Can Ryan Fitzpatrick Make a Jump Under New Quarterbacks Coach?

By Jeff Sattora

Buffalo Bills‘ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has already made great strides during his NFL career.  The former back-up from Harvard has improved vastly from his early-career expectations, and is looking to continue to build on that success as the man in Buffalo.

Fitz was solid for the first half of last season, until a reported injury knocked off his play late in the year.  It was clear as the team struggled down the stretch one of the main reasons was the quarterback play.

The quarterback is looking to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and one way he is looking to do that is with the help of the team’s new quarterbacks coach, David Lee.

Lee is entering his seventh year in the NFL, including a stint that helped develop Dallas Cowboys‘ quarterback Tony Romo from an undrafted free agent to a pro bowl player.

Lee is making sure to put in all the work with Fitz, as they have watched a huge amount of game tape from this past season.

“My exact words were, ‘Now look Fitz, you’re the starter here, but this could be rough,’” said Lee. “I had to be careful because you never want to shake your starting quarterback’s confidence and they finished 14th in offense last year so that means he was pretty good. We watched the whole reel, all the right and left throws, the deep throws. I cut them all up from the whole season.”

The two have talked a lot about the “lower half,” especially working with things like Fitz’s footwork. For the quarterback, while it is a little different than how he has worked in the past, he has clearly bought in early.

“I’ve never really had a technician as a coach,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’ve kind of always just gone out there and thrown. And I don’t know why I go out and throw like I do. I just go out and do it. To have a coach like him that’s able to sit there and say, ‘Hey you missed this throw six times last year and you missed it low every time. Here’s why…’ That makes a lot of sense for me. That’s something that I can process and now I understand why I’m doing it and can correct it.”

Hearing things like this, and knowing that Fitzpatrick is clearly a smart player and person, I am very excited to see what he will be able to accomplish next season.

Early last year it seemed like both him as a player, and the whole offense seemed to turn a corner, and while that faded late, with an improved defense and more (and hopefully better) coaching I think that first half of the year offense can come back.

While I don’t think he’ll ever be a pro bowl quarterback in Buffalo, I am confident that he can lead the team to a playoff run.

Follow me on twitter @jeffsattora

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