It’s something I’ve been pondering for the last several months.
Yesterday, this thought was once again brought to the forefront of my mind when Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com published this article about Fitzpatrick’s recent work on throwing techniques and signal-caller fundamentals with newly minted and renowned quarterback coach David Lee.
We’ve all become transfixed with the contract extensions handed out, the free-agents signed and the Bills seemingly solid draft. That’s fine. After a decade of irrelevance, we as Bills fans finally have a reason to truly be excited.
But we all know, deep down, that the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick will have a significant impact on the most highly anticipated season in Buffalo in a decade this fall.
We are also aware of what happened to his play last season. Anyone in mainstream media suspecting Fitzpatrick’s contract extension had any influence on his downward spiral is so far off it’s downright comical.
A combination of opposing defenses figuring out Buffalo’s offense, a slew of untimely injuries, a tougher schedule and a supposed rib injury of his own ultimately doomed Fitzy’s 2011 campaign.
Brown’s article is intriguing, as it depicts a forceful Lee quick to identify the quarterback’s many flaws, and a receptive Fitzpatrick willing to take the criticism in hopes of improvement.
But really, can we or should we expect Lee to have such a profound impact on No. 14 that’ll he’ll become a better and more consistent thrower of the football next season and beyond?
It seems logical to think Lee can engrain new fundamentals in Fitzpatrick, especially vastly refined footwork, (no more off-balance tosses) and erase Fitz’s tendency to deliver the ball from that awkward sidearm angle that typically ends with the ball skipping in the dirt, or along those black rubber flakes.
But, at 29 years old, after a decade of playing football that way, is it inconceivable to think Fitzpatrick’s technique can change so drastically that it’ll become second nature and he can rely on the new mechanics in pressure situations?
I’d love to see Buffalo’s quarterback throw with a more over-the-top motion, stand stoically in the pocket and confidently launch passes to receivers.
It’d obviously go a long way in his steadiness and overall production. No, he doesn’t have a rocket, but I’ve always been more concerned with the fact that he frequently seems scared and unsure of himself on a variety of throws.
Then again, I don’t want Fitzpatrick to lose his unique improvisational skills and quarterback quirkiness.
Lee won’t morph the Bills signal-caller into Drew Brees, but maybe a slight alteration is all Fitzpatrick needs to become a capable leader of Buffalo’s rapid-fire offense that should feature a lot of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
I wish I could gauge the influence Lee will have on Fitzpatrick, but this one has me stumped. Was Brown’s article an ultimately meaningless “filler” during the absolutely boring month of May for NFL fans? Or could that post be something we fondly recollect at the end of a career year for a properly developed Ryan Fitzpatrick?