Getting the opportunity to take a closer look at Ryan Fitzpatrick on the field for the Buffalo Bills the past two weeks, the encouraging part about his play is his willingness to take some shots down the field. Now they haven't connected on a lot of them, but I like that approach.
Fitzpatrick has made some throws that I'm not sure Trent (Edwards) would have made. I'm not saying Trent can't make those throws. I just don't know if he would have made those throws. That being said Fitzpatrick and the offense have benefitted from the way our defense is playing right now. Those turnovers are a big plus for the quarterback and for play calling.
The defense is the biggest asset an offense can have. If they can get you turnovers and get that momentum changed it helps so much. It keeps the offensive coordinator from having to put the quarterback in seven step drops all the time where opposing defenses can get after him.
Carolina took a very straightforward approach last week. They put eight men in the box a lot and said you're going to have to beat us with the pass. They were committed to stopping the run and the Bills defense took a similar approach. The big thing to take away from that game though is if the defense can continue to play that way and help an offense that's not quite there yet, they'll be alright.
But coming up on the halfway point of the season the offense has to really start to do more. T.O. has to start making more plays. He had a couple of drops last week and that can't happen. T.O. has got to be a big part of this offense and it just hasn't happened yet.
With Trent sitting down again this week the extra rest certainly isn't going to hurt his condition coming off his second concussion in one year. But he'll also have that extra time to sit back and watch and maybe see some things that he didn't see when he was out on the field. He'll also be able to get his mental preparation back up to speed, not in terms of getting a game plan straight, but more in getting his own game back and being mentally focused on being the player we all hoped he would be this season. Ultimately, it could be a good thing for him.
Of course if the team continues to win with Fitzpatrick in there it's going to put a lot of pressure on Dick Jauron to make a decision as to who to go with as the starter at quarterback. It would be different if Trent was an established quarterback that has been in the league for six or seven years and a starter for four or five years and had a track record of playing really well. But that's not the case.
He hasn't played up to the standards of the fans and his own standards. I've seen him play and I know he can play, but he hasn't done very well this season. Of all people I hope he pulls himself out of the funk he was in when he got hurt. We need a consistent quarterback week in and week out for this franchise.
A consistent quarterback is a guy that can be here for five to 10 years, not Drew Bledsoe with one good year or Doug Flutie with one good year or Rob Johnson, J.P. Losman. We can all run down the list. We need a quarterback in this league that's going to be here for a long period of time that you can build something around.
It's no coincidence that Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans, New England and San Diego are successful teams. It's because they all have a consistent quarterback that's been playing there in most cases for years. We don't have that right now and I just hope that Fitzpatrick or Edwards can step forward. We need a quarterback the franchise can move forward with into the foreseeable future.
Taking a look at the guys playing in front of Buffalo's quarterbacks, the guys are starting to play a little better. We need some more consistency on the edges. When the quarterback does need to drop back and throw the football they have to give Fitzpatrick more than two seconds to throw the ball.
When you're a quarterback you know in a three step drop you're not reading coverages. You're planting that foot in the ground and you're throwing. If you hold onto the football you're going to get hit.
On a five step drop it's more of a read, but you still have to get the ball out quick enough. A seven step drop is a little different. You have to give the receivers enough time to get deep enough into their routes that you can go through your progressions. We have to see more of that three to three and a half second time frame where the quarterback can make a play even if he has to step up to avoid some edge pressure.
A lot of times the offensive line gets criticized for poor execution, but the quarterback has to take some of that blame too because you can't hold onto the football. When you drop back you know how long it's going to take to go through your progressions. It's either going to be there and you throw it, or you pull it down and make a run for it.
Right now they're going through a period where they're having a little trouble putting a consistent passing game together, but as I've mentioned before we have to hang in there with these guys. We've got to keep pulling for this team and not jump off that bandwagon.
Taking a quick look at the Texans the defense is definitely going to need to step up for the Bills this week. Matt Schaub is having a heck of a season. He's averaging over 300 yards passing a game. They've got some special offensive weapons, though Andre Johnson is not a lock to play this week.
Pressure up the middle is going to be important against Schaub, but it can't be on the defense every week for the Bills. The offense is going to have to put points on the board Sunday if they want to post a victory.