Texans Name Ryan Fitzpatrick Starting QB
Chron.com – Ryan Fitzpatrick came to Houston wanting one more shot.
Bill O’Brien needed an intelligent, veteran quarterback to guide a new, complex offense.
The 10-year QB and first-year coach were officially bonded Tuesday, when O’Brien named Fitzpatrick the Texans’ starting quarterback.
O’Brien informed the Texans during an 8 a.m. meeting Fitzpatrick beat out Case Keenum, T.J. Yates and rookie Tom Savage for the job.
O’Brien said a competition that began as “wide open” at the start of OTAs was clearly won by Fitzpatrick, who’ll enter training camp as the starter and receive the majority of repetitions.
“He definitely earned it,” O’Brien said at NRG Stadium. “He earned it with his preparation. He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage.”
Fitzpatrick, 31, was handpicked by O’Brien this offseason, as the Texans moved on from former starter Matt Schaub, who was traded to Oakland after a disastrous 2013 season.
Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round pick of the 2005 NFL draft, will be asked to manage games in 2014, minimizing mistakes while relying on star running back Arian Foster and running a spread-type offense that prizes crossing routes, tight ends and backfield passes.
“This is going to be a really fun system to play in,” Fitzpatrick said. “The guys have really bought into what we’re trying to do. As long as we continue to do that, continue to try to reach that level of perfection – which we’re very far from right now – and strive for that everyday, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Fitzpatrick spent 2013 with Tennessee after four seasons in Buffalo. He’s completed 59.8 percent of his career passes for 106 touchdowns and 93 interceptions.
Quarterbacks coach George Godsey and O’Brien have acknowledged Fitzpatrick must cut down on his turnovers for the Texans to be successful this season.
“All the great players we have on our side of the ball make my job a lot easier, in terms of … watching playmakers make plays,” said Fitzpatrick, who added he has an “easy” job if the offense is consistently placed in the right situation.
In 2005, Fitzpatrick was a St. Louis rookie and initially the fourth quarterback in a three-QB system. In 2014, a 6-foot-2, 223-pound veteran on his fourth team in 10 seasons is O’Brien’s first NFL starting quarterback.
“Personally for me, this is kind of where I wanted to be,” Fitzpatrick said. “I wanted another shot at it. I wanted another chance to be the guy. This is about so much more than me, in terms of all the different things we’re trying to do.”
The veteran could enter training camp in late July without his best offensive option. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is at odds with the rebuilding team and didn’t attend Tuesday’s no-contact practice, which was the first of three mandatory minicamp workouts. Fitzpatrick acknowledged he doesn’t know Johnson well, but the QB said he’s made progress with the receivers who’ve been in uniform during the last month.
“He’s obviously a great receiver and his play certainly speaks for itself in terms of what he’s done,” said Fitzpatrick, referring to Johnson.
Savage, Keenum and Yates are still battling for the No. 2 position. The Texans are expected to carry three quarterbacks into training camp. O’Brien is unsure whether the team will release either Keenum or Yates this week.