Report: Ryan Fitzpatrick Named WFT Starting QB over Taylor Heinicke for Week 1

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2021

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 28: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Washington Football Team looks on from the sidelines during the first half of the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on August 28, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Washington Football Team has reportedly decided to enter the 2021 regular season with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as its starting quarterback.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that while Washington hasn't officially announced its starter, Fitzpatrick won the competition over Taylor Heinicke.

Washington will be the ninth team the 38-year-old Fitzpatrick has started a regular-season game for during his NFL career.

Washington was in the market for a veteran quarterback after last year's starter, Alex Smith, retired this offseason. That resulted in the WFT signing FitzMagic to a one-year, $10 million contract.

Fitzpatrick spent the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, starting 20 games during that span. He began last season as the starter and played well out of the gate, going 3-3 with three 300-yard passing games and four games with multiple touchdown passes.

Despite that, head coach Brian Flores benched him in favor of rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa.

While Tua had his moments, he struggled through some growing pains as well, leading Flores to bench him and turn to Fitzpatrick on a couple of occasions. Fitz also started and won a game against the New York Jets in November with Tagovailoa out injured.

Since Miami seemingly wanted to go with Tagovailoa as its unquestioned starter, Fitzpatrick moved on to greener pastures in Washington.

Although Washington went just 7-9 last season, it won the historically bad NFC East and gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers a run for their money in the NFC Wild Card Round.

Heinicke started that playoff game, going 26-of-44 for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception while also rushing for 46 yards and a score.

That spunky performance earned Heinicke a new contract with Washington, but head coach Ron Rivera has reportedly decided to go with the veteran presence in Fitzpatrick.

Although Fitzpatrick only has a career record of 59-86-1 as a starter and has never led a team to the playoffs, his 223 career touchdown passes are 35th on the NFL all-time list.

Washington will largely live and die by its talented defense and running game led by Antonio Gibson, meaning Fitzpatrick won't necessarily be relied upon to light up the scoreboard.

Washington reached the playoffs last season with terrible quarterback play, so if Fitz can offer even the slightest improvement in that area, the WFT could be a threat in the NFC in 2021.

Fitzpatrick and the Washington Football Team will open regular-season play Sept. 12 when they host the Los Angeles Chargers.