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O’Brien names Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback in Houston


New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt opted to cut Ryan Fitzpatrick in lieu of paying him the reasonable sum of $3.25 million for 2014.  New Texans coach Bill O’Brien has embraced Fitzpatrick the team’s new starter.

Via multiple reports, O’Brien has named Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback in Houston.  Cut in early 2013 by the Bills after getting a long-term deal in 2011 and dumped this year by Tennessee, Fitzpatrick is on track to start a game for his fifth franchise.

As a rookie in 2005, Fitzpatrick started three times for the Rams.  In 2008, when Carson Palmer was dealing with elbow issues, Fitzpatrick made 13 starts in Cincinnati.  He started 53 games for Buffalo from 2009 through 2012, and nine last year with the Titans.

The decision means that Fitzpatrick won’t lose reps to a “competition” with Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, or Case Keenum.  Still, it’s hard not to imagine O’Brien flipping the switch to Savage if/when Fitzpatrick struggles.

The move likely won’t do much (if anything) to change receiver Andre Johnson’s position.  He’s holding out not for a new contract but a new team.  And he likely won’t be impressed with the team’s new starting quarterback.

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90 Responses to “O’Brien names Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback in Houston”
  1. swortybounce says: Jun 17, 2014 2:07 PM

    Other than giving Fitz a little confidence, i’m not sure what declaring him starter before camp opens does?

  2. jokick2 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:08 PM


  3. branbeezy says: Jun 17, 2014 2:09 PM


  4. ctiggs says: Jun 17, 2014 2:09 PM

    Its hard to wipe away the tears of laughter at Houstons QBs #thankgodforKAP #Nobodyhasitbetter

  5. nyyjetsknicks says: Jun 17, 2014 2:10 PM

    Pretty crappy way to find out I didn’t get the job.

  6. officialgame says: Jun 17, 2014 2:11 PM

    It’s like getting a participation trophy in 4 year old T Ball league,

  7. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 17, 2014 2:13 PM

    And he’s making even less money than he was slated to make with the Titans. So I guess that means there should be plenty of money available for Andre Johnson since they aren’t spending any money on QBs.

  8. iceburgskin202 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:14 PM

    I understand Johnson now!!!

  9. thepftpoet says: Jun 17, 2014 2:15 PM

    Poor Texans.

    If Teddy Bridgewater would have fallen one more spot, they would have actually had a solid future.

    Now they have nothing.

    Just nothing.

  10. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 17, 2014 2:15 PM

    Fitz is becoming Jeremiah Johnson, part myth, part man.

  11. coltzfan166 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:15 PM

    Texans will surely draft a QB in 2015 when they see how this disaster ends up.

  12. denverwally says: Jun 17, 2014 2:15 PM


  13. niftyplifty says: Jun 17, 2014 2:17 PM

    Please SEA trade for Johnson

  14. kaprajan says: Jun 17, 2014 2:17 PM

    Andre Johnson just threw his phone against the wall when he got this ESPN alert

  15. texansfalcons says: Jun 17, 2014 2:17 PM

    Well that’s just great. If we’re lucky, he might lead us to an 8-8 season.

  16. wvuandsteelers says: Jun 17, 2014 2:17 PM

    Can’t say that I blame Andre Johnson. How can the Texans owner look at his fans and claim they are trying to put the best team on the field with this guy at QB?

  17. 12444uggg says: Jun 17, 2014 2:18 PM

    Get excited Houston.. lol

  18. jjrs89 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:18 PM

    I saw this dude in target in nashville. His beard was glorious. Long live the amish rifle

  19. jackn2482 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:19 PM

    I’d want out too.

  20. avbanig33 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:19 PM

    This must suck for Houston fans.

    As for Andre, he’s going to want to go to a team that’s contending for a championship and could use a #1 type WR.

    Teams I’m thinking of:

    New England

  21. brian55906 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:22 PM

    As a Buffalo Bills fan……… I can feel the Texans’ fans pain right now. :o(

  22. flaccoishermanmunster says: Jun 17, 2014 2:24 PM

    i never understood why any team needs to “announce” a starter at any position

  23. patriottony says: Jun 17, 2014 2:26 PM

    ANDRE CAN YOU HEAR ME???? TOM BRADY has your number on speed dial,,,do you think you can get that ring? NEW ENGLAND and Tom Brady will get it for you!!!!

