While Fitzmagic is paid far more than his fellow flaggers and is the alleged starter, that hasn’t stopped coach Ron Rivera from declaring a QB competition ahead of next month’s training camp.
“It will be a good competition,” Rivera said Thursday, via ESPN. ” I can not wait to see him. It will grow our football team and make our football team better. I just think knowing that we have a proven guy out there who has the ability to lead us, but then again we have a guy at Taylor who shows us he can do it. They’re going to compete, they’re going to push, and I can’t wait to be there. ”
Rivera’s statement came against the backdrop of last season when Washington made Dwayne Haskins a starter early to give the young QB most of the reps in training camp. It backfired on him in Washington, ultimately ending with Haskins’ midseason exit.
The veteran coach said he didn’t want to make the same mistake of declaring a start too early and hampering the process.
“The mistake I made was that my approach was wrong,” Rivera said. “I should have made a competition as big as possible, and that’s up to me. I wanted to try to find a guy. I thought [Haskins] was ready to take a step and seize every opportunity. I’m trying to build that rapport he needed with his teammates, and maybe it would’ve been something we could have seen earlier and maybe could have done something different. ”
NFL coaches preach the competition in every position. Sometimes it’s just the talk of the coach. Other times it’s a way of life.
Chances are Fitzpatrick doesn’t hesitate to compete with Heinicke and Allen. And there’s a good chance he’ll be the focus of the first week. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from Fitzmagic’s 17-year career, it’s that it’s a wild roller coaster ride, sometimes thrilling, sometimes horrible.
Fitzpatrick will get most of the first team reps once training camp practices open, but Rivera will give the others a chance with the starters. Heinicke and Allen are expected to topple the coaching staff to overtake Fitzmagic. With Rivera open to the idea, however, there is at least a chance – albeit one in a million.