Fear the beard.
The Amish Rifle.
Regardless of what slick mantra you want to attach to Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team was fortunate to obtain the veteran signal caller this offseason. After four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, that organization decided to go in a different direction and cut the Harvard graduate loose.
While they hope to have found the future of their franchise in rookie E.J. Manuel, the Titans still aren’t convinced on their own former first round pick. Jake Locker has been quite the riddle since coming into the league as the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. For every outstanding outing he has it seems like he counters that with two or three consecutive duds for Tennessee.
Fitzpatrick gives the team some much needed insurance behind Locker after the club decided to turn the page on the Matt Hasselbeck era. The bearded phenomenon boasts a 59.5 percent career completion percentage which dwarfs Locker’s measly 55.5 percent mark. His 92 career touchdowns to 81 interceptions is also superior to Locker’s split of 11 of each during his two years in Tennessee.
With the just still very much out on Locker, there’s no doubt the Titans plan to give him every opportunity to be the starter when the first game of the season arrives. Durability has been a concern over his career which means Fitzpatrick could also be called upon quite often to come on in relief of the frequently injured QB.
While it would be foolish to call it a true training camp competition due to the circumstances, the coaching staff with the Titans is also on the hook for their jobs this coming season as well. Mike Munchak and company will be feeling the pressure to win now with the fear of getting the axe should this season not go as planned. That added element could push the coaches to ride the hot hand, regardless of who it happens to be.
Even though he was cast off in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick should find a relatively soft landing with the Titans. All he needs is a tiny crack to wiggle his way into the starting lineup, and the Amish Rifle could be firing once again.