Has Fitzpatrick Found His Offense, His Prime?

September 10th, 2018

“Atta boy, Fitzy!”

A true NFL junkie, Joe enjoys listening to Tom Brady on the Monday Night Football national radio pregame show.

He usually drops an interesting take or two during his appearance.

Tonight, before the Jets-Lions game, Brady was asked about Aaron Rodgers and his greatness. Brady didn’t want to shower Rodgers with too much love. He offered a little but passed on speculating on how Rodgers might fare in his Patriots system.

“A lot of times the system develops around the skill set of the quarterback,” Brady said.

That got Joe thinking more about subjects that had Joe up late last night. ‘How good is Ryan Fitzpatrick? How much has he improved? And how much is he the ideal fit for Dirk Koetter’s system and the current roster?’

It’s worth a thought, given that Fitzpatrick is now 3-1 as a Buccaneers starter and is 21-20 as a starter since opening day of 2014 season. Fitzpatrick, 35, sure seems to be improving with age. He also seems to have the poise and experience to relax within a loaded weapons and realize he’ll nearly always have an open man or a running lane.

There have been true late-bloomer QBs in NFL history and two ex-Bucs come to mind.

Vinny Testaverde’s first good season came in his 30s, and he didn’t hit his prime until he landed with his fourth team at 35 years old. That 1998 season with the Jets, Testaverde found himself in the AFC Championship game (leading at halftime) after throwing 29 touchdowns versus 7 interceptions that season.

Steve DeBerg’s career also took off at age 35 when he left the Bucs and landed with his fourth NFL team: Kansas City. DeBerg led them to the playoffs in consecutive seasons (1990 and 1991).

There are other NFL examples, too.

Fitzpatrick’s next couple of games should reveal to Bucs fans and coaches just about everything they need to know about their substitute starting QB. And after Sunday’s monstrous beating of the Saints, there’s at least a chance that revelation could make things very complicated in a few weeks for a winning-starved franchise.

63 Responses to “Has Fitzpatrick Found His Offense, His Prime?”

  1. Dapostman Says:

    I thought the same thing after the first preseason game and then Fitz played in the second preseason game and I thought, no.

    #Get After It!

  2. Bob Says:

    Best to Fitz, and hope he does continue his “magic”, but that offensive line protected him so he had time to pick his targets. Let’s give them the same amount of credit……still makeshift at this point but doing the job! l

  3. TonyC Says:

    I’m hoping he can continue being effective, spreading the ball around, putting up points and winning games. What else can you ask of a QB?

  4. Lamarcus Says:


    Nice story. If history goes into favor like it did yesterday for our team then it’s not good for Fitz. Last time he posted a God-like performance he followed up with a 6 int game. And as for Koetter. He is impressive in the openers but lays an egg the second week but I do want this to continue. We have won 2 straight games

    So I’m just going to enjoy this win until Sunday morning

  5. Marc Says:



  6. Darin Says:

    You are what your record says you are! 3-1. Ride him until the wheels fall off.

  7. BucEmUp Says:

    It shouldn’t make anything complicated. If he’s winning games against good football teams with the worst DC is possibly the history of the franchise you don’t mess with it You leave the guy in period!

  8. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Kudos for this story Joe. Not that it’s “likely” to happen but it “could” happen that Fitz is just now hitting his stride. Again there is a big difference between likely and possible but it’s wise to keep an open mind.

    To add another vet to your QB’s who blossomed in their mid 30’s Rich Gannon who had four consecutive pro bowls in his mid and late 30’s.

  9. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    after his last superman performance at qb when he threw 6tds he came back to his journeyman status, id expect this game to be ugly low scorinf affair this week with the eagles unless foles has a hot streak in him and that defense in tampa can def make foles look good

  10. BigOne Says:

    Let’s clear up something . It’s so stupid to start a qb controversy . All of our QB’s played awesome in preseason . Not taking anything away from Fritz . He played great . The true credit should go to Monken for great play calling and Koetter who didn’t let his ego get in the way of improved offense play. Koetter needs to put someone else in charge of the D now.

