Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 10-26

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2012 – 12:30 pm

Here’s the latest edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

The accuracy required to play QB in the NFL is on another level entirely–and at some point, talent is as important as work ethic and practice.  Is it possible that Fitz is turning into a “head case” with all of these adjustments with David Lee and his throwing mechanics?  What, if anything, are the coaches and Fitz doing to try and stem this problem?  The Bills will only go as far as Fitz will take them.  And I fear if he doesn’t revert to something close to what we say early last season, this team won’t improve much or go very far, no matter how much the defense improves or how much talent they put around Fitz.  It’s a QB driven league.  And while there are examples of teams winning SBs with a less than elite QB, it’s not very common.  And his current level of performance certainly will not be sufficient.  What, if anything, can be or is being done?

Thanks again for your coverage of the team.
Jeffrey Suchocki
CB: Ryan Fitzpatrick even agrees with you that his first half of the season has not been what he thought it would be. His completion percentage is admittedly down (61%) from where it was at this time last year (67.7%). I think we should be encouraged by what we saw in the Tennessee game, save for the late INT.

What went by the board in that disappointing loss was the fact that it was clearly Fitz’s best passing game of the season. He even got off to a fast start, something that doesn’t always happen in games for Fitzpatrick either.

He finished that game 27-35 for 225 yards and three touchdowns with the INT and a passer rating of 109.8. The interception aside, that’s the way Fitzpatrick needs to play for this team to have a chance to win every week. His completion percentage of 77% was the highest single-game completion percentage since the Washington game a year ago this week (77.8%).

So I think the hope is that Fitz has begun to rediscover his rhythm in the passing game. Now we just have to hope that the bye week didn’t disrupt that rhythm and he can have a second half of the season, like he had the first half of last season.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

When a player goes on I-R does he still receive 100% of his pay while he is unable to play?
Thank you again.

Bob Hammond
Rochester, NY

 

CB: I’m not going to pretend to know all the ins and outs of the injured reserve rules so I tapped into the expertise of Bills Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf. So with respect to a player getting his full pay when he goes on I-R, the answer is it depends. 

A player who has a split contract (meaning he gets a lower amount if he is on I-R) will get the lower amount of pay if he goes on I-R (there is a league minimum that corresponds to the number of credited seasons). Split contracts are more commonly seen in rookie contracts and with street free agents. 

It’s rare to see a split contract for a marquee player (e.g. a first or second round draft pick). Most rookie contracts do not include the third year as a split amount. So those players more often than not will receive full pay. However, that full pay may be at a lower amount if it has been negotiated in the deal.

 

3 – Hi Chris,
Just wondering when the Bills are going to turn T.J. Graham loose on some fly patterns. I know at the outset the Bills brain trust wanted Graham to have a better knowledge of the playbook, but with his blazing speed, when will they test defenses? The vertical game will just help Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones more. I know the spread offense is predicated on short and medium range passes, but showing the opposition some danger cannot hurt. What are your thoughts?

Tony, Ormond Beach, Fl
CB: I think it’s something that bears watching. The deep passing game is not a common focus in Chan Gailey’s offense. He’d rather get the ball out quick and let the playmakers get yards after the catch. That being said Gailey does want to have a role for Graham week in and week out. How big the role gets will likely depend on what Graham does with the opportunities he gets. But stretching the field is certainly something he can do.”

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I was wondering if you have an update concerning Tarvaris Jackson and how he is progressing.  Is there any chance he will overtake Tyler Thigpen as the #2 QB or is the task of learning the system a case of too much too soon?  The reason I ask is actually the potential return of Ron Brooks to the 53-man roster at the end of the month.  His expected role as a gunner on the punt coverage team (not to mention adding an extra CB to the mix) means someone will have to be cut.  Could it be Thigpen?

Thanks much,
Jeff Horn

CB: I don’t know what the chances are that it happens this year. Chan Gailey has said time and again that with no time during the practice week in preparation for a game to get him reps in the offense, Jackson is pretty much relegated to third QB status.

I will say that he did get some reps during the bye week practice this past Wednesday, but I don’t know how much weight should be put on that.

As for Brooks they can elevate him to the 53-man roster Wednesday. If they do they have to move someone else off the roster, but I’m not going to speculate about a guy getting released or not. I don’t think it would be Thigpen however, since his contract is guaranteed by virtue of being on the roster through the first week of the season.

 

5 – CB, 

Many fans are simply upset that the Bills haven’t drafted a QB. Why don’t they go after a developmental raw QB, though he might not pan out, it worth having one for either next year. Buddy Nix has passed on too many quarterbacks that are now successful (Andy Dalton). Buddy said he would want to draft 1 QB every year but only drafted Levi Brown in the 7th round. A QB on the squad could be developed in time by Chan. Both Ryan and Tyler were 7th round picks as well both learned under Chan. 
CB: I respect the frustration. Buddy Nix did say at one point that he’d like to draft a quarterback every year, but he had a roster with a plethora of positional needs that he had to fill out first. Perhaps now that the roster is a bit deeper at a good number of positions he can afford to take a QB in the draft.

Philadelphia has made a habit of this, taking a QB almost every year. Nick Foles is their latest example and he’s the team’s backup QB this season.


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