Finding a go-to target for any quarterback is essential. And while he might not be the No. 1 weapon for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick statically in 2021, Adam Humphries understands the Washington Football Team’s new quarterback better than most.
He therefore might be "essential.''
For three seasons, Humphries and Fitzpatrick worked together during their time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Humphries, a shifty slot receiver with strong hands, trying to crack the roster, Fitzpatrick, a veteran looking to keep his playing career alive, with a situation cut from the same cloth.
When Fitzpatrick was asked to start, he relied on Humphries as his weapon of choice. During the 2018 season, Humphries tallied a 76% catch rate for 378 yards in games where Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback.
Together again, that magic might be needed in D.C. for a season that is expected to be one with so much potential offensively.
"It's great to link back up with Fitzy," Humphries told Fred Smoot on an episode of Washington Football Today. "We had a great relationship in Tampa [during] the two years we were there together. The two or three weeks I've been here have been awesome.”
Both players departed Tampa Bay before the 2019 season. Humphries agreed to a three-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Fitzpatrick signed a two-year deal to work in Miami with Josh Rosen and later Tua Tagovailoa.
When Humphries was released from Tennessee earlier this offseason, he connected with Fitzpatrick to ask about his next step. One of the key factor for the 27-year-old target to join WFT was in part the veteran quarterback’s persuasion to have a reunion.
Two years after hauling catches in South Florida, the two are at it again at OTAs and minicamp. Fitzpatrick has fit right into coordinator Scott Turner’s play-calling efforts, looking mostly like a full-fledged starter.
In large part, Humphries has helped with the transition. So far, the two have worked well in red-zone drills and team reps.
"Fitzy just makes coming to work everyday fun," Humphries told reporters following his signing in March. "You can tell he's got a lot of passion when he plays. He's got a love for the game that not many people have. He just makes playing football fun. He brings a good attitude toward every situation. He's still slinging it. I'm excited to link back up with him and have some fun.”
Humphries role might not be a starting one. Washington will be banking on new names such as Curtis Samuel and rookie Dyami Brown to contribute right away with Terry McLaurin. Last season, WFT’s passing attack ranked 25th overall, with only McLaurin surpassing 500 yards at the receiver role.
Building a connection takes time. With Humphries, WFT’s receiving corp can learn to adapt to the playing style of Fitzpatrick. From deep passes to check-downs to laser shots, Humphries has seen it all.
"Those are just plays that Fitzpatrick will do," Humphries said. "It's fun being on the field with him because you've got to stay ready at all times because he is fearless.''
Now, Humphries will have the opportunity to help the younger guys figure out what to look for when No. 14 is lining up under center. On top of that, there’s always a security blanket for Fitzpatrick in a pinch - a security blanket the WFT might find to be "essential."
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