‘Fun battle': Heinicke gives his take on Fitzpatrick's arrival


Based off of his contract, his extensive experience and the way he's performed as of late, Ryan Fitzpatrick is who most expect will start at quarterback for the Washington Football Team in Week 1 of the 2021 season. 

What does the guy who last started at quarterback for the Washington Football Team — and who completely ignited the offense on a playoff stage, no less — make of Fitzpatrick's arrival, though?

On a recent edition of Washington Football Today, Julie Donaldson asked Taylor Heinicke for his thoughts on the new, heavily-bearded face in the QB room. Despite Fitzpatrick potentially (probably?) interrupting Heinicke's playing time, the postseason hero had nothing but positive things to say about the veteran.

"It's going to be a fun battle," Heinicke told Donaldson. "We're going to hopefully help each other. I'm looking forward to picking his brain, getting better as a quarterback in that way, and whatever unfolds, unfolds. But, again, I'm excited for the addition, I'm excited for this offense that we've put together."

Heinicke using the word "battle" shouldn't be a surprise, as the undrafted passer has had to battle his entire pro career and surely won't change his mindset even if most signs point to Fitzpatrick seizing the top job.

Ron Rivera does prioritize competition after all, and he has stated multiple times that he regretted not letting his 2020 group of signal callers have more of a fair fight in training camp, so Heinicke should at least get a chance to surpass Fitzpatrick.  

In his answer, Heinicke also referenced how he hopes to learn from Fitzpatrick, much like he did alongside Alex Smith once he joined Washington's roster down the stretch. Oddly enough, Heinicke and Smith had actually talked about the 38-year-old during their time together in Burgundy and Gold.

"I'd ask Alex, like, 'Do you know Fitzy?'" Heinicke remembered. "He said, 'Oh, yeah, he's awesome, great guy,' kind of compared him to Shaun Hill, who I had in my first two years in Minnesota, who was a great guy, helped me a lot."

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Antonio Gibson was asked for his reaction to the club landing Fitzpatrick on Donaldson's show as well, and the running back discussed how he was "shocked" when Miami benched Fitzpatrick in favor of Tua Tagovailoa last year when the former had obviously settled into a groove.

Gibson also marveled at the no-look completion Fitzpatrick notched versus the Raiders in one of his relief efforts in place of Tagovailoa, a moment that made a massive impression on Gibson.

"He couldn't even see and he completed it," Gibson said. "I was like, 'That man can ball.'"

That he can, Antonio. That he can.

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