  24. billsbackto81 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:29 PM

    And once again!!!!

    With the 1st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft,

    The Houston Texans select………

    LOL! Feel bad for Andre Johnson

  25. rabbi187 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:30 PM

    Houston statistically had the 11th best offense and 8th best defense in the league last season. They are replacing the NFC West and AFC West (unarguably the toughest 2 divisions) with the NFC East and AFC North (arguably the worst 2 divisions). If they can just get average QB play next season, avoid major injuries (ie Cushing and Foster), and Andre mans up and honors his ridiculously big contract, there’s no reason to think they can’t go 8-8 or 9-7 and fight for a playoff spot.

  26. twilson962 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:30 PM

    So uh, they are the front runners for Jameis Winston already.

  27. billsfan says: Jun 17, 2014 2:32 PM

    Good news for Texans fans….well, those sitting in the first couple rows of NRG Stadium. Free footballs!

    They don’t call Fitz “deadeye” for nothing.

  28. uglydingo says: Jun 17, 2014 2:32 PM

    Houston had multiple opportunities to either draft or recruit a more dynamic QB prospect and elected to roll the dice with Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t want to hear any Texan fans complaining about not having a QB. Clearly they prioritized elsewhere when given the chance to get Jadaveon Clowney.

  29. bbbmf says: Jun 17, 2014 2:33 PM

    And folks wonder what Dre is protesting…

  30. briscocountyjr says: Jun 17, 2014 2:34 PM


  31. tvjules says: Jun 17, 2014 2:35 PM

    Selecting first in the 2015… the Houston Texans.

  32. eustus says: Jun 17, 2014 2:36 PM

    Fitzpatrick is a coach killer. He plays just well enough, just often enough, to get you fired.

  33. jpaq68 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:37 PM

    The PickMaster is back!!!!!

  34. blacknole08 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:37 PM

    I would have given the job to Keenum in all honesty, then eventually transition to Savage.

  35. scrotiemcb says: Jun 17, 2014 2:40 PM

    Fitzpatrick has always been on terrible teams. The Texans aren’t terrible. He could very well have one of those Gannonesque rebirths and terrorize the AFC for a few years.

    In fact, I’m glad my team isn’t in the AFC S, because Houston will run away with it if they can stay healthy.

    I can easily see the Texans in the AFC Championship game. Easily.

  36. yate3097 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:40 PM

    He doesn’t seem like an upgrade over Schaub.

  37. mcgibblets2012 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:42 PM

    I love how the article states that Johnson is looking for another team, not another contract like it’s a fact. Just dumb.

    And Houston is being smart. Fitz is a low priced placeholder who will not throw too many picks until they decide if they have something in Keenum/Savage. Next year is when they will likely trade up the farm to grab their QB in the 1st. They didn’t believe in the QBs this year and I don’t blame them.

  38. scoonie97 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:43 PM

    That pretty much guarantees a win in week 1 vs Washington. He owns them. Just don’t give him a ridiculous contract like Buffalo did following the last time he faced Washington.

  39. bobzilla1001 says: Jun 17, 2014 2:48 PM

    With the defense the Texans are assembling, Tim Tebow could be their starting QB. Fitzpatrick, when in Buffalo, was supported by one of the worst defenses in league history. The defensive coordinator was Dave Wanstedt. That’s all anyone really needs to know.

  40. thetruthcampaign says: Jun 17, 2014 2:48 PM

    OMG. Wow. I don’t even have a joke for this. This is too good.

  41. shayeezy says: Jun 17, 2014 2:51 PM

    brutal start for o’brien and company. not making QB a priority in today’s NFL is pure lunacy.

  42. purpleguy says: Jun 17, 2014 2:52 PM

    His helmet doesn’t fit very well.

  43. dvdman123 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:02 PM

    Andre Johnson is 32 years old and has not been the healthiest player in the NFL lately……..has anyone reminded him of that recemtly? He should be glad in this day and age of pro football someone still wants him.

