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Fitzpatrick takes Wednesday reps

Three days removed from the head injury suffered on Sunday by Trent Edwards, Buffalo's starting quarterback was not at One Bills Drive Wednesday as part of protocol following a concussion. Head coach Dick Jauron explained where things stand with Edwards a few days before Sunday's game at Carolina.

"With a head injury we follow protocol," Jauron said. "And that's what we'll do. We'll go day to day. He wasn't involved at all (Wednesday) in any aspect of our work so we'll see how he is (Thursday)."

Jauron would not speculate as to whether this concussion was worse than the one he suffered last year in Arizona. He also did not set a deadline for when Edwards would have to return to work to give himself a chance to play on Sunday.

Ryan Fitzpatrick took all the first team reps in practice Wednesday and will start Sunday if Edwards is unable to go.

"I was the starter at (Wednesday's) practice was how I was thinking about it," said Fitzpatrick. "Whether or not (Edwards) comes back we'll welcome him back with open arms and everybody is hoping he'll be back, but that's how I have to approach it."

After being thrown into last Sunday's game in the first half, Fitzpatrick was glad to get some quality reps in practice with Buffalo's starters.

"It was good for me to get some work with Lee (Evans) and Terrell (Owens)," he said. "Getting thrown in there in the game it was really the first time I've thrown to them. It was nice to see Lee catch a ball and take off and score. The work was good and we'll see. I took advantage of it for sure. We'll see if Trent is back or not."

Though Fitzpatrick's statistics didn't looks all that impressive on paper, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt liked what he saw from the backup signal caller.

"He did a great job in the game and I thought he handled all of the circumstances really well," said Van Pelt. "Getting thrown in there against that team he did some things I wouldn't have even asked anybody to do and he naturally got it done, just from film study and knowing what was coming, he got us into some runs that we didn't have (in the game plan). We had answers for some looks in other formations, so when our answers weren't there with two backs he got it done another way to get the same effect on the fly."

Fitzpatrick is known as an intelligent quarterback with an ability to adjust quickly. His knowledge of the game is so readily apparent that several of his teammates would approach him for his opinion on what he was seeing out on the field even when he wasn't playing through the first five weeks of the season.

"We have a lot of confidence in him," said Lee Evans. "He's a guy we talk to on and off the field all the time. Even coming off to the sidelines he was a part of the offense that was always in there with what was going on and had ideas. He stepped in and played well and now moving forward he can still run your offense."

"He has a great feel for the game," said Van Pelt. "In my short time around Ryan he's unflappable. Nothing really gets him off kilter. He brings a lot to the table."

How much will change with respect to Buffalo's offense should Fitzpatrick play this week remains to be seen. But Van Pelt does not believe much will have to be altered outside of some preferred pass plays.

"There are certain throws he likes and we'll try to get those throws in the game plan," Van Pelt said. "They're part of our system we just didn't utilize them early in the season. So we'll freshen those back up and make use of the things he's comfortable with.

"He's got a big arm. That's one of the things with stretching the field is more comfortable to him. Protection issues is something he's really strong with in terms of knowing who's coming and getting protections adjusted. Those are some of his strong points."

For a quarterback that's new to the team, Fitzpatrick has certainly made a strong impression, which was only strengthened by his ability to help the Bills overcome a 10-point halftime deficit to win in overtime last week.

"He's one of those guys that you can trust and like to be around," said Evans. "Just one of those guys, especially at the quarterback position, that's what you really need."

And after helping the team get a win last week, Fitzpatrick wouldn't mind getting an opportunity to do it again on Sunday.

"I'm anxious," he said. "The best part about being in this offense is the weapons. I want to help the team win. That's all I'm here for. So if I get called on again, I'm going to go out there and do my best and hopefully get another victory."

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