Former Highland High ‘gunslinger’ Embracing Fresh Start

Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming home.

Well, sort of .

The former Gilbert Highland High star quarterback returns to the Valley in his first game with his new team as the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals open their pre-season schedule in Glendale Saturday evening.

Fitzpatrick, who went on to star at Harvard after his prep career ended, signed a two-year deal contract with Houston after playing one season in Tennessee. He was named the starter by first-year head coach Bill O’Brien in mid-June.

To this point, Fitzpatrick appears comfortable in the new offense.

“Ryan Fitzpatrick is a bit of a gunslinger,” the Voice of the Texans Marc Vandermeer told’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview this week. “I think Fitzpatrick has embraced the offense well.”

The success of O’Brien’s offense is predicated by the quarterback making adjustments in the call at the line of scrimmage after seeing the defensive scheme. This doesn’t appear to be a problem for the Ivy League grad who’s entering his 10th season in the NFL.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable than I did in the spring,” Fitzpatrick told the assembled media last week. “A lot of it is just getting out here and doing it in practice [and] hopefully getting some good reps in the pre-season to get my timing down a little bit.”

The 6’2, 223-pounder said going against the Texans’ talented defense each day in practice has been a nice launching point to making the right reads in the new offense.

“There’s a lot of multiple looks,” he explained. “They certainly give us a lot of different looks on defense.”

Before his one-year stay with the Titans, Fitzpatrick played for Buffalo, Cincinnati and St. Louis. He’s thrown for 14,000 yards and 100 touchdowns. Playing with talented receivers Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins you’d expect to see those numbers increase dramatically deep in the heart of Texas.

Kickoff at University of Phoenix Stadium is set for 5:30.

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