  11. Troll-max-con Says:

    Philly 100

    Bucs 6

    Lifetime loser 93 is responsible for everything even for me being too scared to show my face since the week one result-

    My life has crumbled and is spiraling out of control

  12. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    It was one game. One hell of a game. But only one game.

  13. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Fitz has never had this many weapons. Not a lot of QBs have.

  14. Bobby M. Says:

    Rich Gannon….probably one of the greatest end of career surges all time

  15. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Jameis is our QB, and before we get all Giddy, the true credit should go to Monken for great play calling.

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I do not believe there will be a QB controversy. Putting aside any discussions of which QB is better because that is irrelevant to this conversation.

    If Fitz played lights out for 3 or 4 games and went undefeated, that does not change anything. JW is our franchise QB. It’s as simple as that. JW will play well with this cast and the Bucs have an overall #1 pick invested him as well as three years for him to grow on and off the field. Now is the time to cash in.

    But understand…these two thoughts do not have to be mutually exclusive…JW goes on to a great career with the Bucs and Fitz cashes in big time next year when a QB desperate team drafts one high and then signs Fitz as a multimillion dollar insurance policy…to both mentor the kid as well as be ready in case the kid bombs or needs a year or two to get ready.

    Fitz is no threat to JW or his fans. But if Fitz plays as well as we hope and he gets us to 2-2 in time to turn it over to JW to carry us past Atlanta on our way to the playoffs…wouldn’t we be happy when he cashed in on his success after helping us so dramatically?

  17. donuts Says:

    Players have to execute the plays.

    Can we get back to being negative? lol

  18. 98bucsfan Says:

    Let’s remember that jameis hasnt had the OC playcalling and and oline like we have now. I can’t remember a game the oline looked that good. I believe jameis can thrive in this offense just as well as fitzy. Do love me some Fitzmagic though. GO BUCS

  19. JabooBuc Says:

    This team is going to put up points on any team. What I like about their personnel is how versatile that can be. 4 wide with 4 quality WR’s including 2 that can take the top off or they can go double TE set and mismatch the hell out of you.

    If they are coached correctly, then this season should be a lot of fun.

  20. Doctor Stroud Says:

    What impressed me was that Fitz made plays with his feet, especially that last play to get the first down to run out the clock. Go Bucs! #Fitzweapons

  21. Jim Says:

    Good one Joe. Fitz was fantastic and deserves all the credit. And in fact, outside of Florida, that’s all you hear. Locally, it’s a bit conflicted. Lets see how he does, Game 2…

  22. Bird Says:

    I love the people who keep giving credit to the best oline and the best playcalling we’ve had. Pretty sure the offense had all these same weapons last year and pretty much the same oline.

    Not giving Fitz any genuine credit. . Or they are saying Jameis would have been just as successful. Lmao. Shame shame shame

    The dude set all kinds of records in one of the most incredible qb performances in buc history. You know Great qb play can win games all by themselves even with a crappy defense , just like the same crappy defense last year.

    Just like Aaron Rodgers putting the team on his back last night.

    Can Fitz magic keep this going ? Who knows ..but give the man his credit.

  23. Buccaneer Bill Says:

    Steve Deberg? Really? He was just good enough to get you beat. (I read that back in the day, but I’ve forgotten who said it.)

    Deberg was nowhere near as good as Fitz is and has been.

  24. BrianBucs Says:

    If Winston will keep his eyes and ears open and his mouth shut, he can learn a LOT about playing QB in the NFL from Fitz

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    It’s really quite cool how fans are not taking the bait on the whole QB controversy. It’s actually a very appealing look for a fanbase. I think we are all smart enough to see we have quite a few games to be played out before any decisions need to be made……..And at the end of the day I don’t think anybody cares with how awful the team has been for years.

    We are all just excited to have a prideful team to root for…….I could care less if it was Glennon out there yesterday or an amputee.

    Just give me good football!! GOO BUCS!!!!!!!

  26. passthebuc Says:

    I know you guys are young but you are forgetting George Blanda

  27. Says:

    Thanks Joe.
    GO BUCS!!!

