Over the years Buffalo has become one of the teams that loves to have quarterback controversy. From recent battles with JP Losman and Trent Edwards, to Fitzpatrick himself versus Edwards, and the great battle of Drew Bledsoe vs. Losman, and Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. Just like their division rival Miami Dolphins, Buffalo has had just as much of a struggle solidifying their starting quarterback since Jim Kelly retired.
You would think a maximum contract value of 59 million over the course of six years would be the proper vote of confidence in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Oh those tricky Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick’s guaranteed money is only 24 million, which means Fitzpatrick still has to prove himself each and every game.
Buffalo has been much more willing to spend free agency money the past few seasons but none was a bigger statement than offering and securing Mario Williams. With the offense young and on the rise, Buffalo believes they could be a playoff contender if the defense rises another level.
It’s not often that a journeyman quarterback for over five years finally finds his niche and begins playing well, as a Rich Gannon or Trent Green were able to.
Fitzpatrick has done that at times. He has advanced with his reads and abilities to throw the football down the field. Areas he still struggles are in the turnover department. When he is off, he can be like Carson Palmer and throw for multiple interceptions like he can afford to. Full time starters in the NFL do not throw two or more interceptions in half the games they played, and that’s exactly what Fitzpatrick did last season.
After getting his new contract, the second half of the Bills season last year was woeful for Fitzpatrick. Some of that can be blamed on not having his bread and butter running back Fred Jackson. Jackson was the beat to the offense, and did more than most would acknowledge. Weeks nine through eleven Fitzpatrick threw two touchdowns and a total of seven interceptions. Followed by another stretch in December in which he threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Those are stretches that would find most starters on the bench, and may have happened to Fitzpatrick last year if it were not for the contract he landed. Buffalo made a lot of commotion this off-season for a backup quarterback and landed both Vince Young. A journeyman many figured would put the heat on Fitzpatrick for starting snaps.
We all know how the preseason went, and Young was cut as a result. In many preseason battles teams would stop right there with quarterback acquisitions and have faith in there other backups. Tyler Thigpen is a quarterback that has started in both Miami and Kansas City, and won the backup quarterback position.
One solid backup is not enough for Buffalo and they decided to trade for Tavaris Jackson.
If you’re Ryan Fitzpatrick there must be sub conscious thoughts that the organization is having its doubts with him. He has fought off the doubts the past few seasons, but an area he has to cement for the organization is his consistency. When he is on, Fitzpatrick can be that quarterback gem you started on y our fantasy team and got away with it. When he is off he can be the sole difference in a loss for your fantasy team.
Something is up in Buffalo with all the quarterback moves they have made. Some would believe it’s just to have insurance at quarterback. Look around the NFL and look at the backup propositions if injuries were to occur. Less than ten teams probably have a quarterback that teams would be comfortable having to start beyond one game.
Downgrade Fitzpatrick’s fantasy value going into 2012. Just as the last few seasons, his play on the field would have to develop for him to have waiver wire meaning. I do not believe he finishes the season as Bills starter. His interception rate just gets to high at crucial stretches.