  44. cpitch12 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:02 PM

    Just get rid of Yates and Keenam now Billy and take Mallet and a third rounder for Johnson.All my love Billy Bellichick

  45. shayeezy says: Jun 17, 2014 3:02 PM

    “Fitz is a low priced placeholder who will not throw too many picks”


    76 picks in the 66 games since he took over as a starter in buffalo.

  46. TheDPR says: Jun 17, 2014 3:08 PM

    I don’t get why people are saying they didn’t draft a QB when they did. This year’s QB draft class was pretty bad and they managed to end up with a good prospect in Tom Savage.

    Yeah, you hate for the vets like Foster and Johnson to have to put up with a journeyman or a rookie prospect at QB AND a rookie NFL head coach at the same time but that’s the NFL. Not everyone on the field can be veterans or stars, and sometimes an owner reaches a bit for a new coach.

  47. squashstroup says: Jun 17, 2014 3:09 PM

    Fitzpatrick is a good QB certainly the best one on Houston’s roster. Non Texan fans can rip him all they want but, the playbook won’t need to be cut down like it will need to be for savage. 2:1 he will be the starter next year too because the team will do well enough that there will not be a franchise quarterback where they draft.

  48. 6ball says: Jun 17, 2014 3:12 PM

    In a ball control, shorten the game style of offense Fitzpatrick could be effective. No shootouts!

    Houston appeared to get burned twice in the draft. First, when the Vikings traded up for Bridgewater one pick ahead of them. In the next round the Patriots unexpectedly chose Garopollo prior to the Texans choice.


  49. billsmafiaordie says: Jun 17, 2014 3:27 PM

    As a Bills fan I can tell you that the single most frustrating thing about Fitz is his deep ball. Watching him miss wide open receivers, for chunks of yards, numerous times a game was very paintful..Great backup and game manager if needed, but starter? Tom Savage better be reading his playbook.

  50. gromit45 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:33 PM

    So the Texans are declaring to the rest of the league that they’re aiming to pick #1 again.

  51. politicallyincorrect says: Jun 17, 2014 3:35 PM

    not real high on O’Brien… only guy that would take the PedState job, did well but that was college

  52. casurferho says: Jun 17, 2014 3:37 PM

    Fitz is not bad, on a solid team, there are worse options, they should trade next years first rounder for ponder!!

  53. Bruce G. Owens Jr says: Jun 17, 2014 3:39 PM

    I need to join the concussion lawsuit. I just laughed so hard I feel out of my chair and hit my head.

  54. tennesseetitan78 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:40 PM


  55. thingamajig says: Jun 17, 2014 3:44 PM

    If you’re not good enough to play QB for Whiz, just who can you play QB for? CFL? Arena League?

  56. tennesseetitan78 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:46 PM

    There were so many times last yr when Fitz was leading a “come back” to potentially win the game for the Titans to right there at the end of the game throw a damn INT to end it for us. He has a big arm but his only down fall is he is a risk taker, in return throws a lot of picks!! But u can’t help to not like the beard!!!

  57. tennesseeoilers says: Jun 17, 2014 3:49 PM

    As a Titans fan, I was encouraged to hear Fitzpatrick was coming on board to back up Jake Locker. But when Locker went down and Fitz took over for half the season? … Wow … that was one extremely rough ride, folks.

  58. Billsweregreatonce says: Jun 17, 2014 3:56 PM

    So sorry Texans Fans, so sorry. Hand me downs suck………..

  59. v2787 says: Jun 17, 2014 3:56 PM

    You can pencil in Houston for last place in their division if Fitzpatrick is their starter. Wait and see.

  60. ubepunkedagain says: Jun 17, 2014 3:59 PM

    It could be worse..they could have Brandon Weeden or Teddy Bridgewater.

  61. 1billsnation says: Jun 17, 2014 4:02 PM

    Sorry Texans fans. I have witnessed first hand the tragedy that is Ryan Fitzpatrick. He will have some decent games, dare I say really good games, but God forbid the game be in his hands in the last few minutes. He is the definition of a choke artist.

  62. icallbs81 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:05 PM

    What is so great about Savage, that he should be the 2nd string qb? This is a guy who took his ball and went home twice while in college. Seems like a character flaw to me.