  28. BrianBucs Says:


    Or Billy Kilmer and Earl Morrill

  29. Rod Munch Says:

    Oh God, chill out people, I forget where I heard it today but a few years ago Fitz threw up 6 TDs one week, then the next week threw for 130 yards. That’s always been Fitz’s rap, he’s wildly inconsistent, and guess what, you’re not going to have back to back to back career games. If it happens, if I’m wrong, if Fitz has 1400 yards and 15 TDs after week 3, then feel free to mock me and say I know nothing about football, but in the meantime chill out people and have some realistic expectations. Watch the game yesterday, the WRs were running wide open and we were playing a dome where weather is no factor, and Fitz hit every single one of those deep balls except one. I loved the game, loved watching it, but the Fitztruthers are ridiculous, they’re like the people that saw Wade Boggs hit a HR in the Rays first game ever then expected that he’d break every record and get one every single game.

    Anywho lets hope the 130 yard Fitz isn’t there next week and we at least get a good performance at home. Lets hope he can hold it together through at least week 3, and if he’s still hot, then sure, roll with him for as long as he stays hot. But Jesus people, calm down thinking a career game is his new norm. Lets just hope he doesn’t kill the next over the next couple of weeks and can squeak out another win.

    BTW since you mentioned DeBerg, to open the 1987 season Steve DeBerg threw for 333 yards and 5 TDs with a 129.0 passer rating as the Bucs routed the Falcons 48-10. The next week he turned the ball over 4 times and was benched for Vinny.

  30. Trench War Says:

    I thought the same as soon as he went 3-1 as our starter. There’s something more to it other than just dumb luck. Teammates having total confidence in their general really is a tangible commodity and they show it. Just like the same confidence the team obviously had with Brad Johnson. Just keep taking notes Jameis, it’s your team when you come back but use this as a valuable teaching moment. Absorb it like a sponge because Fitz has the experience that could benefit you going forward.

  31. Mike Says:

    @chrisroofclean… let’s give credit to the q.b that can deliver the ball to a receiver in stride so he can run after catch and to the q.b that gets rid of it quick so there are no sacks or fumbles. Most of those throws yesterday would have been completed with Jameis but a lot of stoping and jumping or sliding just to make the catch. I love fitz but he is a back up and old but those plays were open last year so helluva job by fitz to get it done

  32. Buc21 Says:

    He played awesome, but America’s QB is still better joe

  33. webster Says:

    @ bird

    U are blind. The bucs do not have the same oline as last year. Oamphile and evan smith rotated at left guard. Sweezy was a bust. Ali was at center for the first time and then got hurt which means the undersized hawley came in. Dotson got hurt as well and sweezy got hurt. This oline as of yesterday gave the qb the best protection they have ever had. Lets not forget the last 3-4 games there was no dotson, ali, sweezy etc. Fitz had all day to throw. While i give him credit for hitting the open man, i dont give him credit for doing what any nfl qb should do backup or starter. The bucs oline has ranked as one of the worst for the last 3 years. Yesterday’s execution was different. Even the running game was solid. Lets not overthink this. Fitz is on his 8th team for a reason and no, 35 years old is not in his prime. This is not the 1st game where fitz has looked great but we also know that his ceiling is but so high. All fans like me has ever said is give jameis a oline and running game then you would really see fireworks. Every pass fitz made came from a clean pocket. He did his job as a journey man qb. The eagles game he will not have the same time to throw i dont think. How will he look then?

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW if you want some great comedy, go seek out some Saints podcasts. Listen to their game previews and then their complete and total meltdowns afterwards. It makes for fantastic listening.

    Quick recap: First guy on local radio said the Saints will win by at least 20 and the Saints defense will completely shut the Bucs down. On another show the guy said the Bucs roster is ‘trash’ and the score would be 48-10 with the only TD being on a muffed punt. I was laughing my balls off listening to these different shows talk nothing but trash and then hearing the completely meltdown and throw a fit afterwards.

