So the Tennessee Titans will turn over their offense to Ryan Fitzpatrick for the next week, and probably longer.
Now, can Fitzpatrick keep from committing turnovers the way the way Jake Locker – and everyone else on the team – has through the first four weeks of the season?
The Titans are the only team that has yet to commit a turnover and just the second during the Super Bowl era to get this far without at least one. The 1995 Rams are the only other team that did not lose a fumble or throw an interception in its first four games.
No team has gone through the first five games without a giveaway.
Ball security almost always is an element of success and this season is no different based on the records of the current top four in that regard.
Fewest turnovers, 2013
(through the first four weeks)
Tennessee (3-1) – 0
Indianapolis (3-1) – 2
Kansas City (4-0) – 3
New England (4-0) – 4
Fitzpatrick was signed to be Locker’s backup, in part, because of his experience. He has been in the NFL since 2005 and was a starter for virtually all of the past four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
That experience, though, includes issues with turnovers – specifically interceptions.
Last season he had the fifth highest interception rate among quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts at 3.2. That put him among some dubious company, although it was better than Locker did.
NFL’s highest interception percentages, 2012
(minimum 300 attempts)
4.0 – Mark Sanchez, N.Y. Jets (18 INT, 453 attempts)
3.6 – Chad Henne, Jacksonville (11 INT, 308 attempts)
3.5 – Jake Locker, Tennessee (11 INT, 314 attempts)
3.3 – Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (17 INT, 517 attempts)
3.2 – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo (16 INT, 505 attempts)
3.2 – Jay Cutler, Chicago (14 INT, 434 attempts)
3.0 – Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay (17 INT, 558 attempts)
That figure was the lowest of Fitzpatrick’s four seasons in Buffalo. In 2011, he led the NFL with 23 interceptions and had a 4.2 interception percentage. In 13 starts in 2010, that rate was a whopping 5.2.
For his career, Fitzpatrick has thrown 92 touchdown passes and 81 interceptions and his interception rate is 3.6, which is twice that of the current all-time record holder, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. Others with career interception percentages equal to Fitzpatrick include Kordell Stewart, Kyle Boller and Chris Chandler.
“I’m hoping the system we’re in is different for him,” coach Mike Munchak said Monday. “The way our progression [works] is hopefully different for him.
“We’ve already made that point clear to him that we need to keep the record going. It’s all on him and his shoulders to come in and be good with the football. … He has to play the game the way he plays it. We just want him to be smart with the football and his decision-making.”