  63. fordmandalay says: Jun 17, 2014 4:07 PM

    Is Fitz carrying a spare football inside that helmet?

  64. skinsfan91 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:10 PM

    Has a backup QB ever received the amount of starts as the Fitzster?

  65. unclebluck says: Jun 17, 2014 4:11 PM

    As a Bills fan I disagree with others on this thread. Fitz is without a doubt one of the brightest guys in the NFL with a strong arm. Should he actually get the time needed to complete a throw (something he saw rarely in Buffalo) he will execute. He is also pretty quick on his feet. His long balls were questionable but again that was something he threw rarely in Buff and usually under intense pressure…He’s Huston’s best bet right now and definitely better than Shaub…..

  66. bobzilla1001 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:17 PM

    Since the Bills got a new coach and ran Fitzpatrick out of town, they have really improved beyond belief (wink, wink).

  67. bluenose1965 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:36 PM

    Fitzpatrick will do fine in the Texans offense. Foster is back and healthy and the offensive line should be much improved.

    Texans defense should be the strength of the team, so while i’m not ready to predict play-offs, they shouldn’t be far off of 8-8, 9-7.

    For those other team fans busting chops, on day one of the new season, he’ll be the 2nd best QB in the division.

  68. nouhoh64 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:38 PM

    The majority of the comments here crack me up. Who knows what team is going to do what this year? Last year Texans were a Super Bowl contender..went 2-14..Who saw that coming? Check back in December 2014 to see who has the number 1 pick in the draft…could be your team.

  69. 1oldpro says: Jun 17, 2014 4:47 PM

    He named Derek Newton the starting RT a few days ago, so this Fitzpatrick announcement is sort of like the QB’s obituary.

  70. eaglesnoles05 says: Jun 17, 2014 4:48 PM

    With the 1st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select 2 time national champ and 2 time heisman winner QB Jameis Winston, FSU.

  71. dickshotdogs says: Jun 17, 2014 4:49 PM

    He’ll be benched by the third preseason game, and Mallett will arrive the next day.

  72. texansdude says: Jun 17, 2014 4:53 PM

    Oh. Boy. Super Bowl. Here we come.

  73. mackcarrington says: Jun 17, 2014 4:55 PM

    I find it hilarious that Bills fans are still lamenting the decision to release Fitzpatrick. They actually think he is on a par with Jim Kelly.
    So what, if he went to Harvard? What does that have to do with his accuracy? It will be a major victory if he finishes the season as a starter.

  74. sopadegato says: Jun 17, 2014 5:03 PM

    Yes, there were those of us complaining when they kept drafting guys over QB. I’ve been doing it for three years now.

    Jadeveon Clowney is just another overhyped blowhard that will be a fail-or-bail, just like Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, Jason Babin, and Sam Montgomery. JJ Watt is the outlier.

    No team in the NFL devalues the QB position like Houston does. Why? Because they failed once with Carr, and will never, ever draft a QB in rounds 1-3 again because of it.

  75. nite2al says: Jun 17, 2014 5:12 PM

    This guy must have the same agent as Matt Flynn.

  76. suchmb1 says: Jun 17, 2014 5:47 PM

    I am not sure if I like this coach at all. Anyone with a hole in his chin–cannot be all there. Our draft was questioned by sports guys, fans, team mates. I do believe our defense is better. I still say Clowney will be a BUST. Did not take any quality quarterback at all. Fitzpatrick is a joke–no other coach would get rid of a good QB, even and back-up QB. Schaub was better than Fitz. Pick 6 will be our moto again. This year 2-14 again, if we are lucky 4-12 at the best. As for as Johnson–trade him to the Pittsburgh and let him freeze his ass off in the winter, playing all those games outside. We need no more negative. Disappointed in our owner. Must be using the team as a bad tax write off. I like Case Keenum–if he was at the New England Pats–he would already be ready to step in. Watched that kid play for 5 years at Houston. Use him the right way and he becomes a super star. Remember Tom Brady was a 6th rounder. Look what he has done. Come on Houston please do not mess up this season. They must have another QB in college for the 2015 pic. We will be first pic again I am sure.

