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Humphries: 'It's Great To Link Back Up' With Ryan Fitzpatrick

Adam Humphries catches a pass during individual drills in Washington's minicamp. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
Adam Humphries catches a pass during individual drills in Washington's minicamp. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

It might be a strange thing to say of a quarterback who has spent an average of two seasons with a team, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has been around Adam Humphries more often than not.

For three of the past five years, Humphries has been catching passes from Fitzpatrick either as a starter or a backup. History has shown they are more successful together, as each of their more successful seasons came during the two seasons they were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Their paths diverged prior to the 2019 season; Fitzpatrick signed with the Miami Dolphins while Humphries went north to play for the Tennessee Titans. But now the duo has been reunited, and the chemistry between them is just as good as it was before.

"It's great to link back up with Fitzy," Humphries told Fred Smoot on an episode of Washington Football Today. "We had a great relationship in Tampa [during] the two years we were there together. The two or three weeks I've been here have been awesome."

Fitzpatrick signing with Washington at the start of free agency in March was "a big factor," Humphries said, in his own interest in the team. It is clear why a reunion enticed him, based on their numbers together. His best single-season catch rates came when Fitzpatrick was with the Buccaneers, and he caught 76% of his passes for 378 yards in games where Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback.

"He works his tail off in practice every single day and he's got a lot of quickness to him -- that good subtle burst that he has," Fitzpatrick said in 2018. "He's been a consistent playmaker for us all year long and will just look to continue and continue to get better."

That connection has already come through in team drills, especially in the red zone, during OTAs and minicamp. Humphries beat a defender on a slant during Wednesday's practice to score a touchdown -- a move the slot receiver did with ease when they were last together in 2018. Three of Humphries' five touchdowns, which are a career-high, came on throws from Fitzpatrick.

"Fitzy just makes coming to work everyday fun," Humphries said in March. "You can tell he's got a lot of passion when he plays. He's got a love for the game that not many people have. He just makes playing football fun. He brings a good attitude toward every situation. He's still slinging it. I'm excited to link back up with him and have some fun."

Seeing that Fitzpatrick and Humphries are learning new offenses with Washington, it is likely that the two will rely heavily on each other at the start of the season. There is no shortage of talent among the team's wide receivers, but Humphries is the only pass-catcher on the roster who has previous experience with Fitzpatrick. So, if Fitzpatrick is looking for a quick option in the passing game, he already has an idea of where Humphries will be.

"You know he's going to be in the right spot," Fitzpatrick said, "you know he's going to do the right thing, you know that you're going to be on the same page."

And Humphries also has a good idea of what it is like playing alongside Fitzpatrick. He brings a calming presence to the field on gameday, whether it is in the huddle, on the sideline or in pregame.

"A lot of guys just build up so many emotions pregame or on the bus ride to the stadium, and it gets a little tense at times," Humphries said. "Just being around Fitzpatrick and just the way he carries himself, it's calming and relaxing. It allows you to play freely. I've enjoyed that part of Ryan."

It also helps that Humphries is more familiar with Fitzpatrick's unpredictable playing style. The quarterback is known as a gunslinger who makes high risk, high reward throws. And as the only member of Washington's young receiving corps who has seen those unreal moments firsthand, he knows anything can happen.

"Those are just plays that Fitzpatrick will do," Humphries said. "It's fun being on the field with him because you've got to stay ready at all times because he is fearless.

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