Aug 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (4) rolls out of the pocket in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Okay. It’s time to get some type of understanding on how divided the Tennessee Titans fan base is on this Jake Locker vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick issue.
Preseason Game No. 3 was just completed. And yet, I’m already tired of seeing my Twitter feed full of “Put Fitzpatrick in the game!!!” tweets after every three-and-out.
Last night, I got into a Facebook discussion with one of my friends. He’s a big Fitzpatrick supporter. Even after Locker had his 11-of-13 performance, he was more focused on Fitzpatrick leading two touchdown drives. Locker only led one.
Surprisingly, most of the people who read/joined that conversation agreed with him: Fitzpatrick should start Week 1. The support baffled me. Is Locker that bad and some people (coaches and myself included) just aren’t willing to admit this obvious doom that lies ahead of him?
Some fans have this perception that Fitzpatrick would become a dominant starting quarterback if he were in the perfect situation. The Buffalo Bills have been so far from a competitive organization that all bad statistics are totally discredited in their minds. So is the fact that Fitzpatrick never led the Bills out of the AFC East basement.
All that some fans needed to see from Locker was a 2012 season with a bum shoulder. They’re ready to move on from a quarterback who, in his first season as a starter, displayed poor accuracy and questionable decision-making. They see two AFC South teams who had quarterbacks who either led their team to playoff appearances (Andrew Luck) or won playoff games (T.J. Yates) during their rookie seasons. Seeing the immediate success from Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick adds to the win-now mentality.
Didn’t win in your first season? Time to try something new…
Fitzpatrick falls in the category of quarterbacks such as Tony Romo, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer. These are quarterbacks who are known for having flashy passing yardage. The problem: they cost their team with turnovers at the most inopportune moments. Their lack of playoff appearances and successes are often attributed to their supporting cast (Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears offensive line, Oakland Raiders). Put these players in the right situation? Instant playoff contenders, a theory I disagree with.
What’s the gist of this Locker vs. Fitzpatrick argument? Below are some reasons for why fans want to see either of these men become the No. 1 signal-caller.
Why Start Jake Locker?
- Shoulder injury affected 2012 performance
- Victim of bad offensive coordinator (Chris Palmer)
- Victim of bad interior offensive linemen
- Fitzpatrick is an interception machine
- Fitzpatrick has non-existent deep-ball accuracy
- Fitzpatrick gives little-to-no chance for fourth-quarter comebacks
- Fitzpatrick’s teams have been consistent basement dwellers
- Blame unimpressive preseason stat sheets on bad receiver play, vanilla game plans
Why Start Ryan Fitzpatrick?
- Victim of bad coaching staff
- Victim of bad supporting cast (wide receivers, offensive line)
- Victim of bad defense
- Loaded AFC East Division (New England Patriots, 2009 and 2010 New York Jets)
- Preseason stat line (18-of-27 for 235 yards, four touchdowns, one interception).
- Proven short-pass accuracy better fit for Dowell Loggains’ dink-and-dunk offense
- Smarter (nothing to do with Harvard background)
Don’t mistake this for any type of quarterback controversy beyond the fans: Locker is the starter. However, who do fans prefer as the Week 1 starting quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Locker or Fitzpatrick?
Answer in the poll below. If you’re one of the Rusty Smith believers, then tell the editor that he’s an idiot for not including him in this poll. Tell him in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.