He knew it was Geno Smith's team and understood that he was an insurance policy, a veteran who could step in seamlessly if needed.
That day came sooner than anyone could've imagined when the franchise was rocked by Ikemefuna Enemkpali's punch that broke Smith's jaw in the locker room last month.
Just like that, Fitzpatrick was back in a starting role - and he has established himself as a leader for a team that is looking for its first 3-0 start since 2009 with a game against the struggling Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) Sunday.
"We're not good enough to look past anybody," Fitzpatrick said. "At this point, we just have to focus each and every week on the next opponent."