After Jake Locker spent the entire off-season making the Tennessee Titans his team, Ryan Fitzpatrick figures he has three days to make them his.
“It's different. Instead of a whole off-season, I've got three days to kind of work with these guys and make sure we're on the same page and thinking alike in a lot of our stuff,” said Fitzpatrick, who has 68 career starts, but his first since signing with the Titans in the off-season.
Fitzpatrick will be under center when the Titans host the Kansas City Chiefs, a team he has a 4-1 career record against, but one that is undefeated at 4-0 in 2013 after just two wins a year ago.
The biggest thing for Fitzpatrick, who came over from the Buffalo Bills, is trying to adapt what the Titans do offensively to his own skill set, with the help of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, of course. Fitzpatrick admits that his role is vastly different than it was a week ago.
“My role is completely different today than it was last Wednesday. The reason being was Jake's team, this was Jake's offense,” he said. “There's stuff I try to give him input on. The receivers are gonna run routes the way he wants them to. But with Jake being injured, I've got to go out there and let them know what I expect.
“If you're not on the same page, that's what lead to some of the miscommunication and stuff that can happen. My role has definitely changed in terms of my voice with Dowell (Loggains) and my voice when we watch film with the receivers. … With the receivers especially, I'll be a little more outspoken with them of my expectations rather than Jake's.”
Veteran receiver Nate Washington, who has been off to a strong start this season with Locker, said having Fitzpatrick is a nice luxury for the Titans to have in a backup quarterback.
“He's a veteran. He's been as starter in this league. I know a lot has been said because Jake is captain on this team for a reason; he's a leader,” Washington said. “But at the end of the day we have a starting quarterback as our No. 2. Ryan knows his game. He knows the ins and outs.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak said the adjustment from Locker to Fitzpatrick won't be major, but will be different in terms of what each quarterback would be comfortable with within a game plan.
“It’s more about how Dowell will call the game by what he does better because every quarterback is going to see things a little bit differently and have comfort in certain routes. There’s games these last few weeks where Ryan didn’t maybe like some of the concepts Dowell was doing, but Jake loved it,” Munchak said. “So, that’s the type of thing (you do) as you go through the week. When things are put in and taken out of the game plan it’s more of things he likes more so than Jake. That’s probably it, and that’s common.
"It’s more of a matter of us going out and executing on offense and him and the receivers being on the same page, that type of thing. No doubt, two different quarterbacks can call the same play and see it a little differently. I think the game-within-the game adjustments that they have to get used to a little bit. Hopefully, it won’t affect us in the game.”