Fitzpatrick tries to repeat his success against Eagles

by Gary Shelton on September 14, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Can Fitzpatrick repeat his success?/CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 3 a.m.

For a week, Ryan Fitzpatrick was everything a team wants its backup quarterback to be.

He was accurate. He threw deep. He moved the offense. He ran up 48 points and 529 yards. He made you forget the other guy was sitting at home eating popcorn. He was dangerous. He was good enough that some fans wanted to make him the quarterback for life.

Or the time being, at least.

And now, Fitzpatrick has to do it all over again.

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He has been around, and he has had good days and bad ones. But, as he prepares to face the World Champion Eagles, he is as confident as ever.

“Confidence is a huge thing," Fitzpatrick said. "Whether you’re out there or not, but more so than my confidence in myself – because I always have that – is when you’re in the huddle whether you’re the starter or you’re the backup, when you step in to that huddle, you can feel it. You can feel as the play caller.

"You can feel from those guys looking at you whether they have confidence in you or not and I think that’s the biggest thing. To be able to step in the huddle and to feel that that group is confident that you’re standing in there, which comes with time, comes with whatever else, comes with your demeanor, your moxie, whatever it is – I think that’s one of the most important things for overall confidence.”

Fitzpatrick, the NFC Player of the Week, threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in an upset of the Saints last week.

"Fitz is a pretty confident guy," said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. "He may say that – try to say the right thing, but he’s very confident in his ability and what he can and can’t do. Again, just watching him operate – very poised, very calm, in control on the road, having a plan when we got a certain look to get us in and out of plays. Again, you don’t play that long in this league and continue to play without being a really, really talented football player.”

For the day, Fitzpatrick hit eight passes of 20 yards or more. He also scrambled for a first down late in the game to allow Tampa Bay to run out the clock.

"I think there are some days where you have it or you feel it better than others for sure," Fitzpatrick said. "That plays into decision making at times and all that. Last Sunday was fun. I’ve been there before a few times and probably thought I was in the zone a few times when I wasn’t. A lot of it is just – again goes back to confidence in knowing you can do it.”

Fitzpatrick says that he has fit in differently with different offenses in his career

“Every stop for me has been different," he said. "Every offense for me has been different. Some tailored to my strengths and others I just kind of had to fit in. I think the places where I’ve done well – you’re able to play at the line of scrimmage a little bit. You’ve got some veteran guys on the outside that kind of understand the game and can take the next step in terms of what we’re trying to do. And then also just I think all the different experiences I’ve had I just continue to become a better player whether people think that or see that or not. I’m better right now than I’ve been in any point in my career and a lot of that is just mentality and whatever else. There’s a lot of different throws and things that are so much engrained in you. So much muscle memory from working and doing it for a long time. I feel like the older I’ve gotten the better I’ve become.”

Fitzpatrick talked about the key third down in which he ran for the first.

“We knew that was (an) important play in the game because if we got the first down – as an offense, when you’ve got a chance to close out a game, whether it’s in the four-minute mode handing it off and trying to get first downs or in that case we had five guys out there and we spread them out,  who am I going to throw it to here to get a first down to essentially end the game?" Fitzpatrick said. "Because we would’ve been under two minutes there. I looked to my right and there wasn’t a whole lot going on there which caused me to go out to my left and there’s a lot of green grass, so I got the first down and got down.”

It will be tougher this week against the Eagles.

“They play fast," Fitzpatrick said. "They play hard. Their front four is able to generate a lot of pressure and that’s not to say they’re not going to blitz or come after you, but those guys are tough to block up. They’re a really talented group and they’re deep up front. I think if you’re looking for one thing that jumps out overall, that would be the first thing that comes to mind.”

Last week, the Eagles held Matt Ryan in check. His quarterback rating was only 57.4 for the day.

Look, the Eagles are a good football team. You have to be 14-points better than they are to beat them by seven. You have to reduce mistakes. You have to make big plays on defense.

Can the Bucs do it? Again?

We'll see.

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