Aug 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Bill O’Brien has decided that Sunday’s desert disaster was not indicative of what to expect from Ryan Fitzpatrick and has named him the preseason game 2 starter. When asked if Fitzpatrick is locked in as the starter, O’Briens answer was simple; “Yes”. Case Keenum and Tom Savage are still battling for the back up position. Let’s break this down shall we?
The first team offensive line wasn’t just okay it was pretty solid. There were six man blitzes that the line picked up, Fitzpatrick wasn’t under any heavy pressure for most of his time out there. The play he scrambled on was caused by the good protection rather then it breaking down and forcing the run. A hole opened up that he had to take. It happens, and was a good choice.
However, he had an entire half to get one solid drive and score points. He didn’t just fail, he failed in a way all too familiar to Bills and even Titan fans. He made you think he had it in hand only to force a dumb throw into the waiting hands of the opposing team. I understand, O’Brien is sticking to his guns. He’s got time left to make changes. I can respect that. However, history is heavily against him here. Fitzpatrick might be the smartest tested quarterback in the history of football, that doesn’t change the fact he has a near 1:1 int to TD ratio. No amount of scheming or coaching is going to change this reality.
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The Atlanta Falcons will be in NRG Stadium for the next phase of preseason preparations. In fact the two teams are holding joint practices. This is an enormous benefit to both teams, and I always have felt such joint endeavors are worth the time. If Fitzpatrick comes out flat, or worse starts tossing the ball in to the hands of Falcons expect the fans in attendance let their feelings be heard. Savage might yet be the answer, we don’t know much about him. He took a couple of sacks in his brief appearance. It was first time jitters to be sure. However, this is Houston and UH product Case Keenum is on tap. Yes, he failed to win last season, showed some regression. The deck was stacked against him, a team that had quit, a head coach in total panic mode, no run support. People want to see him get a redemption chance. O’Brien will have a tough sell to fans keeping Fitzpatrick out there. That is if Fitzpatrick plays to his normal standards let alone another off night.
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*Quotes provided courtesy of the Houston Texans PR Department