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Former Bills TE coach thinks Fitzpatrick is “average to below average”

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Pete Metzelaars was relieved of his duties as the Bills’ tight ends coach along with the rest of the team’s coaching staff at the end of the 2012 season and he’s not shy about sharing his thoughts about why the team underperformed to the point that they decided to clean house on the sideline.

Metzelaars points the finger squarely at quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, saying that finding a quarterback has to be the team’s No. 1 priority this offseason. Metzelaars had some unkind words about the play of the defense as well, but his comments made it clear that he thinks Fitzpatrick’s play was the biggest reason why he and his former colleagues lost their jobs.

“If you have a dominating defense, you can get by with an average to below-average quarterback. If you don’t have a dominating defense, you need a winning quarterback in the NFL,” Metzelaars said, via the Buffalo News. “Fitz is an average to below-average kind of guy, and unfortunately he made some bad decisions at the end of games and then didn’t make plays at the ends of other games we had chances to win. So it’s got to start there.”

Metzelaars pointed to several close losses as games that the Bills could have won with better play from the quarterback, leaving the Bills with a better record and, perhaps, Metzelaars with a job. You could chalk his comments up to hurt feelings, but the fact that the Bills are bringing Tarvaris Jackson back for an “open competition” this offseason suggests that the former Bills tight end isn’t the only one who feels the Bills need more at the quarterback position.

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31 Responses to “Former Bills TE coach thinks Fitzpatrick is “average to below average””
  1. stubbyjones says: Feb 20, 2013 12:23 PM

    He is absolutely right.

  2. allnflfan says: Feb 20, 2013 12:24 PM

    “Average” is far too kind. 14 is a C-minus player on his best day. He won’t be around in a Bills uniform much longer.

  3. bigpap says: Feb 20, 2013 12:27 PM

    No way is he average or below average. The Buffalo Bills need to keep him under center for the next ten years.*
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    * Denotes comments made by a Patriot fan knowing full well that Fitz is way below the Sanchez line in terms of being to play at a high level in the NFL.

  4. buddysguys says: Feb 20, 2013 12:28 PM

    tell us something we don’t know Pete

  5. jetstizzi85 says: Feb 20, 2013 12:28 PM

    Sounds a bit “bitter” but he is right. The Bills should have won more games and would have if they had a better QB. I doubt Jackson is the answer to that though.

  6. profootballwalk says: Feb 20, 2013 12:28 PM

    Translation: I never want to work in the NFL again.

  7. scrp2 says: Feb 20, 2013 12:29 PM

    Average to below average? Tell you what, we’ll give you Romo, Felix Jones and a 2nd round draft pick for Fitz. – Dallas Fans

  8. blacknole08 says: Feb 20, 2013 12:30 PM

    He’s right though.

    Since he got the new contract in 2011, Bills have had a chance to win a bunch of games in the closing minutes only to have Fitzpatrick throw it to the other team.

    Bills are the only team this century not to make the playoffs. Their fans deserve better than that.

  9. fargovikesfan says: Feb 20, 2013 12:40 PM

    if they’re expecting to get “more” out of Tarvaris Jackson…. I’m sorry Bills Fans. The only thing more they’ll get out of him is his patented Jump-No-Pass.

  10. dspyank2k11 says: Feb 20, 2013 12:41 PM

    Pretzelarms did play for a good one though so he should know.

    Unfortunately, I think 3/4 of Buffalo also knows what we have in Fitz

  11. rickastleydancemoves says: Feb 20, 2013 12:42 PM

    I love how the “bills mafia” were chest pounding and talking trash like they were a Mario Williams away from winning their division, instead of a legitimate franchise quarterback. I’m not a Patriot fan, but as long as they have Brady and Belichick, I can’t take any other team in that division seriously.

  12. nytroutdog says: Feb 20, 2013 12:46 PM

    He’s spot on. The contract for Fitz was premature and they’ve been paying for it for two years with another, it would seem, on the horizon.

  13. Cereal says: Feb 20, 2013 12:51 PM

    here comes Nassib

  14. kgun80 says: Feb 20, 2013 1:10 PM

    Thanks Big Red! Most fans knew the guy was a backup, a stop gap at best! Most smart Bills fans were convinced he was there to help a rookie learn but we were extremely surprised when they didn’t draft one last year.. So now were on pace to draft Nassib… JP Losman 2.0! Here we go again

  15. freepretzels says: Feb 20, 2013 1:11 PM

    I think Pete knows what a good QB looks like. Kelly was a gunslinger done right.

  16. citizenstrange says: Feb 20, 2013 1:15 PM

    Fitzpatrick may very well be average or below average but I bet if the Bills had the number one defense in the entire NFL he could have at least gotten them into the playoffs.

