QB Ryan Fitzpatrick**
Monday, November 26, 2012
Q: WR Stevie Johnson was talking about maybe you would have better luck calling the plays. How would you feel about that?
A: I think Stevie…I do not know if maybe it was taken out of context. I have talked to him a little bit today about what he said, what he meant and why he said it. You will have to ask him all of that stuff and maybe a day after thinking about it, being able to see what was written about it he will kind of let you guys know what he was talking about.
The two things about Stevie that I will say—one is he is fiercely loyal. I think coming out of that game there is a lot of criticism on me, always when we do not win and rightfully so. I think that was probably part of it. That was a way for him to show that he had my back. That is something I appreciate. The other thing is he is as competitive as can be. We saw that even on the interception. Fighting and getting the fumble. He does not like to lose. He came out and kind of said some stuff that was on his mind. I think it was not necessarily I need to be the offensive coordinator, I think it was more that sometimes we get into a better flow when I am able to go out there, and especially with him and the way that he runs routes and things, give him some routes and the line and do some of those different things. That is something we have done a lot in the past and we did a few times in the last game. I think that is what was on his mind.
Q: Are you comfortable with the level of autonomy you have in the offense?
A: Yeah. Chan (Gailey) and I have worked together long enough now that I have a ton of freedom. Even in year one I had a good amount of freedom. There is a lot of give and take with that. I feel 100-percent comfortable. It is not always on the field, it is not always during a specific play. Sometimes that stuff happens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when we are sitting up in our meeting room and talking about plays, things that we have installed and what we are trying to attack.
Q: Would you welcome the opportunity to call more plays if HC Chan Gailey gave you that opportunity?
A: We could sit and talk about this forever, but I have a lot of freedom in this offense. Chan gives me a lot of freedom and I am happy with it.
Q: But do you need to have more? Is that Stevie's point?
A: You will have to ask Stevie, but I feel like there is a lot of trust between Chan's play calling and what I do on the field sometimes when I switch things up. There is a lot of trust there. You will have to talk to Stevie about what he was talking about but that is all I can say on that.
Q: You talked about the criticism that you get, but there was a lot more towards Gailey. Doesn't his loyalty to his coach come into play there?
A: Yeah it does. I was not sitting there listening on what he was talking about. I know this morning he was a little distraught because he felt like what he was saying got misconstrued as he was questioning Chan and that is not the point he was trying to get across. You can ask him. He loves Chan. If you look at what Chan has done for him. He did not really get on the field and play until Chan got here. After last season Chan had a decision to make, did he want to bring Stevie back or not? Nobody would have questioned it either way. He wanted Stevie back and brought him back. Stevie owes a lot to Chan and I know he understands that.
Q: Gailey has said many times that he feels the team is making progress. Do you agree that the team is making progress?
A: It is tough because you look at our record. We are 4-7. Last year we started off hotter, we started off with a better record. It is frustrating to turn on the film and watch to just see that it is a play or two here or there. We had three big down the field throws that could have broken open the game. We only completed one of them. We had some bad behind the chains deals, we were second-and-long, third-and-long, that stalled some drives out. There are just little things that come up in games that we are not good enough to overcome right now. We just have to continue to get better in those areas.
Q: Eleven games into the season, shouldn't you expect more from the offense?
A: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is we have been inconsistent. Unfortunately the last month or so we are heading in the wrong direction in terms of our production has dropped off and is not where we want it to be. For us, that is disappointing. We just have to continue to work and continue to fix things that we are not doing well.
Q: What can you say about a tempo change? No-huddle is a part of your playbook. It is an option you can turn to, I would think?
A: Yeah, and that is something that when I first heard Stevie's comments that is a lot of what I thought he was talking about. Just in terms of in years past we do not have any momentum when we are kind of dead out there. When we are three-and-out or four, five, six plays-and-out just going on the ball and getting some stuff going. A lot of times when we do that it limits the amount of runs we have. It limits the touches we can get for C.J. (Spiller) and Fred (Jackson). I think that is why we have gotten away from it a little bit this year. That is always something that we need to consider because it is something that can liven up the offense if you need a spark.
Q: Why would the tempo limit the amount of runs?
A: Everything is up on the ball and we are calling things, so we do not have…we have plenty of runs, but we do not have our full package of runs that we would have in the game or different ways to attack the ways that people are defending us. A lot of times with the quarterback calling the plays on the field and that kind of stuff, especially with one-on-one matchups on the outside of the field, you tend to throw a little bit more.
Q: How difficult is it standing here right now knowing that the playoffs are just a mathematical dream?
A: It stinks. We knew that was a big game for us. It would have put us right in contention really right in the hunt. Right now it is dim. The hopes are dim, but there is still a little bit of hope and we are just going to keep fighting and keep playing.
Q: Can you give us an example of the inconsistencies that you mention?
A: Specific examples—I get them to jump offsides and I miss C.J. Then we have a down the field shot to Donald (Jones) we do not complete. Being able to hit those big plays would help. There are also just some runs here or there or some screens, whatever it is. All of a sudden we are finding ourselves in 2nd-and-12 or we have a 2nd-and-five and all of a sudden we have a 3rd-and-nine. The negative plays and the longer third-down stuff we have not been as good with as I would have hoped coming into the season we would be. That is part of it. Sometimes it is one guy or one great defensive play that will ruin a play. It is just getting all 11 guys on the same page and continuing to work at it.