As we come down the stretch of the 2010 season one thing is clear. Ryan Fitzpatrick understands that this is his team now and he's taken that leadership responsibility upon himself to make sure things work right.
There are not many quarterbacks in the league today that will set aside extra time to sit in film rooms with a receiver one-on-one and go over coverages and get a teammate's thoughts about how they're going to run routes or set up defenders.
As I understand it Ryan Fitzpatrick has gone to those lengths, and it makes sense when you think about the young receivers Buffalo's offense has had to blend in through the course of the season. First it was David Nelson at the beginning of the year and then Donald Jones and now Naaman Roosevelt.
Fitzpatrick is smart enough to know as much as they're throwing they have to get everything in sync because it will affect him too. It affects the whole team. It affects his play so he wants to make sure that these guys are on the same page. You have to do that.
For the rookie receivers it's a great opportunity for these young guys to make name for themselves. Some of these guys may not have gotten the chance they're getting now had it not for an injury to the likes of Roscoe Parrish or Lee Evans these past few weeks.
Injuries unfortunately happen, but sometimes it gives a young guy the game time experience to show they can do it. It's a great opportunity for those young receivers.
But my hat is off to Fitzpatrick for doing whatever it takes to get the most out of this offense despite the fact that there have been a lot of moving parts lately. That in turn has helped him show the confidence that the quarterback needs to have in his receivers.
Peyton Manning was getting criticized for throwing interceptions the past few weeks and that's because he's been working with his guys for so long. He's had the same receivers and offensive linemen week in and week out year after year. And after a while you all see things the same way. With all the injuries they've had in Indianapolis that familiarity isn't as strong, and it's led to some uncharacteristic turnovers for him.
Buffalo's going through a bit of the same thing, so Fitz is sitting down with each of these guys and he's making sure they're on the same page with him with respect to the plays and how they're going to react to the coverages. If you see one route and the receiver sees another it's the difference between an interception and a completion for a big play or a touchdown.
It's definitely a cliché, but quarterbacks absolutely have to be on the same page and I'm so glad that Ryan is putting in the extra time and really cares about being a professional. Not everybody would do that, but the quarterback-receiver relationship is so key.
Coming out of the Browns game last week, seeing Eric Wood fill the void at center was an encouraging sign. Wood is a very intelligent lineman and some people have told me that he could play any position on the line if they needed him to. He's that good.
It'll be interesting to watch him again this week at center, against a very stout defensive front in the Dolphins, particularly against the run.
This Sunday starts the team's second trip through the division and with Miami you've got to stop their running game and really force them to rely on their pass game. Yes, they have a big time threat in Brandon Marshall, but the Bills did a good job keeping him in front of them in the first matchup. If they can slow down that Dolphins run game they've got a good shot to get their first division win this season.