When the start of the NFL season rolls around this September, Harvard alum Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05 will once again take a crack at winning the AFC South division title. However, this time around, he will be suiting up for a new team.
Fitzpatrick appeared in 11 games for the Titans last season and recorded a 3-6 record in his nine starts. All six losses came against teams with winning records, but the quarterback kept them close, as five out of the six contests were decided by fewer than 10 points.
After beginning the season as a backup, Fitzpatrick was launched into the permanent starting role when franchise quarterback Jake Locker went down with a foot injury in Week 10. Despite his poor record under center, Fitzpatrick actually posted one of the best stat-lines of his career.
Fitzpatrick finished the year with 2,454 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He matched his career best in completion percentage (62.0) and recorded his second best passer rating (82.0), falling just short of the 83.3 mark he reached in 2012.
In his first year at the helm, Texans’ coach and fellow Ivy League grad Bill O’Brien addressed one of his team’s biggest needs with the signing of Fitzpatrick. Houston quarterbacks combined to throw just 19 touchdowns against 22 interceptions last year. Furthermore, Matt Schaub, who began the season as the Texans’ starter, has lost the support of the fans and could be on his way out.
Consequently, Fitzpatrick will likely be competing for the starting job right off the bat in training camp. Barring any offseason moves by the Houston front office, he will be up against Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, and possibly Schaub. Houston also holds the first overall pick in May’s NFL Draft, so the depth chart could be even more crowded by the start of the preseason.
Since entering the league in 2005, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 16,790 yards and 106 touchdowns. He spent two years with the Rams, two years with the Bengals, and four years with the Bills before heading to Tennessee.