Heinicke.
Washington signed Fitzpatrick to a one-year, $10 million deal after Alex Smith, their starting quarterback last year, retired in the offseason. Fitzpatrick was coming off a two-season stint with the Miami Dolphins, making a total of 20 starts during that span.
Fitzpatrick heads to Washington after solid season with Miami
Fitzpatrick began last season as Miami’s starter, and he got off to an excellent start in his first six outings, recording three 300-yard passing games and making multiple touchdowns in four of those games to lead the Dolphins to a 3-3 record.
Despite his outstanding play, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores decided to hand over the starting quarterback position to prized rookie Tua Tagovailoa. However, the Tua experiment didn’t set the world alight, and Flores decided to go back with Fitzpatrick as his quarterback a couple of times.
Fitzpatrick even started and won a game for the Dolphins in November against the New York Jets when Tagovailoa was injured. Fitzpatrick knew that his time with Miami was up with Tagovailoa, the preferred starter of the Dolphins for the 2021 season. He decided then to take his talents to Washington and continue his NFL career there.
That proved to be a wise decision with Fitzpatrick getting QB1 status in Washington, the ninth NFL team in the 38-year-old’s career where he will be starting a regular-season game. Fitzpatrick has a total of 223 touchdown passes in his career, good for 35th on the NFL all-time list.
Fitzpatrick, however, has never led a team to the playoffs in his career, compiling a record of just 59-86-1 as a starter. The pressure is on Fitzpatrick to finally get to the postseason this year as Washington reached that stage last season despite having an abysmal 7-9 record.
Heinicke loses out in QB battle
That slate was enough to win a woeful NFC East division last season, with Washington earning a playoff date with eventual Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card Round. Taylor Heinicke made a name for himself in that game, completing 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards with one touchdown and one interception and rushing for 46 yards and a score.
Heinicke and Washington may have lost that contest, but he won himself a new contract with that performance, landing a two-year contract worth $4.75 million this past offseason. Fitzpatrick may be the starter right now but don’t count out Heinicke from making an appearance for Washington this coming season if “Fitzmagic” fizzles out.
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