  35. BigMacAttack Says:

    Super Bowl Bucs vs Raiders. Chucky loses 48-24. 😂

  36. JimmyT Says:

    I am a Jameis homer but FITZ deserves all the credit. I beiieve this offense has so many weapons. This O LINE IS BETTER because Marpet is where he should be, we have a stud center so FITZ was not harassed at all. The difference between FITZ & Jameis is when FITZ sees an opening he RUNS. 12 runs yesterday and the game winner. FITZ single handily WON this game. We r now playing w house money since everyone thought we would lose all 3 games. Jameis would have played great yesterday however he would not have run like FITZ did. FITZ running was HUGE! If Jameis scrambles like FITZ he will be awesome at some point this year. That is the One thing I hope Jameis learns from FITZ, RUN!!

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    Gruden is going to bench Carr at some point this season, book it.

    Also Martin of course looks good, just like he did last year when he had any blocking at all. Of course the box score watchers think Martin was terrible, but he wasn’t, and as I said all offseason he’ll get at least 700 yards in Oakland and look good doing it, assuming Lynch doesn’t get hurt. If Lynch does get hurt, or just gets high and forgets to show up for a few games, then Martin will get over 1000.

  38. Trench War Says:

    Martin is a north south runner. He lacks lateral movement with stiff hips. We are better off that he’s in Chuckyland.

  39. Rod Munch Says:

    Trench War – BUZZZ… Martin is a quick twitch runner where if you give him any room at all he busts through the line and picks up a quick 10. He doesn’t have a top gear, sort of like Warrick Dunn, probably because they’re shorter guys without long strides. He’s the best RB in team history, the only 1st team all-pro runner, and Joe was trying to run him out of town before his 2015 season as well as the dopes on this board. The guy last year, when given any type of chance, picked up yards, but most of the time he was having to get past 3 guys just to get to the LOS. Go search for Doug Martin Buffalo Bills runs on YouTube and watch that tape, he averages 2.4 yards a carry in that game and looks incredible. Doug wasn’t the problem last year, the God awful offense line and terrible Dirk play calling. I think Peyton at RB is fine and I think he’ll have a nice year – I’m not down on him, but I think Martin still has a productive year left in him as well.

    As for are the Bucs better off? If it means the Bucs abandon the idea of being a smashmouth offense and instead stay aggressive and use the pass to setup the run, then yes, the Bucs will be better off.

  40. 2002WasALongTimeAgo Says:

    Last 4 games started:

    Winston 1-3, 7 TD, 5 int

    Fitz 3-1, 7 TD, 1 int

  41. Trench War Says:

    Rod Munch

    No we are better off without muscle hamster

    he made way for Peyton Barber, who I say given a full season can emulate muscle hamsters best season. I enjoyed him at his best but he sort of soured his relationship here and it showed on the field as well. Good luck to him with Chucky. Chucky likes rehabbing wayward vets.

  42. Rod Munch Says:

    “Peyton Barber, who I say given a full season can emulate muscle hamsters best season.”


    I like Barber, I really do, but he’s not a 1st team all-pro running back who is going to lead the league in rushing. Come on man, that’s nuts and just being a ridiculous homer, it’s like saying you think Humphries can lead the league in receptions, or Ryan Smith has a bright future.

  43. Trench War Says:

    Rod Munch

    what’s with you and your negativity? I’m hoping that Barber can stay healthy can put up 1200 yards easily. You live in the past, I’m looking forward.

  44. Rod Munch Says:

    Trench War – Ah, so you’re saying you think Barber can outproduce the current Martin best effort going forward – not Martin’s best season. Yes, that I agree with, I don’t think Martin will have the chance again to be the guy, not unless Lynch falls asleep with a crack pipe and sets himself on fire.

    Anywho I like Barber, I’m not down on him at all, just saying he’s not a 1st team all-pro, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think 1200 yards is a bit high but not by much – I think he’s closer to 1000 yards since Ronald Jones will at some point get some carries, but Doug and Sims combined for over 2000 yards in 2015, so a combined 1500 yards isn’t unrealistic at all. I just hope this isn’t an issue as the Bucs throw, throw and throw some more. A 62/38 pass to rush ratio would be great in my opinion and would limit Barber a bit, but in that situation he’d be ultra productive.

