Deciding the starting quarterback could the most important decision a coach makes. Coaches are fired regularly for making the wrong decision about quarterbacks. Texans new head coach Bill O’Brien picked Ryan Fitzpatrick — and he did so earlier than many would have expect.
“We really liked his intelligence,” Bill O’Brien said during offseason workouts. “We liked the fact that he had played a bunch of football. We liked the fact that he had played football in a similar system.”
O’Brien is a disciple of Bill Belichick, whose offensive playbook is thick and complicated, and O’Brien’s might be thicker and more complicated. Experience and intelligence come at a premium as far as he’s concerned. But they don’t need Fitzpatrick to win games. In theory, Fitzpatrick need only play role as distributor. They’re supposed to have Andre Johnson and Arian Foster on the field. Foster’s health is tentative with a back injury. Johnson’s commitment to the team is tentative as he continues to miss practices while demanding a trade.
Without those players, the offense could come to a skidding stop. More likely than not, they’ll have both.
“The main part about this system is really letting our playmakers make plays,” Fitzpatrick said the day he was named the starting quarterback, via CSN Houston. “I’ve kind of got the easy job if I can get in the right play.”
If he finds that his job is not that easy, he’ll have someone nipping at his heels. Fourth-round selection Tom Savage is Fitzpatrick’s understudy. He’s the future. It will be interesting to see how much O’Brien values experience if Fitzpatrick doesn’t play well. Savage will be waiting.