Ryan Fitzpatrick has gone into seasons as a starting quarterback and he’s gone into seasons as a backup quarterback, but he’d never gone into the season as a starter because the guy ahead of him on the depth chart has been suspended until this year.
Jameis Winston‘s ban means Fitzpatrick is in line to start at least the first three games of the 2018 season for the Buccaneers.
“I mean, I thought I had seen and been through it all but another year, just another different situation,” Fitzpatrick said, via the Tampa Bay Times.
With games against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers on tap in the first three weeks, the Bucs will need to be sharp right out of the gate if they are going to avoid hamstringing themselves in the standings. Fitzpatrick said he isn’t looking that far ahead, but will be counting on his teammates to help carry the load once they do get to the regular season.
“I mean, the season hasn’t even started yet,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a cliché. It’s one game at a time but you have to look at it that way. Not even based off last year talent wise, looking at the team we have out here, I get in that huddle on offense and I mean, it’s a pretty exciting huddle to be in as a quarterback looking at some of those guys.”
Fitzpatrick went 2-1 as a starter for Tampa last season. That was his 10th straight season making at least three starts in a season — he also made three starts for the Rams in 2005 before that streak started — and the Bucs are the seventh team that Fitzpatrick has started that many games for in a single season.
None of that should have any bearing on how he fares this year, but it does support the notion that there isn’t much Fitzpatrick hasn’t seen at this point of his career.