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What exactly happened to Fitz?


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#1 Derek in Va

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:21 PM

As a Bills fan, I always want to see the team win with the players they have.  Unfortunately, the players we have don't alway live up to that.  I've been as critical as anyone around Fitz and his inability to find that extra something to close out games.  The guy just seems to do just enough to lose.  With that being said, what exactly happened?

When he got his contract extention, I remember being perfectly okay with it.  Here's a guy who would make some mistakes, but was absolutely making all of the throws.  Remember the infamous SJ drop against the Steelers?  That was a perfect deep ball that I've never seen Fitz throw since.  Remember the Oakland game last year?  That guy orchestrated every single one of those drives and was moving up and down the field at will.  The Ravens game from two years back, he was throwing bullets into coverage that only our guys could catch.  Was he perfect, no?  But could he make the throws and get it done...usually.

Now, unless it's a crossing route 15-20 yards down field, it seems like Fitz has no chance of completing a pass of 10 or more yards.  It's all YAC for him.  When is the last time he his his guy just running deep?  We know we've tried.  Every single infuriating 3rd and 2 reminds us of that.  And the problem is, they aren't even close.  They are terrible throws.

I just don't understand what happened.  I want him to succeed, I do.  But I'm honestly surprised that teams play cover 2 against us with our complete inability to throw deep.

This isn't meant to be a bashing thread.  I could even care less about the int against the Pats at this point.  Eli throws INT like it's his job and still finds a way to win.  Mistakes happen.  It just seems like he lost his ability to do the complete job

#2 ShipUPride

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

Honestly, I have to question David Lee changing up his throwing motion.  That or his arm is incredibly weak.  I've never seen an NFL QB that couldn't hit 1 deep pass a game.

#3 firedawg

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

I think David Lee may have something to do with what we see on the field this season. We know Fitz was mistake prone but he could gut out a win. See NE and OAK games last year. He isn't a pocket passer which I think Lee is trying to force him to be. I also think prior to his contract extension there were no real expectations placed on him. Once the extension came it almost appeared he stopped with the gun slinging and tried not to lose. Expectations wether his own or somebody else's could very well be the problem.

#4 Stealth

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:08 PM

well last year- Once Donald Jones started showing promise he got injured. Then Fred Jackson got injured. Then most of the offensive line got injured. Then fitz was playing with bad ribs and e where down to backup centers and tackles.  I mean remember levitre playing center in miami last year? that was a nightmare of epic proportions.  Fred Jackson who before he got injured was the NFL's leading rusher and accounted for 40% of our offense. Spiller was not exactly the CJ we all love today.   This year..... We still don't have a reliable #2 outside receiver.   Our most sure handed wr and reliable slot option David Nelson got injured which imho really hampers this offense.   Fitz is by no means a franchise qb, but he also has not been working with anything close to a full deck.


Fwiw over the last 4 games Fitz is completing 69% of his passes for 242 yards per game. at 7 yards a pass with 5 tds and 2ints. Now granted  those 2 ints came at horrible times, but his overall play has been pretty decent as of late.    Once again yes we need to draft a qb.  However it is my opinion that whoever we draft should not be forced into a starting role, but rather sit behind Fitz for awhile as we build the team.  This team is simply not strong enough to carry a rookie qb, and getting rid of a decent veteran qb could be a detriment to a young player.

#5 Hazed and Amuzed

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

Looking at the numbers Fitz is on pace for 27 tds 16 ints and 3500 yards and he currently has the best QB rating and completion % of his career. The guy can't throw a deep ball if his family's lives depended on it but he's no worse than he's ever been, in fact the numbers show that this is his best year yet.

#6 San Jose Bills Fan

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

View PostStealth, on 21 November 2012 - 04:08 PM, said:

well last year- Once Donald Jones started showing promise he got injured. Then Fred Jackson got injured. Then most of the offensive line got injured. Then fitz was playing with bad ribs and e where down to backup centers and tackles.  I mean remember levitre playing center in miami last year? that was a nightmare of epic proportions.  Fred Jackson who before he got injured was the NFL's leading rusher and accounted for 40% of our offense. Spiller was not exactly the CJ we all love today.   This year..... We still don't have a reliable #2 outside receiver.   Our most sure handed wr and reliable slot option David Nelson got injured which imho really hampers this offense.   Fitz is by no means a franchise qb, but he also has not been working with anything close to a full deck.


