Fitzpatrick’s 2016 season was a nightmare compared to the 2015 campaign that saw him throw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns.
During a year that saw Fitzpatrick earn the starting job and then cede it to Bryce Petty down the stretch, the journeyman completed 56.6 percent of his passes for 2,710 yards, 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Fitzpatrick was the only quarterback in the league last season to start 10 or more games and throw at least 17 interceptions while mustering fewer than 12 touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick’s season was defined by shaky stylings under center, and his six-interception performance in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs represented a low point. According to Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson, that game earned Fitzpatrick the worst game grade by a quarterback in the site’s history.
“Fitzpatrick is the archetypal gunslinger who will put the ball in the air and let his receivers try to make a play,” Monson wrote. “He doesn’t have the same physical gifts as a guy like Brett Favre [maybe the ultimate 'gunslinger'], so it will always get him into more trouble over the long term.”
At this stage in his career, Fitzpatrick is a seasoned backup.
Even though he’s provided glimpses of starting-caliber play over the past two seasons, Fitzpatrick’s erratic tendencies have made him a liability as a dropback passer.
He could thrive if he’s thrust into the spotlight as a stopgap starter, but expectations should understandably be tempered if the Bucs call on him to take significant snaps should Jameis Winston go down.