  45. Trench War Says:

    Rod Munch

    your second paragraph was right on but my gut tells me that the passing game will help the running game and Peyton has the ability to side step would be tackles for extra yardage. Even with only 15 to 20 touches a game he will post decent yardage and will hit some homeruns. He has very lucid hips and can change direction very quickly. I guess I’m a homer even though I knew nothing about him until Martin washed out. I just think it’s critical for us to be able to rush the ball at more than 2 yards a carry.

  46. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW I made the prediction that Carr gets benched this year as soon as Gruden was signed, he’s a soft QB who won’t be able to handle Gruden yelling at him all the time and he’ll fall apart – sort of like he did tonight. Lucky for Carr his backup has only been there a couple of weeks, if he had been there longer Carr might have been riding the bench as soon as tonight, and staying there for a while.

  47. Trench War Says:

    Carr played poorly ..he telegraphed too many plays. ..and the Rams kept 7 in the box disguising blitz packages so well that he seemed to struggle deciphering the rush. He was baited a couple times especially by CB Marcus Peters. Chucky will work with Carr to a certain point but if Chucky feels another QB could play better he sure has never been afraid to try. Carr could find himself on the pine at some point.

  48. Rod Munch Says:

    Carr is mentally weak, that has been what everyone says about him, he’s a guy that can’t handle criticism and just shuts down when he hears it, you have to baby him to get anything out of him. If that is true, and everything I’ve ever heard about the guy says that it is, then hiring Gruden was basically the worst thing the Raiders could have done. Gruden hates young guys and hates young QBs, he wants someone to go out there and run the plays exactly as he tells them to do it, he just wants an extension of himself out there, and Carr isn’t that. I don’t think Carr is bad, he’s just a terrible fit for Gruden.

  49. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    It was either 1990 or 1991 – but I’ll never forget how Steve DeBerg took the Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs with a broken finger.

  50. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    That Coaching staff was stacked w/
    • Defensive Coordinator – Bill Cowher
    • Defensive Backs – Tony Dungy
    • Running Backs Coach – Bruce Arians

    • Christian Okoye
    • Barry Word
    • Harvey Williams

    • Derrick Thomas
    • Neil Smith
    • Bill Maas
    • Dan Saleaumua
    • Albert Lewis ← How’s he not in the HOF?
    • Kevin Ross
    • Deron Cherry ← How’s he not in the HOF?

    Extremely talented roster – just couldn’t make a deep playoff run.

  51. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Loved watching Derrick Thomas play. RIP.

  52. Buc1987 Says:

    I liken Fitz’s situation to this….

    Parents spoil their kid with a bunch of new toys.

    Kid’s friend comes over to his house.`Mom grounds kid for the day.

    Kid’s friend gets to play with the new toys.

    Weapons for Fitzy!

  53. AlabamaBucFan Says:

    If Fitzpatrick continues to win these hard games, then it will be interesting who starts the 4th game. I am guessing, the bucs would not stir the pot until after the bye week.

  54. Godeep66 Says:

    Let’s just hope the preacher boy cancer (JW) does not make it back in the locker room. We would have lost by 21 if he would have started. He does no have the mental horsepower to read NFL defenses, Fitzy does.

  55. Godeep66 Says:

    @buc1987: you are the same clown that was burying Fitz last week. Get a job Spam boy

  56. Tampabucfan88 Says:

    @Godeep66 you really think fitz is going to throw 5td every week come on man also as for the record fitz only beat one good team and also factor the d looked good against the jets and fitz looked bad heck he could have lost that game for us now let’s look at the game u complain about that Jameis lost he comes back against the pack the line gets a sack fumble but he brings the Bucs back and put the Bucs in a position to win what happens the defense drives the the field gets a td Detroit puts them in a position to win all the d gotta do is get off the field could do it alt puts the Bucs in Fg rang to set up a ot miss kick carolina same thing but the buc have the panthers on 4th down Swaggy Baker jump off sides so u can complain and try to get rid of Jameis all u want but wanted to bench him for fitz cause of one game come on man

  57. BringBucsBack Says:

    For the “Jameis can do the same thing with good o-line play and the new play-caller” crowd: have you already forgotten all of the deep passes (dimes-all of them) that Fitz connected on and Jameis has proven repeatedly that he is nearly incapable of, especially with any regularity? Let’s not even talk about the penchant for turnovers either.

