One Year Wonder at Quarterback?

By Zack Cimini

All around the locker room typically when a team has a poor season the fingers start pointing at the foundation at quarterback. For the Buffalo Bills last season it was the opposite. They were in the majority of their games because of surprising quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He came into the season ranked near the bottom of fantasy quarterback rankings, only too become a fantastic waiver wire pickup and viable fill in starter for teams that were suffering at quarterback.

Gaining confidence from your organization is an ultimate psyche booster. The Alex Smtih treatment the Bills were giving to Trent Edwards finally came to a halt. When the Bills said they have their guy at quarterback as the season unfolded, and in the early off-season, it had to of given Ryan a tremendous boost. Especially this past draft, in which quarterbacks were selected like it was a quarterback sweepstakes in 1999.

Can Fitzpatrick lift his accuracy woes he displayed last year? He only completed 57% of his passes even though he was able to keep defenses off guard?

His rise did come out of no where, since he had opportunities with the Rams and Bengals and didn’t necessarily look like more than a career backup to say the least . The stint with the Rams included an impressive outing against the Houston Texans, but his outings as a Bengal in place of an injured Carson Palmer were awful.

No one could have anticipated Fitzpatrick throwing for eleven touchdowns in his first four starts of the season in 2010.

The I don’t believe it until I see it carried over until that fourth game last year against the Ravens. Fitzpatrick absolutely picked apart the Ravens secondary, with precision and daring throws. His rise led to the catapult of Stevie Johnson, who also shot up the waiver wire to become a more than viable starter. It was apparent that Johnson had become the go to guy, and by dealing Lee Evans, Bills management had must feel secure with Johnson as the number one wide receiver.

Subtract those four games from Fitzpatrick’s year and the year looks blindingly bad. He did not start the first two games, but from week eight on he only threw for multiple touchdown throws twice. There are certain variables that would lead you to believe the reasoning to that. Buffalo never had a consistent running game with CJ Spiller not showing first round pick value as a rookie. Also his decline coincided with the Buffalo winter.

At 28 though, Fitzpatrick is now a capable veteran. Look for him to be the same hot potato type fantasy quarterback as last year. You’ll likely miss out on the four touchdown games, but he will serve his purpose as being a solid fantasy backup quarterback. A bye week filler and worst case injury fill in. Do we see Fitzpatrick throwing for 23 touchdowns in 2011? Maybe not that high. The Bills should get some sort of running game going, that should cut Fitzpatrick’s red zone touchdowns a tad.


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