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Ryan Fitzpatrick is back in Tampa Bay, and all about playing

The vagabond veteran quarterback has Josh Rosen, not Jameis Winston to mentor in Miami
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) runs drills during training camp with the Miami Dolphins on August 13, 2019 at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) runs drills during training camp with the Miami Dolphins on August 13, 2019 at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Florida. MONICA HERNDON | Times
Published Aug. 13

TAMPA — Ryan Fitzpatrick has another young quarterback looking over his shoulder.

This time, it’s not Jameis Winston. It’s Josh Rosen with the Miami Dolphins.

Rosen called Fitzpatrick “selfless,” with his time in helping to mentor him, and indeed playing for his eighth NFL team, he is a deep well of information.

“I’m an open book,'' Fitzpatrick said. "I’m here to compete and play football and have fun.''

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And of all those things, playing is what matters most to Fitzpatrick. A year ago, with Winston suspended for the first three games, Fitzpatrick made the most of his opportunity. He passed for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns in each of his first three games, upsetting the Saints and Eagles before falling to the Steelers.

Eventually, Fitz-magic wore off. But it made Winston feel as if he had to compete with Fitzpatrick’s incredible passing numbers. After three games, Winston was benched again, this time for poor performance.

“I think last year was a difficult situation for a lot of different reasons, but I also look at the way he played down the stretch and he played some really good football,'' Fitzpatrick said. “I know that he grew as a football player last year in the way that he was playing.

"Last year at the beginning of the year was so great. It was so much fun to be out there and be in rooms like this in this building, but this year it’s more of the same. It’s different faces and different guys but again, building relationships and everybody working toward a common goal. And that’s one of the things I love about football.''

Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he didn’t want Winston looking over his shoulder this season, so bringing Fitzpatrick back was not an option.

Rosen says Fitzpatrick has been generous with his time as a teammate and mentor.

“He’s probably been one of the best mentors I’ve had in the sport,'' Rosen said. "He’s been an unbelievable teammate, very selfless in helping me so much. Pretty impressive how he can walk up to the line and sort of see it and just know what coverage, with everything they’re trying to do. I’m just trying to get to that level.

"I think I have a special skill set, so when I put those two together, I think it can be special. But it’s going to be a long road, a lot of film, a lot of studying. I’m just indebted to Fitz for how selfless he’s being but he still is competing his ass off. When, if, and, whatever shakes out this year, he’s going to absolutely play his (tail) off.''

Fitzpatrick says he sees helping young quarterbacks as part of the job.

"I enjoy that role and I think just the position of quarterback, that is a leadership position on the team,'' Fitzpatrick said. "Guys are looking for you for something as little as the play call, something as little as demeanor in and out of the huddle, bad plays, looking at you, good plays looking at you, seeing how you’re going to react. All that stuff goes into it. I just really enjoy playing football. I love being out there.

“I focused on being the best quarterback I can be. I’m certainly open to questions. I’m willing to put in my two cents whether you want to hear it or not. But playing this game as long as I have, there are good things that happen but there also are scars you develop and mistakes that you’ve made that you don’t want other people to make. So I just try to share all those experiences with them and they’ve been real good as far as asking questions and being receptive.''


  1. Peyton Manning threw 26 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions in 2001, his age-25 season. Jameis Winston has thrown 26 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions through 13 games this season, which is his age-25 season. What does it mean? Probably nothing. [KEVIN RIVOLI  |  Associated Press]
    Reality check: Manning’s 2001 was superior to Winston’s 2019, mainly because it’s easier to play quarterback in today’s NFL.
  2. Last season, Jameis Winston threw the ball away five times. This season, he has thrown it away 23 times. “One of the hardest things to do is to throw the ball away — trust me,” Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    The quarterback’s league-leading interception rate is overshadowing a potential step forward in his development.
  3. Winston is putting up statistics nearly identical to what Manning posted the season he turned 25. But a comparison requires more than numbers.
  4. Rookie linebacker Devin White is starting to have the kind of impact in Tampa Bay as he had at LSU. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Rick Stroud | Licht has virtually nothing left from his 2016 draft. But oh, those last two!
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston smiles while on stage before meeting with the media during the Famous Jameis Jamboree at Raymond James stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Tampa. The event, which recommended a new toy or non-perishable food item as the cost of admission, included games, beverages and a visit from Santa Claus. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Winston tested his injured right thumb by throwing a football for the first time this week on Friday.
  6. Bucs career receptions leader Mike Evans (left) won't be available to help quarterback Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at Detroit. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Bucs are without Mike Evans for the first time since 2017, but Ndamukong Suh is back in Motown.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive linebacker Ndamukong Suh (93) on the bench during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Miami Dolphins on August 16, 2019 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times [MONICA HERNDON   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    He’s not the same player who dominated in Detroit, but Suh did plenty of damage the last time he faced the Lions.
  8. With Oklahoma State in 2018, Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,978 passing yards (fifth most in program history) and 32 touchdowns (fourth most). The Tampa Bay Vipers drafted him in October. [SUE OGROCKI  |  Associated Press]
    The Tampa Bay Vipers signal-caller talks camp competition, Marc Trestman’s coaching style and Mike Gundy’s hair.
  9. Quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and the Bucs face the Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday in Detroit. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Here are our picks for this week’s NFL games.
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) makes a pass to a receiver during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The quarterback has been able to play with limited practice in the past, doing it before during the 2017 season.