Ryan Fitzpatrick Named Starting Quarterback for Houston Texans

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Getty Images

The Houston Texans opted against selecting a quarterback early in the 2014 NFL draft, and they announced Tuesday that they have tabbed Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter for the upcoming season.

Mark Berman of MyFoxHouston.com reported the news:

The Texans signed Fitzpatrick this offseason prior to trading seven-year starter Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders.

Following the announcement, Fitzpatrick spoke about the opportunity (via Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle and Desmond Purnell of NFL Network):

Fitzpatrick also touched on Andre Johnson, who will be the quarterback's top target, assuming the wide receiver can work out his contract issues with the Texans (via James Palmer of CSN Houston):

Most assumed the Texans would draft a signal-caller in one of the first two rounds of the draft, particularly with a new head coach on board in Bill O'Brien, but the organization went in a different direction.

Houston waited until the fourth round to draft Tom Savage out of the University of Pittsburgh, and O'Brien decided to go with the experience of Fitzpatrick to start the 2014 season, per ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli:

In addition to Savage, Fitzpatrick beat out incumbent roster members Case Keenum and T.J. Yates, both of whom have served as starters for the Texans at various points over the past few seasons.

Although Fitzpatrick clearly has more NFL games under his belt than the rest of his competition, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport didn't expect the announcement:

Fitzpatrick has been an NFL starter for the better part of the past six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. He started 53 games over four seasons with the Bills and racked up 3,832 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011. In 2012, he passed for 3,400 yards and another 24 touchdowns.

However, Buffalo decided to go in a different direction by drafting EJ Manuel last year, which sent Fitzpatrick to Tennessee. Injuries to Titans starter Jake Locker forced Fitzpatrick into action, and he proceeded to turn in some up-and-down performances.

The 31-year-old Harvard graduate is a competent quarterback who has shown flashes over the years, but he isn't a long-term answer by any means. With that said, he is almost certainly the best option on Houston's roster.

The Texans decided to build talent at other positions by selecting pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, and they have set themselves up to potentially take a quarterback early next year.

Fitzpatrick should be a solid caretaker until then and could even help Houston contend for a playoff spot if the pieces around him excel.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter