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Though he won’t be playing in any frostbite-inducing playoff games anytime soon, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘05 can feel at least a little more confident about his job prospects.
Filling in for injured starter Jake Locker in Week 4 against the New York Jets, Fitzpatrick inherited a Titans team that struggled on both sides of the ball, though most of it was beyond Fitzpatrick’s control. The former Harvard star guided the NFL squad to a 7-9 record and a second place finish in the AFC South division.
Despite having a three game streak of passer ratings above 100 and no interceptions, the Titans went 1-2 and fell out of serious playoff contention.
Regardless, Fitz’s best game came mid-December against the Arizona Cardinals, a slugfest that saw him throw 58 passes, and complete 36 of them. He had four passing touchdowns, but the bad luck Titans fell once again.
On paper, the 6’2”, 223 pounder’s credentials for the season look pretty good. He finished the year with the best completion percentage and second best passer rating of his nine-year career. Coming away with more touchdowns (14) than interceptions (12) on the year was also impressive for an NFL backup.
But that’s just it; though Fitz posted better than career average numbers, a 3-7 team record with him starting under center isn’t good enough to supplant a healthy Locker next season.
It was a solid performance from the former Ivy League Player of the Year—not quite good enough to warrant the full-time position but likely enough to keep him on an NFL team’s payroll next year as a solid backup option.
At the end of the season, former Titans head coach Mike Munchak (who was fired largely in part for his reluctance to make changes) was quoted by ESPN.com saying, “This year, we were right there. We just got to find, get a few closures. We just need to find a few more guys to help us close out games and we’ll be in great shape.”
You don’t have to be a Harvard grad to figure out that a quarterback with a 3-7 starting record isn’t one of those close-out guys.
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