In yesterday’s season-ending press conference, Bills GM Buddy Nix spoke candidly on a number of topics, including his embattled quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick:
I’ve got no reservations about Ryan. He had some bad games. The thing we know for sure is that we’ve seen him do it. We’ve seen him have good games. He’s what we thought he would be. I think when we started losing players and losing weapons for him he compensated by trying to carry the load some and playing with different receivers each week. Sounds like excuses, but they’re reasons…If we put good people around him, we can get to the dance with Ryan.
If you didn’t know this, know it now: barring injury Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to Buffalo’s starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2012 season.
This won’t be a hugely popular move in some circles, as plenty of Bills fans jumped off the Fitz bandwagon as he badly struggled down the stretch.
But here’s why I think Buddy Nix is right, and why I still believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
1) He wasn’t as bad in the second half of the season as his numbers suggest.
I’m not going to claim Fitz was great in the second half of the season. He wasn’t. But this was not a great team around him. The revolving door at offensive line and wide receiver due to injuries really killed this team. And yes, Fitz played some bad games. His league-leading 23 interceptions are certainly worrisome. But really, at least five of those interceptions hit his receivers directly in the hands and bounced off. And four or five more were end of the game “Who cares?” interceptions with the Bills way behind. Fitz isn’t Brady, Brees, or Rodgers, but you can win with Fitz as your starting QB.
2) Buffalo’s not going to get a better option in 2012.
There are two QBs worth taking in the top 10 of this draft – Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (assuming RG3 declares). Neither is going to be there when Buffalo picks 10th. If there turns out to be some decent free agent QBs, they aren’t coming to Buffalo to compete with Fitz.
3) With Fitz’s contract, what other choice do we have?
Here’s the truth: with Fitz’s enormous contract extension, he’s not going anywhere. (We can debate if he should have gotten the extension endlessly, but what’s the point? It’s done now.) And Buffalo’s not going to dump big money into another QB. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bills take a QB late in this draft to develop and maybe compete with Tyler Thigpen for the #2 spot, but that’s going to be extent of it. Fitz is going to be the man. Period.
So if you’re a Fitz hater, you might as well get over it. Because he’s the QB of this team for at least one more year. And belly-aching about it won’t change that. Plus, Buffalo could be worse off. Let’s focus on getting Fitz the help he needs instead of worrying about him.