Fitzpatrick working to learn Texans’ new offense

Fitzpatrick working to learn Texans’ new offense
May 6, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Andre Johnson and Shane Lechler are the only two Texans who have been in the NFL longer than Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And the veteran quarterback, entering his 10th NFL season, thinks his experience will be a big asset in his first year in Houston.

“For me, experience is the big thing that I bring,” Fitzpatrick said after the first day of the Texans’ three-day minicamp on Tuesday. “I’ve played in a lot of games in a lot of different systems so I’ve been through a lot of my career and have seen a lot of different circumstances and things, just everything that I’ve experienced in the past and I’ve learned from and I’m able to pass it on to some of these guys because I do feel a little bit old in the locker room now.”

Fitzpatrick is 31 and is the old guy in the locker room. Such is life in the NFL.

But he’s played for four different teams and has had to learn plenty of different offenses. And the Harvard product is working very hard to learn the Texans’ new offense, which is being installed by new head coach Bill O’Brien and quarterbacks coach George Godsey.

“It’s a steep learning curve,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve been in a lot of different offenses. I’ve never been in this offense. So just like my rookie year, I’ve had to come in and learn something new, just in terms of coming in and learning something new.”

One of the biggest adjustments for Fitzpatrick and the other quarterbacks (all players, really) is learning new terminology. A lot of concepts are shared between offensive schemes and systems but what things are called differs. Something Fitzpatrick might have called an apple for the last few years is now an orange. But that type of learning happens for most players in a new place.

Fitzpatrick hasn’t had a long time to learn the scheme but he can already describe it in one word.

“Multiple,” he said. “It’s a multiple offense and they’re gonna attack the defense and it’s something that will constantly be changing every week because it’s so multiple in what we can do.”

He doesn’t know everything yet. But he wants to.

“For me, it’s about being myself,” he said. “There’s a certain demeanor that I carry myself with, certain way that I attack the game from a mental side, just in terms of being the one that wants to know it all and everybody can come to me with questions. It’s important as a quarterback to have that and it’s not easy learning a new offense. And I’ve got a lot of questions I’ve got to ask either Coach O’Brien or Coach Godsey. I’m not there yet , in terms of even knowing half of it, but we’re a work in progress.”

He might not know everything about the offense but he thinks he’ll definitely be a fit in it. “They brought me in for a reason in terms of fitting in to their scheme,” he said.

It seems very possible that Fitzpatrick will be the team’s starter when the season opens but that’s still a long ways away. The team could very well draft a quarterback, although Fitzpatrick said he hasn’t concerned himself with worrying about that. And Case Keenum and T.J. Yates are also still on the roster.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with these guys at this point,” O’Brien said about his quarterback group. “These guys are smart, they show up every day, they work. All three of them, we’ve enjoyed working with them.”

Fitzpatrick said he’s had a chance to get to know Keenum and Yates in his short time in Houston. He thinks those relationships will be important as they all learn the new offense.  He seems to enjoy the group of players he’s met and worked with so far.

“It’s a nice blend of guys,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to find a chemistry and that’s gotta be on the field and talking through that in meetings.”

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