Ryan Fitzpatrick is drawn as the Washington Football Team’s starting quarterback and the clear favorite over Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.
Despite the fact that FitzMagic was paid more than his other signal callers and was the presumed starter, that did not stop coach Ron Rivera from declaring a QB competition on his way into next month’s training camp.
“It’s going to be a good competition,” Rivera said Thursday via ESPN. “I’m looking forward to it. It will push our football team and make our football team better. I just feel like going into this knowledge, we have a proven guy there who has the ability to lead us, but again we have a guy in Taylor, who shows us he can do it. They̵
Rivera’s statement came in the context of last season when Washington made Dwayne Haskins the starter early on to give the young QB most of the training camp reps. It returned to Washington and eventually ended with the release of Haskins in the mid-season.
The veteran coach said he does not want to make the same mistake of declaring a starter too early and hindering the process.
“The mistake I made was that my approach was wrong,” Rivera said. “I should have made as big a competition as possible and it’s up to me. I would try to find a guy. I thought [Haskins] was ready to take a step and take advantage of every opportunity. I’m trying to build the report he needed with his teammates, and that would have been something we might have been able to see in the past and might have done something different. “
Coaches around the NFL preach competition at all positions. Sometimes it’s just coach talk. Other times it is a lifestyle.
The odds are that Fitzpatrick has no eye on competing with Heinicke and Allen. And the odds are overwhelming that he’s under center coming week 1. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from FitzMagic’s 17-year career, it’s that it’s a wild, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary roller coaster.
Fitzpatrick gets the most reps from the first team when training camp drills open, but Rivera gives the others a shot with the starters. Heinicke and Allen will have to blow the coaching staff away to overtake FitzMagic. With Rivera open to the idea, however, there is at least one chance – even if it is one in a million.