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WFT Daily: Heinicke Sees A Mentor In Ryan Fitzpatrick

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Ryan Fitzpatrick gives some advice to Taylor Heinicke between plays. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

Training camp is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.

Fans might only care about the competition between Taylor Heinicke and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but that's not quite the way the former Old Dominion signal-caller views it.

Sure, Heinicke wants to do the best he can during practice; he also knows that Fitzpatrick wants to do the same. But that doesn't mean he can't turn to the veteran if he needs any advice. In fact, that's exactly what's been going on between the two in the first week of training camp.

"We just try to help each other be the best," Heinicke said. "So God forbid he gets hurt or they throw me in there, he's going to want me to be at my best so we can go win some games."

There were certain things Heinicke wanted to accomplish this offseason. The first was to put on 15 pounds to be more durable, and he took care of that before minicamp. Now he's focused on his mechanics, like being more consistent throwing to his left and improving his arm strength. Those are things Fitzpatrick, who's entering his 17th season and learned from scores of other quarterbacks and coaches, can help him improve.

"He pulls me up to the side and he's just like, 'hey, I had trouble in the past with those same things,' and he's trying to teach me what he did to fix those things."

Off the field, Fitzpatrick has become someone Heinicke can rely on to remind him not to take things too seriously. It's his job to compete and make sure he's as prepared as possible to help Washington win, but he's here for a reason. After all, Ron Rivera wouldn't have wanted him back if he didn't earn it.

"He's an awesome guy," Heinicke said. "When things are kind of going tough or if you have a kind of a bad day, he's kind of the guy to crack a joke and make you remember it's a football game."

Fitzpatrick reminds Heinicke of Shaun Hill, who spent the final two seasons of a 15-year career with the Vikings. Hill wasn't with nearly as many teams as Fitzpatrick, but he was in multiple offensive schemes and had collected plenty of knowledge to pass on to younger players like Heinicke.

"Especially for the young guys, you kind of get stir crazy," Heinicke said. "You don't know if you're doing right or wrong and he's a good person to go to and kind of calm me down until you're doing all right."

Of course Heinicke is energized to have the opportunity presented to him. He was waking up at his sister's house this time last year, and now he's at training camp with a team that wants to help him grow. That makes him excited every day.

And yeah, that means he'll be measured against Fitzpatrick on a regular basis, but it helps that it doesn't dominate their relationship.

"I think that's where both of our heads are at," Heinicke said. "So again, we don't really treat this as a competition more as, Hey, let's help each other get better."

Each day during training camp in Richmond, Washington is featuring a different 2021 season home game and giving you an exclusive deal on single game tickets to that matchup. Follow this link to get the deal of the day.

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