Ryan Fitzpatrick was the NFL's most effective quarterback under pressure during the 2020 season, according to Football Outsiders Editor-in-Chief, Aaron Schatz. And on the surface, that would appear to be a very encouraging stat for Washington fans.
But as Schatz explained in a Monday interview on 106.7 The Fan's BMitch & Finlay show, knowing how well Fitzpatrick fared in 2020 as defenders closed in might actually be something that should concern Burgundy and Gold supporters.
"He was so good last year with pressure," Schatz told the hosts. "He was the best quarterback in the league under pressure, and that's just not as consistent from year to year as performance without pressure, and he was 27th in the league without pressure.
"When you think of Ryan Fitzpatrick last year, what play do you think of? You think of that ridiculous play against the Raiders... That stuff is just not sustainable."
Schatz disclosed that Fitzpatrick's recent, out-of-character success in crowded pockets and against blitzers reminded him of what Josh McCown did with the Bears in 2013. Anyone who's familiar with McCown's largely-underwhelming stats knows he's not the most favorable guy to be compared to.
"The more he plays, the more his numbers go down," Schatz said about Fitzpatrick as a whole. "I would expect that to happen in Washington."
What's funky is, even though Schatz is dubious of the Fitzpatrick who popped with the Dolphins, he simultaneously believes the 38-year-old will prove to be a net-positive addition for the WFT.
"You can expect the offense to be a good amount better," Schatz said. "Fitzpatrick is not going to be as good as he was last year in Miami, but he's going to be a lot better than what they got out of [the 2020 QBs].
"I expect him to be a little bit below average, and like I said, that's a huge improvement over what they had at quarterback last year."
While Schatz's overall review of Fitzpatrick falls far closer to lukewarm than laudatory, that last remark isn't a complete condemnation of Washington's outlook in the coming campaign, either. If Fitzpatrick can just play at a useful level, and the rest of the roster exceeds in their roles, then Ron Rivera's team could reach the postseason once again.
Schatz and other Fitz skeptics, however, don't envision his career renaissance to peak in his new home. To them, he'll outdo what the organization has gotten used to under center but still leave plenty to be desired when held up to QBs across the rest of the league.