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Gailey makes the switch: Fitz to start at QB Sunday

Posted Sep 20, 2010

With his history with Trent Edwards brief, there was some thought that Bills head coach Chan Gailey might hang in a little longer with his starting quarterback to see if things would change for the better. After a pair of substandard performances however, Gailey pulled the plug tabbing backup Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starter at quarterback.

“As I said the other day we’re always trying to look for the right combinations to get this team on the right track and headed in the right direction and we’re going to make a change at quarterback,” he said. “Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this week and he’s going to take the reins and we’ll see where that takes us.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity and obviously we have a lot of work to do and we’ve got to correct a lot of the things from the last two weeks and we have a tough opponent this week in New England,” said Fitzpatrick. “But I’m excited to get out there.”

Gailey said that Fitzpatrick will be the starter for the foreseeable future. Though the reasons why seem obvious on the surface, Buffalo’s head coach knows changing the quarterback is sometimes the quickest way to get better results on the field.

“We’re looking for a spark,” he said. “We’re looking for something that gives us a new look, a new thought process, some new play on the field. We’re looking for the right combination. We haven’t found that yet.”

“I think Chan was just looking for something,” Fitzpatrick said. “Sometimes the best thing to do is move the pieces around a little bit and see what combinations fit. So he’s hoping that it’ll happen with me.”

Edwards struggled in the team’s first two games despite having one of the better preseasons of his four-year career. He completed just over 55 percent of his passes and was averaging a career low 4.63 yards per attempt, which is also the lowest in the league after two games. Edwards was also sacked seven times, and Gailey was quick to point out that Buffalo’s struggles on offense are more than just a quarterback problem.

“The implication might be that it’s all Trent’s fault and that’s not the case,” said Gailey. “We’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to work on. We’re just looking to try to get the right combination going with personnel and maybe it fits better with Ryan. We’ll just have to see as time goes on.”

Gailey said Edwards handled the news with professionalism and he will serve as the team’s backup quarterback behind Fitzpatrick. It has to feel like déjà vu all over again for Edwards, who was benched after a Week 10 loss at Tennessee last season and did not make another start that season.

For Fitzpatrick it’s another opportunity to rescue a team that’s floundering on offense. Last season he appeared in 10 games for the Bills including eight starts. Counting a relief appearance at New York last season he compiled a 5-4 record for Buffalo. He believes they can make vast improvements on offense in the short term.

“I’m going to go in there and I’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of things. I’m excited and hopefully I’ll be able to draw from my previous experience and help us succeed.

“There’s a lot of good things that this offense can bring to the table. We’ve got a lot of guys, a lot of different weapons. For various reasons, the first couple of games we just haven’t gotten it done. That’s the good part, is that there are pieces in place to get it done and we just have to get on the right track and get in some sort of rhythm.”

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