Fitz hopes to improve in his second start

by Gary Shelton on November 17, 2017 · 1 comment

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Ryan Fitzpatrick can still make a play with his feet./STEVEN MUNCIE

Ryan Fitzpatrick can still make a play with his feet./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 1 a.m.

In the career of Ryan Fitzpatrick, there have been a lot of “next weeks.”

But in this particular next week, Fitzpatrick expects to be better.

He won his first game as a Buc Sunday. That wasn't bad. But this time, against the Dolphins on Sunday, Fitzpatrick hopes to be a better quarterback. For a guy who has played in 131 games over his career, that would be an improvement.

"I think I left a lot out there just in terms of ... I could have

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made some better decisions (and) maybe some quicker decisions in some of the stuff that we had,” Fitzpatrick said. “I came away from watching that game obviously happy and excited that we won, but kind of excited at the prospect of getting another shot at it and hopefully doing a better job. There were some plays out there that I could’ve made that would’ve made us a lot more effective.”


"It’s a little bit of everything,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was a credit to some of the stuff that they were doing and then me just having to be a better decision-maker at times.”

Fitzpatrick hit 17 of 34 passes for 187 yards.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken said that Fitzpatrick's experience should help him.

"I think a guy that’s played as long as he has has played (as) a mature player, has confidence in his ability of what he sees from the defense and has the confidence to then be able to get us into different plays (and) different route combinations,” Monken said. “He is not afraid to do those things because of all of his years of experience. There is no question. You can see it on the field in terms of where he would go with the ball, so all of the receivers have to be up and ready to go. I know everybody should be anyway, but I think a veteran player that plays as much as he has – he’s not afraid to get us in the right checks, to think outside the box, to come and tell Dirk (Koetter) things that he is seeing that maybe a younger player might see, but is he really as confident to be able to say that or see it?”

Fitzpatrick is 34, but he still has the ability to make plays with his feet.

"I think he is a really good athlete from an escapability standpoint,” Monken said. “That’s obviously shown over the years with the amount of rushing yards he has. I think the beard disguised that a little bit (and) makes him look a little older than he is. Maybe people don’t think of that — if a guy has a beard that he is going to be able to run like that. But, he is certainly capable of getting himself out of trouble and making plays with his feet.”

Fitzpatrick, like Jameis Winston, is liable to throw deep.

"I think they are both apt to push it down the field,” Monken said. “I don’t see that so much. I just think through experience and seeing things, possibly. I think you would have to ask Coach (Dirk Koetter) and Coach (Mike) Bajakian that a little bit. I just think sometimes experience — as we talked about earlier — he (Fitzpatrick) is able to get it out of his hands a little bit quicker. We did a little more in the screen game — that is going to get it out of your hands a little bit quicker. I’d have to go back and look at it to really see that. It doesn’t feel like that through our game planning that that’s changed. It may be just because Fitz just has a little quicker decision-making. He makes his decisions a little bit quicker.

"I try to think of the calls that we had up in the game plan. It didn’t feel like, from our game-planning standpoint, that it was any different. Sometimes if you have a given game plan you can take five coaches and every one of those coaches would call it differently with the same exact plays. I think sometimes with different quarterbacks and different looks that you get, the ball is going to go (to) some different spots than (it) would with a different quarterback.

"It wasn’t like we were like, ‘Hey, now we’ve got Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick). Hey, let’s not do these things.’ We still try to throw it down the field.”

Fitzpatrick hopes he can lead the Bucs on a run.

"This league is kind of about getting on runs,” Fitzpatrick said. “Unfortunately, we went through a bad run for a little bit there, but if we can just continue to stack up some of these wins you never know what is going to happen. I’m 100 percent positive that the belief in that locker room is that we can do it. We can continue to go out there and we are talented enough to win these games. It’s not like we are going into games and we don’t have a shot at it. We’ve got some really good players here. It is just a matter of me distributing the ball and getting them going. I think that confidence can turn into more wins.”

Game time is 1 p.m. Sunday.

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