In the early stages of the 2011 season, Ryan Fitzpatrick was becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Since then, he has been becoming one of the most average.
But Fitzpatrick thinks he can turn it around.
“I’m confident. I know there’s a lot of doubt outside,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday, via the Associated Press. “I’m the guy. I’m the guy that’s supposed to turn this thing around. And you know, we’ve still got eight games to do it.”
Actually, there’s plenty of doubt inside. Last week, G.M. Buddy Nix said the team needs to find a franchise quarterback. Which strongly implies that they don’t have one.
Fitzpatrick said Wednesday that he and Nix had a “long chat” in Nix’s office. And all that that implies.
“I understand what happens in the NFL. I understand that it’s a performance-based business,” Fitzpatrick said. “For quarterbacks, you have to win games or else.”
The “or else” is coming, especially since his contract has a $3 million roster bonus due in March and a $4.25 million salary for the 2013 season. If Fitzpatrick doesn’t make Nix believe that Fitzpatrick can be the franchise quarterback for which Nix is looking, Fitzpatrick will be leaving.
“For me, it’s not like I get a shot at this, and if it doesn’t work out I can go somewhere else and do the same thing,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is my shot. This is everything that I’ve worked for. And I know that it’s either going to work here or that’s going to be it in terms of being able to be the guy.”
He’s right. If Fitzpatrick loses his job in Buffalo, he’ll enter the clipboard phase of his career, playing only when the starter is hurt.
Fitzpatrick would go a long way toward keeping that from happening if he beats the Patriots in New England on Sunday.