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'Fitzpatrick First': A 'Crisp' Secret To Washington Offensive Success

Ryan Fitzpatrick expects communication in the offense with his new team

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been around the block a few times when it comes to NFL OTA's. There's one thing the 38-year-old hopes to establish each time he begins a journey with a new franchise. 

Communication come first. That's the same mantra he's putting into work with a young and up-and-coming offense that is the Washington Football Team. 

"When that communication gets crisp and gets quicker," Fitzpatrick told reporters Tuesday, "you play faster. And that puts a lot of pressure on the defense." 

WFT took the field Tuesday for its first OTA snaps following an NFC East-winning season. The offseason was led with speculation on who would be the starter Week 1 of the 2021 season following four quarterbacks taking the reins last fall. 

Some believed Washington would attack the QB issue via the NFL Draft. Instead, they went with the bearded wonder nicknamed "Fitzmagic" on a one-year, $10 million deal. 

Fitzpatrick now is tasked with upgrading the offense in a way that complements the WFT's top-five defense. After all, coach Ron Rivera oversaw an offense that finished 30th in total yards last season. 

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Washington upgraded the passing game with do-it-all weapon Curtis Samuel and vertical threat Dyami Brown. They solidified the offensive line by franchise tagging Brandon Scherff, plus adding Samuel Cosmi, Ereck Flowers and Charles Leno Jr.

So, Fitzpatrick isn't the only new face on offense. He understands that establishing a connection and tempo on the practice field will lead to success come Sundays in September. 

"A lot of it is just getting to know guys and making sure that they know I'm here and I'm trying to earn their respect and I'm working hard every single day," Fitzpatrick said recently. "That formula for me has worked pretty much everywhere I've been." 

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The overall concerns WFT fans have surrounding Fitzpatrick are warranted. Age is just a footnote in the larger factors that looms over his status as QB1. At this point, it's well-documented that Fitzpatrick will traditionally begin hot before flattening out, statistically, by midseason. 

Last season, Fitzpatrick starred in snaps with the Dolphins, but he also split time with rookie Tua Tagovailoa. WFT's plan doesn't include any such splitting.

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Rivera praised Fitzpatrick's adaptability skills - no surprise there for a QB who since coming out of Harvard has seen everything under the sun. 

"He is a very veteran guy,"Rivera said. "He picks things up very quickly and he handled himself very nicely. I think the guys have already started to draw towards him in terms of being comfortable and understanding how he does things and how it fits our structure."

Communication early translates to success in practice. Success in practice translate to positive plays on Sundays. That translates to wins, something needed in D.C. before a five-game stretch begins against all divisional opponents starting in Week 14. 

Fitzpatrick won't be the only new guy, but he will be the most important one. Two practices in, there's a point on emphasis on talking things out. The more one talks, the less errors are expected. 

That's a priority for Fitzpatrick — not just on the field, but also behind the scenes. 

"I thought the energy was great," Fitzpatrick said of OTAs. "There is this beautiful exuberance around the building. You have guys out there barking and making noise. I think it is a lot of fun to get into competitive environments and start to grow as a unit.”

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