Fwiw over the last 4 games Fitz is completing 69% of his passes for 242 yards per game. at 7 yards a pass with 5 tds and 2ints. Now granted  those 2 ints came at horrible times, but his overall play has been pretty decent as of late. Once again yes we need to draft a qb.  However it is my opinion that whoever we draft should not be forced into a starting role, but rather sit behind Fitz for awhile as we build the team.  This team is simply not strong enough to carry a rookie qb, and getting rid of a decent veteran qb could be a detriment to a young player.

View PostHazed and Amuzed, on 21 November 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

Looking at the numbers Fitz is on pace for 27 tds 16 ints and 3500 yards and he currently has the best QB rating and completion % of his career. The guy can't throw a deep ball if his family's lives depended on it but he's no worse than he's ever been, in fact the numbers show that this is his best year yet.

I'm gonna have to ask you boys to leave.

#7 We Come In Peace

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:19 PM

View PostHazed and Amuzed, on 21 November 2012 - 04:09 PM, said:

Looking at the numbers Fitz is on pace for 27 tds 16 ints and 3500 yards and he currently has the best QB rating and completion % of his career. The guy can't throw a deep ball if his family's lives depended on it but he's no worse than he's ever been, in fact the numbers show that this is his best year yet.
Despite that, it is just not enough to get the job done.

#8 mitchmurraydowntown

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

If this is Fitz's best season, the experiment is over.

#9 mrags

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

Great point hazed. Again, if the defense was even a quarter of what we hoped for and not dead last in about every category, we'd have a winning record, in the hint for not only the playoffs but the division and we'd all be happy with Fitz' play so far. As it stands he will again break Kelly's passing records this year. He already got the yardage last year Didnt he?

#10 KollegeStudnet

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:22 PM

Despite and/or a portion all of his stats coming in garbage time...Fitz has a record of 19-31 as a Bills starter

Edited by KollegeStudnet, 21 November 2012 - 04:23 PM.


#11 matter2003

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

Fitz seems to be much better and more accurate the last 4 games, and the numbers bear it out...throws to the sideline look crisp, and the ball is getting there in stride for the most part...there has been a very noticeable difference in his throws from the beginning of the season...not sure whether he is finally getting his mechanics down or what...

Over the last four games he has been 96 of 140(68.6% completions) for 969 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs, good for a 94.0 QB rating...

His overall rating for the year is pretty much the same as Phillip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Tony Romo, and ahead of Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, so to say he has simply sucked would not necessarily be accurate...

My problems with Fitz lie in his inconsistency and his abiity to make the big throw when he needs it(ie, the end of the game, etc).  Sometimes he looks as good as anyone in the NFL, other times he looks as bad...I will admit he has started looking a lot better recently tho...

Edited by matter2003, 21 November 2012 - 04:37 PM.


#12 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

I heard a rumor from a reliable source that Lee's coaching was screwing with Fitz's head during games...too much to think about, etc.  So the last couple games Fitz is just chucking the rock like before, mechanics be damned.

PTR

Edited by PromoTheRobot, 21 November 2012 - 04:36 PM.


#13 Best Player Available

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:38 PM

What happened to Fitz? Nothing, he has played to his full potential his entire NFL career. He's tough, a team first guy, but has shown he is not a NFL starter that can win consistently. His accuracy has been in question since he was first drafted into the league in the 7th round. Other than Brady there's a reason a lot of QB's last that long on the board.Some become adequate back ups exactly  where Fitz was intended to play when the Bills brought him in. Pre Gailey.  Clutch games is when he plays his worst. Great guy though.

Thanks Chan!

#14 Ryan911t

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:41 PM

My friends and I have talked about this quite a bit. Lee forced him to alter his throwing motions and mechanics so its going to take a long time before the results started to show, especially if he just started doing it in training camp.

