The fate of the Buffalo Bills in 2012 will rest squarely on the shoulders of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard grad threw for 3,832 yards last season, along with 24 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions. However, the Bills faded down the stretch after a fast start that had them a big part of the national conversation last fall.
There are still some questions that loom regarding the consistency and depth for the Bills at the wide receiver position. Stevie Johnson is the number one without question, but the rest of the cast remains a mystery. Donald Jones, Marcus Easley, T.J. Graham and Derek Hagan are battling for the number two spot. No.14 believes the wide receiver competition has become very similar to the TV show ‘The Bachelor.’
Ryan Fitzpatrick joined 550 WGR in Buffalo with Schopp & Bulldog to discuss the analogy of being a starting quarterback in relation to being on ‘The Bachelor,’ scheduling one-on-one days with his wide receivers and the challenges of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
We heard Derek Hagan the other day discussing how he needed to spend some time with you to get on the same page. Is it all like the show ‘The Bachelor’ where wide receivers try to get you to like them by giving you extra attention in the hopes of building a connection?
“I think it is very true. Right when I got to Buffalo I would have given my first impression rose to Stevie Johnson. That’s one of those things that you don’t really see on ‘The Bachelor.’ Somebody winning it from day one on. It’s like you’re dating all these different guys and you are trying to form these relationships on the field with these guys trying to get their moves down, trying to get my points across of where I want them to be. It’s hard when you have that many guys that run the routes that many different ways. A lot of times I have to give them an expectation of where they need to be at particular times in their route.”
Do you have to go about scheduling one-on-one days with wide receivers?
“Well one of our media guys does a great job with that, but as a quarterback I think this is a great analogy because as quarterback when you are ‘The Bachelor’ all of a sudden you have those 25 girls and those 25 girls are almost forced to like you. They have to try to be friendly with you. That’s how my receivers are too. I don’t know if they really like me or not, but they have to act like it. They are trying to win me over. We have a lot of fun with that group though.”
You’re a Harvard guy. How hard is this job for you? Is it challenging?
“It is a huge challenge for me and early on…it’s always funny because people think ‘oh this guy is going to be able to pick up the playbook or this guy is going to be starting and he is going to be able to study at night.’ That’s 1/100th of what football is. Of course you gotta know the plays, but as a quarterback to be out there to communicate to get everybody on the same page, to try to expose the one little weakness in every defense, that to me is such a huge challenge every week. Every defense is different. They are trying to attack you in different ways and that keeps my mind going at all times and it is a challenge for me mentally as well as physically. I think it’s a great fit for me in terms of my skill set and the way that I think and kind of how I have evolved as a player.”