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Improved footwork could help Fitzpatrick flourish

Ryan Fitzpatrick AP

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose Harvard education means that he’s fairly smart (to say the very least), could be on the brink of a brilliant upgrade to his game.

New quarterbacks coach David Lee has studied every flaw in Fitzpatrick’s throwing, and now they are trying to improve the process.

I just go out there and throw; that’s what I’ve done my whole life,” Fitzpatrick said, via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News.  “No one’s really ever taught me how to do it.  Now for a guy to come in and say, ‘This is why you’re missing that throw low,’ for him to actually have evidence for me to look at and say, ‘OK.  It looks like that’s something I really need to work on,’ and for a guy to be as respected as he is, to be as knowledgeable as he is, that’s somebody that I’m going to listen to every time.

“I knew I had a long way to go with my mechanics, but I just didn’t know how to find that person or how to improve at it,” Fitzpatrick added.  “He’s going to be a very big help for me this year.”

From Lee’s perspective, it’s not all that difficult.  “I just saw some things I thought we could correct fundamentally from his lower body,” Lee said.  “Just where his placement of his left foot was.  He was blocking out his right hip to get more power and velocity.”

Lee is encouraged by Fitzpatrick’s progress.  “Fortunately he is so smart,” Lee said. “He sees it on tape. And when he sees it and has evidence as to why it’s going where it’s going, and then trusts and believes that maybe there is something in the lower body that’s wrong. . . .  I’m really pleased with how quickly he’s taken to it but it’s not muscle memory yet, because we haven’t done it long enough.  You throw one way your whole life then somebody tries to adjust some things, it doesn’t just happen overnight.”

If Fitzpatrick can use his brain to accelerate the changes he plans to make when using his body, improvements could come quickly, both for Fitzpatrick and for the up-and-coming Bills.

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19 Responses to “Improved footwork could help Fitzpatrick flourish”
  1. billsfan27 says: Jun 3, 2012 11:53 PM

    Let’s hope so.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 3, 2012 11:54 PM

    “This is why you’re missing that throw low”, said Lee, showing Ryan that he needed to throw the ball “higher”. Sometimes at Harvard they overthink things and miss the obvious.

  3. brenenostler says: Jun 4, 2012 12:37 AM

    Shaving the beard would probably help too

  4. sammyscrawfo says: Jun 4, 2012 1:13 AM

    Can’t wait for this season to start. If this actually improves Fitz and hes healthy this year I absolutely believe they will make the playoffs

  5. Nick says: Jun 4, 2012 2:08 AM

    Fitz is a solid NFL starter but he always has to put way more into a throw that elite NFL QBs make easily. Hopefully Lee will help a great deal.

  6. trbowman says: Jun 4, 2012 2:20 AM

    David Lee is one of the best in the business. He was huge in improving Brady Quinn’s game as well as working with the Mannings and I was ecstatic when the Bills hired him. Fitz is going to silence some doubters this year!

  7. iainrwb says: Jun 4, 2012 2:42 AM

    Springtime fluff piece. Let’s see in in games before getting excited.

  8. buffalomafia says: Jun 4, 2012 3:05 AM

    Why does he under throw the long ball?

  9. buffalomafia says: Jun 4, 2012 3:11 AM

    What about his excuse for under throwing the long ball?

  10. dougy1970 says: Jun 4, 2012 5:10 AM

    Not to Harvard-hate, but just because a guy nailed his SATs when he was 17 (if he even did that) does not automatically bequeath him with the title of “Genius”.

    Fitzpatrick led the NFL in INTs last year and has averaged over 1 INT per start throughout his career. INTs have a high correlation to dumb throws — and I watched in horror as Fitzpatrick made a ton of dumb throws last year. A ton of them.

    Don’t buy into the “Goodwill Hunting”, “Social Network” Harvard Brand Marketing Hype Machine. There are plenty of dumb jocks at Harvard too, you know.

  11. buffalobills2012 says: Jun 4, 2012 6:12 AM

    hopefully his 15 yard out route throws dont look like hes trying to throw a 100 yard bomb. Rodgers Brady Manning they all look effortless when throwing. Fitz looks like his giving birth when he attempts it. With that said, Go Bills!

  12. EJ says: Jun 4, 2012 7:26 AM

    If Fitz learns from his mistakes and corrects a few small details, It could go a long way in helping him improve himself at Quarterback. One of Ryan’s biggest flaws is his touch on the deep ball, It would really improve things if he can master this part of the game. Overall he is a pretty accurate passer, but with a few fixes to his mechanics I think we will see a different QB.

  13. hornbuckle says: Jun 4, 2012 8:04 AM

    Where was his QB coach last year?

  14. exboomer says: Jun 4, 2012 8:17 AM

    Fitz has the ability and the smarts to make the changes he needs to. It takes time to develop the muscle memory to correct mistakes but I think Fitz is dedicated enough to really work at it as was pointed out by Lee. The Bills are very fortunate to have Lee on their staff.

  15. JaminJake says: Jun 4, 2012 9:27 AM

    thegreatgabbert says:
    Jun 3, 2012 11:54 PM
    “This is why you’re missing that throw low”, said Lee, showing Ryan that he needed to throw the ball “higher”. Sometimes at Harvard they overthink things and miss the obvious.

    _____________________________

    It’s ok. You miss the obvious also. Being smart doesn’t make you an expert in biomechanics. If so, every smart person would never injure themselves.

  16. rexachss says: Jun 4, 2012 9:34 AM

    What’s a mechanic?

    Tim Tebow

  17. greymares says: Jun 4, 2012 10:18 AM

    irrelavent Youngs the Q.B. by week 3

  18. dagroovydude116 says: Jun 4, 2012 10:56 AM

    Let’s not forget part of the reason he looked like he was giving birth on throws elite QBs make “effortlessly” was because he was putting a ton of zip on an “easy” out route with 2 cracked ribs.

  19. granadafan says: Jun 4, 2012 1:49 PM

    It’s often said that mechanics are overrated when evaluating a QB. Instead of making a blanket statement about a guy saying that he’ll be terrible based on his mechanics of throwing the ball, people need to truly look at what is “bad”. Aaron Rodgers was bashed irrationally by media hacks when they said he had “bad mechanics” coming out of CAL. No, he just held the ball higher than “normal”. These idiots didn’t look at his stats and how accurate and consistent he was. On the flip side, his non-mentor, Brett Favre, had awful mechanics, but he had a tremendous arm and very quick release. Then there’s Tebow: terrible mechanics which make for a slow release and very inaccurate.

    Good mechanics can help with consistency when throwing under duress when split second throws are necessary. What’s more important is the decision making.

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