Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has time and again explained how Washington's talented youth attracted him to join the Burgundy and Gold in free agency this offseason. But as much as that youth has energized Fitzpatrick heading into his 17th NFL season, Fitzpatrick is here to let you know it's a symbiotic relationship.
"For me, as my career has gone on, and just with the experience factor and trying to help guys gain confidence. My career has been a roller coaster, but I have never lost my confidence," Fitzpatrick told the "Brother from Another" podcast. "That's why I'm still playing 17 years later, and that's one of the lessons that I try to ooze confidence and hope it trickles down to those guys."
Confidence could have been hard to come by after being traded or going unsigned by teams Fitzpatrick played on since first entering the league in 2005. Fitzpatrick's confidence never wavered, though. Not only does hard work and preparation go into maintaining a strong confidence level, Fitzpatrick notes it's something he was born with.
But for those rookies and young players who aren't born with unwavering confidence to pull off amazing postgame outfits or sport an impressive long beard -- let alone play a prolonged NFL career? Fitzpatrick knows why those athletes may falter coming out of the gates.
"For some of the younger guys it's important, because you're always the best at every level and then all of the sudden you get to the NFL and you're not the best guy on the team anymore," Fitzpatrick said. "Those first few years for guys when they struggle are hard. So just being there and understanding the importance of confidence and belief in yourself, that's a big thing."
How can Fitzpatrick help instill the same confidence in Washington's young core?
"I think No. 1 is you have to be yourself. You have to be genuine, if you're trying to be somebody you're not, guys see right through that," Fitzpatrick said. "Unfortunately that happens quite a bit where guys are maybe one way in the locker room and one way to the media."
At 38, Fitzpatrick said while Washington's "youthful energy" makes him feel old, it also made having a normal offseason again that much more enjoyable. From getting to know guys like Logan Thomas on a more personal level to just having fun with OTAs and offseason workouts as a full team again, Fitzpatrick appears to be as settled as possible in his new home.
"The X's and O's are one thing. And I'll figure out how to call the play and where Terry (McLaurin) is gonna be on a route, but getting to know the guys a little bit and starting that camaraderie, to me, when I bounce from team to team, that's one of the most important things."