Greg Cosell: Ryan Fitzpatrick set for his 'best year'


On a Texans team bursting at the seams with backup quarterback types, Ryan Fitzpatrick holds the early lead to suit up as Houston's Week 1 starter.

The team's official website on Friday called Fitzpatrick the "odds-on favorite" to win the job, while first-year coach Bill O'Brien sees the upside to housing a battle-tested veteran:

Around The League predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | 49ers | Rams | Seahawks

"We really liked his intelligence," O'Brien said Friday, per "We liked the fact that he had played a bunch of football. We liked that he played football in a similar system relative to Chan Gailey's system in Buffalo. We liked the fact that he was a guy who we thought would be a good system fit meaning he was an intelligent guy, a good leader, a guy who was an accurate passer. We felt like what was best for the Houston Texans was to find a good fit at quarterback for our system."

Pitted against the enigmatic crop of Case Keenum, T.J. Yates and rookie Tom Savage, Fitzpatrick gives O'Brien a safe if uninspiring veteran option with 77 NFL starts since 2005.

Having worked under Mike Martz, Greg Olson, Bob Bratkowski and Gailey, Fitzpatrick's finest work might come under O'Brien, according to NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

"It wouldn't surprise me if Fitzpatrick has his best year in the NFL. We're not suggesting he's a top five quarterback but I think he's got some tools. I think he's a smart kid, he's got some movement to him," Cosell recently told Nashville's WGFX-FM. "He throws the ball in a way I don't love. He sort of drops his arm at times. It's not quite sidearm but at times it can be and he's only 6-2. So there are some limitations there, but I think he could have his best year as a starter under Bill O'Brien."

Cosell might be on to something, but a "best year" for Fitzpatrick only requires that he eclipse his previous passer-rating peak of 83.3 with the Bills in 2012. With 51 interceptions over the past three seasons, simply coaching down the ill-advised throws would make Fitzy a less frustrating player at the position.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the best receiver group in the NFL, and goes deep previewing the season with Bucky Brooks.