I've played a sport where I had to change my mechanics after playing a certain way for over six years and it took me another year before I had things pinned down to the point where I was playing better. I got worse before I got better. It just takes practice and reps to build muscle memory. With Fitz, he struggled early and is now starting to perform better towards the end of the season after slowly becoming more comfortable with the new mechanics. Now, I'm not saying that he's going to be some elite quarterback, but will likely be average.

#15 ko12010

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:52 PM

View PostDerek in Va, on 21 November 2012 - 03:21 PM, said:

As a Bills fan, I always want to see the team win with the players they have.  Unfortunately, the players we have don't alway live up to that.  I've been as critical as anyone around Fitz and his inability to find that extra something to close out games.  The guy just seems to do just enough to lose.  With that being said, what exactly happened?

When he got his contract extention, I remember being perfectly okay with it.  Here's a guy who would make some mistakes, but was absolutely making all of the throws.  Remember the infamous SJ drop against the Steelers?  That was a perfect deep ball that I've never seen Fitz throw since.  Remember the Oakland game last year?  That guy orchestrated every single one of those drives and was moving up and down the field at will.  The Ravens game from two years back, he was throwing bullets into coverage that only our guys could catch.  Was he perfect, no?  But could he make the throws and get it done...usually.

Now, unless it's a crossing route 15-20 yards down field, it seems like Fitz has no chance of completing a pass of 10 or more yards.  It's all YAC for him.  When is the last time he his his guy just running deep?  We know we've tried.  Every single infuriating 3rd and 2 reminds us of that.  And the problem is, they aren't even close.  They are terrible throws.

I just don't understand what happened.  I want him to succeed, I do.  But I'm honestly surprised that teams play cover 2 against us with our complete inability to throw deep.

This isn't meant to be a bashing thread.  I could even care less about the int against the Pats at this point.  Eli throws INT like it's his job and still finds a way to win.  Mistakes happen.  It just seems like he lost his ability to do the complete job


I think people have hit on some but not all factors together. And for those who say "Fitz pads stats in garbage time" don't forget that alot of ints come during these times when there's almost no chance to win but we are throwing out of desperation. This is true of almost all the QB's in the NFL. Just don't choose one or the other to fit your argument. That said, here is my take.

*When we finally started clicking a little on O (after the 0-8 start) Gailey's scheme was pretty fresh and other teams were a little surprised by some of the talent our 'nobody's' have. But just like with new QB's coming in and lighting it up, opposing teams and coaches adjust. What's frustrating is that like you have pointed out, Fitz really did used to hit on a ton of passes over 20 yds but under the 40-50 mark. His fly pattern ball has always been somewhat hit or miss. Gailey's reliance on the short 1-2 second WR patterns has hurt us. DB's play up and disrupt these rather easily. I know the Pats* pass D isn't great, but Fitz was throwing the deeper patterns really well.

*As someone else mentioned, Fitz working on mechanics has made him "think" too much. This is true of any athlete who tries to change a physical motion. It takes time. A long time. Look at Tebow. He attempted to change his motion from college to the pros but one offseason, even as hard as he works, is not enough. I almost wish Fitz hadn't tried to change his mechanics. Hopefully they are starting to come together, but if an athlete is too conscious of the motion that their sport requires, they start to 'guide' instead of throw or whatever they do, with confidence.

*More expectations may have played a role in his drop down. He's shown he CAN lead his team back and put his team in position to win, but as for closing out wins, he has to continue to develop this along with the rest of our guys. Too many players, not just Fitz, have not stepped up in crunch time. This needs to be a team effort IMO.

*The injuries last year really hurt the offense. We were primarily a running, screen, and quick strike offense before that, but with the injuries, especially to the O-line, we couldn't give FItz enough time to drop back into deeper patterns.


Bottom line: I still believe in Fitz. I think Gailey needs to be more aggressive with his calls as far as throwing deeper goes. I'm not talking about fly patterns, but 15-30 yard patterns. I've seen Fitz hit these alot when called. He has the arm strength IMO

As the team continues to improve as a whole, I think our ability to close out games and develop a killer instinct will improve as well. My fear is not in Fitz. He has a lot of qualities that make up a franchise QB. I'm more worried about Gailey's mismanagement of the clock/timeouts and his handful of terrible calls a game and Wannstadt.

