One of the first major decisions made by interim head coach Perry Fewell was making a change at quarterback. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the starter for Sunday's game at Jacksonville with Trent Edwards taking a seat on the bench. But it's clear that the situation at the most important position on the team is a fluid one.
"We just felt like form the offensive staff and myself, we just felt like Ryan gives us the best opportunity this week to go down to Jacksonville and get us a win," Fewell said. "Coming out (of the lineup) he was 2-1 and was playing relatively well and we felt he gives us the best opportunity to win against Jacksonville."
After making the decision, Fewell had offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt inform Fitzpatrick that he was starting this week. The decision was made after former head coach Dick Jauron was relieved of his coaching duties Tuesday.
When asked if the switch to Fitzpatrick is a permanent one, Fewell stated that nothing was set in stone.
"It's week to week, day to day, " said Fewell. "We just felt our timing with Ryan, our situation for this week was the best situation for him."
For Fitzpatrick being named the starter based on performance rather than injury had him excited about the opportunity.
"I think that when you're losing, everybody is looking for answers and it's hard to say that everything is falling on one guy because as the offense, I think everybody can look in the mirror and say, 'I can play better,'" said Fitzpatrick. "That being said, I'm very excited to get out there and play, and try to get the team some wins."
Fitzpatrick's numbers certainly don't impress on the stat sheet with a completion percentage under 50 percent with two touchdowns against four interceptions, but his teammates seem to only care about the fact that he won when he was under center.
"I think Ryan, number one he is a veteran," said Terrell Owens. "He has a lot more experience. There are some situations where he will be able to buy time with that experience. There will be some times where he can assess the defense and really take some shots down the field. We're looking forward for the opportunity with Ryan. Obviously he was 2-1 before the bye week when he was in there. Personally I felt like it was his job to lose, but again there are things that are out of our control."
Though Lee Evans acknowledged it doesn't really make a difference which quarterback is playing there are definitely aspects to Fitzpatrick's game that he admires.
"Some of the things that Fitz does is really good," said Evans. "When he played before he stepped up and made some big plays. I think it will help and we've got a lot of confidence in him so I'm excited to see him play."
Fitzpatrick did demonstrate a greater willingness to throw down the field compared to Edwards and wasn't as hesitant to throw the ball into tight windows as evidenced by his two-yard touchdown pass to Evans at Carolina.
With respect to his individual play, there are some areas that he's looking to improve upon from the first time he saw action this season in Week 6-8.
"I think just a little bit more composed probably in the pocket," said Fitzpatrick. "You get a little rusty not being in there just with all of the things that are flying around you. The different blitzes and rushes, so I think just being able to hang in there, trust in my guys to make plays on the outside, but other than that, just getting out there and playing like I know how to play."
Fewell made a point of focusing on the team's run game as he put the team in pads Wednesday and had them banging on each other. He's hoping that improving the run game will lead to greater play action options for the offense.
"We need to work on our run game and the pads were a way to do that," said Fewell. "I just felt like Jacksonville is a very physical football team and going into this week we needed a mindset of being physical and so I wanted to put the pads on to send a message that we're going to be physical."
Even with a new head coach in place however, Fitzpatrick and some of the other players on the offensive side of the ball aren't expecting much to change schematically.
"It's possible," said Evans. "But we're also banged up on the offensive line as well so some of the things we can do we're a little limited with. I think the bottom line is just trying to get players the ball, and any way we can do that."
"I don't think a ton (will change), but he will bring a little bit different attitude and a little bit different coaching style," said Fitzpatrick of Fewell. "Offensively, he is the defensive coordinator, so he's not going to have a huge hand in what we're putting in and what we're doing, but he will certainly have the final say on some of the decisions that go on on Sunday."
"Our offense is pretty much still the same," said Owens. "But I think we will have a different approach this Sunday. We know the Jacksonville Jaguars. They bring a lot of pressure. We've watched a lot of film, we are going to try to account for that, and we're going to go down there to get one win."