    It is early and it is only one game but, if they keep scoring; Jameis keeps sitting!

  58. joestang Says:

    Don’t know if Jameis would have hit jackson and evans in stride on the long throws. FITZ has touch and common sense, don’t know if that is teachable.

  59. Tampabucfan88 Says:

    Okay so we just forgot how he threw those rainbows in the preseason also forget we got a different play caller

  60. Broy34 Says:

    Hey maxi pads and Lakeland where u guys at. Awfully quiet huh

  61. Brandon Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    September 10th, 2018 at 11:41 pm
    Trench War – BUZZZ… Martin is a quick twitch runner where if you give him any room at all he busts through the line and picks up a quick 10. He doesn’t have a top gear, sort of like Warrick Dunn, probably because they’re shorter guys without long strides. He’s the best RB in team history, the only 1st team all-pro runner, and Joe was trying to run him out of town before his 2015 season as well as the dopes on this board. The guy last year, when given any type of chance, picked up yards, but most of the time he was having to get past 3 guys just to get to the LOS. Go search for Doug Martin Buffalo Bills runs on YouTube and watch that tape, he averages 2.4 yards a carry in that game and looks incredible. Doug wasn’t the problem last year, the God awful offense line and terrible Dirk play calling. I think Peyton at RB is fine and I think he’ll have a nice year – I’m not down on him, but I think Martin still has a productive year left in him as well.—–


    WHAT? Are you frigging kidding me? Dunn didn’t have a top gear? Dunn was extremely fast. That was one of the few things his tiny self did have was break away speed. It has nothing to do with height, BTW. Most Olympic sprinters are in the 5’9 range. Usain Bolt and his 6’4 frame is the exception.

    And Doug Martin is the best RB in the team’s history? I don’t even like Warrick Dunn and know he was a better RB than Doug Martin. Hell, I was one of the few people that wasn’t happy that we gave up on LaGarrette Blount and drafted Martin. Blount has had quite a bit better career than Martin in the NFL…. but the best, by far, RB in Bucs history was James Wilder. His 1984 season was unparalleled by anybody in the history of the league. Maybe he didn’t make first team all-pro because some guy named Dickerson ran for 2105 and there were guys like Payton and Curt Warner that were pretty impressive too. But Wilder ran for 1554 that year… on 407 carries while adding in another 85 (EIGHTY FIVE) receptions. The carries alone were a record that wasn’t broken until 1998 when Jamal Anderson logged 409 for the Falcons but NOBODY has come close to the 492 total touches that Wilder had from that season. The season that HE WAS the ENTIRE OFFENSE. The next year he came back with 1300 yards on the ground and went on to play nine years with the team.

    James Wilder is easily the RB to ever wear the Bucs uniform. Doug Martin isn’t even close.

  62. Rod Munch Says:

    Brandon – No, Wilder was not the best RB in team history – he was the guy that got the most carries in a season. He was a workhorse on some very bad teams but he was closer to Reggie Cobb than to Doug Martin on the scale of runners for the team. Dunn, had he stayed in Tampa, would easily have been the best RB in team history, but he didn’t. Doug Martin meanwhile was a two time all-pro RB.

    Also Dunn did not have a top gear – and that isn’t an insult you dope. For years you’d see Dunn break something and get pulled down from behind by a safety or a LB – he was a little guy with a short powerful stride, something that gives you excellent agility. I loved Dunn and hated when he left, and I loved when he came back – but Jesus Christ people, have some basis in reality when evaluating guys. He WAS faster than Martin, but if it’s like a 10 point scale you’d have Ronald Jones as a 10, Dunn at like a 7 and Martin at like an 6 on the top gear scale. Of course I mentioned Jones because it’s sure to trigger someone who literally has no idea what they’re talking about.

  63. Buc1987 Says:

    Godeep66…don’t be jealous.

    Point to where I was burying Fitz last week….you dolt.

    Now we all know your fake. Nobody was burying Fitz…..

    Find where I said it or stop telling LIES!!!!