Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/11/12

There's a problem with Bills' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Its not an injury. Its not his relationship with his coach or teammates, he isn't in contract disputes and he's not having any problems grasping the Bills' offense.

Simply put, its that he's not a good quarterback. He's not even an average one. And the trance he seems to have the Bill's organization and fan-base in needs to be broken.

In October of last year, the Bills signed Fitzpatrick to a six-year $59 million contract extension after bursting out of the gates to a surprising 4-2 start, while averaging over 30 PPG. During this period, Fitzpatrick and the Bills orchestrated two 18+ point comeback wins, including a home win against the Patriots that snapped a 15-game losing streak to their division rival.

Hopes were high, and some thought that the Bills had finally found their first real franchise QB since Jim Kelly.

This is pretty much where the good news ends.

After signing the contract, Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a 2-8 record in their final 10 games, and finished the season as the NFL leader in interceptions with 23.

Bills fans who were already skeptical about signing a former 7th-round journeyman to such a major extension became downright panicky. And rightfully so.

But after a long and fruitful off-season that produced a starting LT (Cordy Glenn) and CB (Stephon Gilmore) through the draft, as well as perhaps the biggest free-agent signing in Bills' history in Mario Williams, Bills' fans did what we normally do in the months leading up to a new season...we forgot.

Here is a basic progression of the average Bills fan's perception of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

October, 2011: "Boy Fitzpatrick has looked great this year, I think the Bills' are smart in locking him up."

January, 2012: "Six-years $59 million?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? What a waste! We have to draft a quarterback, otherwise we are screwed!"

April, 2012: "That was a great draft, we look pretty solid heading into 2012. If Fitzpatrick can just play OK..."

July, 2012: "You know, Fitzpatrick did throw for 3832 yards last year, if he can step it up a bit we could make the playoffs with him as our guy..."

3:00PM September 9, 2012: "Wow....he's just.... he's just awful. We're toast."


That's right, folks. Let it soak in. Ryan Fitzpatrick is bad. Real bad. We just needed a little reminder. And three interceptions resulting in 21 points in the first half of Sunday's game vs. the Jets did the trick. Bills fans have an ability and tendency to cling to microscopic-sized bits of hope, but now its time to embrace and accept the truth about our lovable, bearded QB. Hes not leading the Bills' to a Super Bowl. Not now, not ever. The sooner we, and more importantly, the font office realizes this, the sooner we can cut our losses and look for a new leader.

Fitzpatrick is not big, hes not tall. Hes not overly athletic, and has a relatively weak arm. He is not accurate, and does not posses great pocket awareness. He throws off his back foot way too often, and continually 'pats' the ball before passes which gives defensive backs an extra split second to jump on already weakly thrown balls.

Fitz' is a gun-slinger with no gun to sling with.

For those of you who think he can still be good, or even OK; let me throw some numbers your way.

In Fitzpatrick's career he is 18-34-1 as a starter, with 71 TDs and 68 INTs. His completion percentage is 59.1 and his average YPA is 6.3. His career passer rating is a 74.8. Fitzpatrick has never played in a playoff game and has never been to a Pro Bowl. Fitzpatrick has been in the league since 2005, and has started 53 games; if seven years and 53 starts is not a large enough sample for a QB, I don't know what is. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not, and never will be, a good NFL QB.

Football fans love underdog stories. We love that Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round, and that Arian Foster went undrafted. When players get passed on or overlooked, and then turn into great players, its fun and inspiring and great to root for. But the reality is that for every Tom Brady, there are 10 Spergon Wynn's. And the fact of the matter is that if Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to be the next Tom Brady, or even just the next Marc Bulger, we would know it by now. Realistically Fitz' is closer to Spergon Wynn and the CFL than being a Pro Bowl or Super Bowl QB.

Ryan Fitzpatrick somehow managed to acquire an ultra-rich contract off the merits of a mostly middling career; so the Bills are in quite a pickle. The Bills are too good of a team to go into 'rebuild mode', but are possibly stuck in mediocrity due to bottom-tier play from the most important player on the field. Massive investments of time and money will drag this marriage out much longer than it should go, but if you're a Bills fan, you should be used to this.

A 12 year playoff drought and talks of moving to L.A. don't lend the asset of time to the Bills, so all their fans can do is cling to hope.

Hopefully the Bills can ride a stout defensive line and emerging star C.J. Spiller to the playoffs.

Hopefully Fitzpatrick can turn it around next week and play up to the potential Bills fans hope he has...but I wouldn't count on it.

 



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