Ryan Fitzpatrick’s two years in Cincinnati were forgettable, record-wise. But the experience of replacing an injured Carson Palmer in 2008, and taking the reins of the Bengals offense, is something that has stayed with the 12-year journeyman.

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“I took over an 0-5 team for the rest of the year, and I think we got to 0-9. It was tough, but it was one of my favorite years that I’ve had as a quarterback because it was the first time that I had taken over for the remainder of the year,” said Fitzpatrick, who threw for 1,905 receiving yards, eight touchdowns and nine interceptions in 12 games as a starter that season. “I learned so much when I was there, not only about the quarterback position, but myself and fighting through adversity. We ended up finishing 4-3-1 the last eight games that year and they turned that into a decent season the next year, and I’d like to think the way we stuck with it, the way that we fought through some stuff — football isn’t always easy — so that was very trying, but also a great learning experience for me.”

At the time, Fitzpatrick didn’t know that eventually he would become a starter again. In 2009, he went to Buffalo as a backup and the rest, well, is history. But the Jets quarterback still credits Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and former quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese for shaping him into the signal-caller he is today.


The Jets veteran quarterback is coming off a career year, throwing a career-high 3,905 yards and a franchise-record 31 touchdowns. But Fitzpatrick often falls into bad habits at the worst time. “Obviously, you don’t want the interceptions,” oach Todd Bowles said. “And you don’t want the turnovers.”

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Fitzpatrick had 15 interceptions in 2015, 10 of them coming in losses.