  77. edavidberg says: Jun 17, 2014 5:48 PM

    Oh man that’s not good news for Texans fans.

  78. chargrz says: Jun 17, 2014 5:55 PM

    Gonna be a long season in Texas.

  79. sportsfan18 says: Jun 17, 2014 5:58 PM

    Schaub is better than Fitz at QB…

    and it really isn’t even close… at all.

  80. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Jun 17, 2014 6:01 PM

    Fitzpatrick gives you cause for concern when playing against him unless he doesn’t…

    He has flashes of brilliance followed by being unable to close a game out.

    Good luck with that Texans esp if Andre Johnson doesn’t return..

  81. flakeybiscuits says: Jun 17, 2014 6:23 PM

    Yea fitz!!! As a bills fan, I always wanted to see what this guy could do if he was put on a great team with good coaching. At the least you’ve got a great competitor and leader. The mans a genius but don’t ever expect him to put your team on his back

  82. r8rsfan says: Jun 17, 2014 7:05 PM

    Texans fans collectively sigh.

  83. jpaq68 says: Jun 17, 2014 7:18 PM

    This all but insures that Jacksonville won’t finish 4th in their division this year.

  84. keylimelight says: Jun 17, 2014 7:31 PM

    Wait a minute, wait a minute. Didn’t the Texans have the number 1 pick in the draft this year? Who is Fitzpatrick? Whuhhh…?

  85. VondyP says: Jun 17, 2014 7:59 PM

    ahahahaha!!! all that defense and no offense. welcome to the bottom of the AFC South, Texans

  86. keepyerstickontheice says: Jun 17, 2014 8:06 PM

    Don’t panic. Everything is going to be ok. Bobby-Joe from Waco, get down off that bridge.

    Fitz’s “big” contract that everybody cries about, made him the 19th highest paid quarterback in the league, in a year that he had the 19th highest quarterback rating, and threw for the 19th most yards.

    He does not have a great arm. He has to throw it as hard as he can, every single play. Occasionally, one or two will get away from him.

    He can, however, quickly pick up any offense you give him and lead a team with it. The Bills went from averaging 20 points a game to 30 points a game with Gailey’s offense and him as a starter. Unfortunately, the defense was giving away 31. In Fitz’s last season with the Bills, the defense lost two games on 4th and goal 0:00 time on the clock touchdowns.

    If the defense can keep him from trying to win games by himself, he’ll do fine. Like, 19th best.

  87. texansdan says: Jun 17, 2014 8:16 PM

    I don’t understand the surprise here–did anyone actually think that Keenum, Yates, or Savage would start the year? Fitzpatrick was brought in to start this year and mentor Savage, who will sit for the year. This is the way it is supposed to be. Think of the other drafted QBs that will be sitting for a year–why is this a surprise? And if Savage doesn’t develop during the year, they’ll look to draft another one next year. This is a rebuilding year, and we have to be patient.

    I actually am looking forward to see what Fitz can do. He hasn’t exactly been given an opportunity to start with a great team, and I think this will be his best opportunity so far. The guy has a great football brain, and has been in several systems so he’ll adapt quicker than Savage or Keenum.

    The emphasis is on the defense–all Fitz needs to do is manage the game and develop the rookie. Give the guy a chance, and don’t act like you didn’t see this coming.

  88. truths4all says: Jun 17, 2014 9:11 PM

    Let’s say the peanut gallery is right for once – the Texans should have drafted a rookie QB with a high pick. Then would anyone correctly suppose any of them be ready to make the correct defensive reads, pick the right coverage to throw into, and make the proper throw to the proper receiver running his precise route.

    Now does anyone suppose anyone of this year’s crop of rookie QBs (which there were NO CONSENSUS agreement by the experts that any of them were sure locks to be great in the NFL) would do better for the Texans or make Johnson happier?

  89. imnotsorryisaidthat says: Jun 17, 2014 9:16 PM

    so 3-13 gets you that Oregon qb

  90. ragnarthemagnificent says: Jun 18, 2014 12:22 AM

    They are terrified of his telekinesis inside that giant spaceman helmet.

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