Part of me does trust Nix when he says continuity with this regime will prove the right course.

*Disclaimer---IF there is a QB option available that is clearly better than Fitzpatrick, I'm for it (who wouldn't?) But I'd like to see us stick with him for next year.

Edited by ko12010, 21 November 2012 - 05:03 PM.


#16 San-O

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:58 PM

View PostShipUPride, on 21 November 2012 - 03:46 PM, said:

Honestly, I have to question David Lee changing up his throwing motion.  That or his arm is incredibly weak.  I've never seen an NFL QB that couldn't hit 1 deep pass a game.

Fitz was BAD last year and he's BAD this year.  He can't throw the ball downfield.  JUst re-watched the Miami game play-by-play.

Fitz is just bad.  And most all of the completions he does have are short, outside screens or to Spiller out of the backfield.

He's just not an NFL QB.

Everyone need to just deal with that.

#17 ko12010

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:00 PM

View PostPromoTheRobot, on 21 November 2012 - 04:36 PM, said:

I heard a rumor from a reliable source that Lee's coaching was screwing with Fitz's head during games...too much to think about, etc.  So the last couple games Fitz is just chucking the rock like before, mechanics be damned.

PTR


PTR - this is exactly what I thought and feared ever since we got Lee and started talking about "fixing Fitz's mechanics". I am a professional golfer, and I know that changing a motor skill is incredibly tough, whether it is throwing a baseball, football, or hitting a golf ball.

First you have to understand the mechanical change, then you have to feel it, then you have to practice it, then you have to do it in game simulation, THEN you have to bring it to the 'real' games, and you need repetition in those and positive results help as well.

Think of Tiger Wood's swing changes: he is arguably the best golfer EVER. He has made major swing changes 3x now. Each change took minimum 18 months to achieve and many tournaments after to start feeling comfortable. So basically 2-2.5 years. Not for an average player, but the best ever.

Now golf is more complicated than throwing a football, but Fitz making a change in 1 offseason and being able to react in game situations as opposed to thinking and guiding and steering the football was a lofty goal. Add to that Fitz, as a super intelligent Harvard grad is likely someone who uses their brain alot more than say, (no offense) a mike vick in his prime or a Big Ben, and you have a recipe for trouble.

View PostSoCal-Surf, on 21 November 2012 - 04:58 PM, said:

Fitz was BAD last year and he's BAD this year.  He can't throw the ball downfield.  JUst re-watched the Miami game play-by-play.

Fitz is just bad.  And most all of the completions he does have are short, outside screens or to Spiller out of the backfield.

He's just not an NFL QB.

Everyone need to just deal with that.


Just such an over simplified statement. Really holds no weight in a real conversation on this topic.

#18 Meathead

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

fitz started the season very poorly but hes not even close to the problem now. in fact, hes been playing quite well lately and its only fans built up impression and prior disappointment that prevents them from seeing that

even his admitted weakness, the long ball, might very well be coming around. consider all the pi calls against the fish that were to prevent long passes from being completed - they looked like they were in the right spot and it was only holding up the receiver that prevented them from being completed

hes still got a bit to go to get back to where he was at the start of last year but other than the horribly timed pick that contributed to the loss hes been far more part of the solution than the problem, and certainly plenty good enough to win if the defense wasnt epic bad most of the time

#19 HOUSE

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:05 PM

Its just another case of the bullhead clapp...... :w00t:

#20 NewEra

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:08 PM

View PostSoCal-Surf, on 21 November 2012 - 04:58 PM, said:



Fitz was BAD last year and he's BAD this year.  He can't throw the ball downfield.  JUst re-watched the Miami game play-by-play.

Fitz is just bad.  And most all of the completions he does have are short, outside screens or to Spiller out of the backfield.

He's just not an NFL QB.

Everyone need to just deal with that.

I'm pretty hard on fitz, but I wouldn't agree with your last statement.  I think he's a lower tier starting QB/goodn2nd stringer. To say he's not an nfl QB is incorrect.  He's not a good starting QB would be more accurate IMO.  You are correct that he cannot throw the ball downfield.  I cringe when we throw a long ball on 3rd, I have zero confidence that it'll be completed.