  17. EJ says: Feb 20, 2013 1:17 PM

    rickastleydancemoves says: Feb 20, 2013 12:42 PM

    I love how the “bills mafia” were chest pounding and talking trash like they were a Mario Williams away from winning their division, instead of a legitimate franchise quarterback. I’m not a Patriot fan, but as long as they have Brady and Belichick, I can’t take any other team in that division seriously.

    No chest pounding here. Far from trash talking. We Bills Fans know that we are still a QB, 2nd WR and Linebacker away from taking that division back. Anyone who thought different doesn’t really follow the team. -#Billsmafia

  18. longtermbuffalonian says: Feb 20, 2013 1:33 PM

    I can’t really argue overmuch with this assessment. If you look at Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stats (other than win/loss) – he falls fairly firmly into the “average” range.

    But to be honest:
    1) He’s getting paid like an average starting QB.

    2) The offensive playcalling was terrible. The Bills depended WAY too much on their “average” QB instead of putting the ball in the hands of their “WAY ABOVE AVERAGE” running back.

    and
    3) For most of the season – the defense couldn’t stop anyone doing pretty much anything… (which partially led to more #2 – as being 3 scores down is NOT a good place to be running the ball…)

    To be honest – unlike many Bills fans -I don’t have too many problems with Fitzpatrick. Do I wish he was better? Sure! Do I want him run out of town on a rail? Not unless we have someone else better. (Average is still better than utter suck – which we Bills have seen too…)

    Give me an actual camp competition for the spot and I’m good…

  19. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 20, 2013 1:50 PM

    Guy makes it sound like being an average NFL starting quarterback is a terrible thing. Means you’re one of the top 20 people in the world at your job, and should earn around $10-15 million per year.

    How much do out of work TE coaches earn?

  20. sketchydave says: Feb 20, 2013 2:01 PM

    @longtermbuffalonian

    I agree, yes Fitz has some ducks but after seeing trent checkdowns show no heart, Fitz atleast gives the offense a chance to make plays. Infact I feel from stevies comments, Fitz was limited at adjustments. Gailey lost his balls, too paranoid to lose games, depended so hard on the defense (can’t blame him) that it put Fitz in awful positions. Two games in front of me at the stadium Fitz is given the ball with less that fifty seconds and less than 3 time outs. Theres about five teams who can pull that game out of their ass for a win.

    Not great, but ya average works. God forbid they have even middle of the pack defense with Fitz, then you run more. Damn.

  21. coltzfan166 says: Feb 20, 2013 2:34 PM

    The Bills will draft Nassib in the 3rd round. Nassib will win the starting job (T-JAX will get screwed over, again). And the Bills will either go 4-12 or 5-11.

  22. mazblast says: Feb 20, 2013 2:42 PM

    scrp2 says:

    Average to below average? Tell you what, we’ll give you Romo, Felix Jones and a 2nd round draft pick for Fitz. – Dallas Fans
    ————————————-
    If JJ would be dumb enough to make an offer like that (he wouldn’t, he’s too busy thinking Romo is Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman in one body), Buffalo would be smart enough to take it. They could then cut Romo, let Jones return kickoffs only, and still wind up well ahead.

  23. wiley16350 says: Feb 20, 2013 3:05 PM

    The problem with Fitz is that he has a game managers skill set but tries to play like a gunslinger. To make it all worse, he lacks the accuracy that either needs. I saw a discussion on the Bills message boards about whether Alex Smith made sense for the Bills. Some of the fans said “no” because they already had a game manager qb. I was like, if only that was true. Game manager Qb’s have higher than 60% completion rate in today’s NFL. Fitz was right at 60% in a screen high % passing offense. Alex Smith was at 70% this year to compare. game manager’s don’t have 3.1 int %’s like Fitz did. Smith was at 2.2%, almost 1% better. Game managers don’t lose games by making stupid throws like Fitz did in the Tennessee game. Game managers don’t throw interceptions in the closing seconds against a crappy secondary like the Patriots have, especially when his best player is wide open in the flat. Metzelaars is 100% right, Fitz sucks. He isn’t good enough, all he is, is a competent back-up.

  24. shlort says: Feb 20, 2013 3:56 PM

    Tavaris Jackson is even worse.

    There are very few guys that can carry a team to a win in the NFL. Be realistic about it.

    Teams have to build their team around the QB whether they have a great QB or an average QB. Great QB? You can have a good offense if you build it that way. Bad QB? you need a good D to keep your team in contention in case your QB makes a play to get the win somehow.

    How many bad QBs have been given status as great when they are not? Lots of them. They put up good stats but cant win. They don’t put up good stats and get credit for wins. That is the NFL and it won’t change.

  25. kaprajan says: Feb 20, 2013 4:05 PM

    Why not try to trade for Alex Smith? is Tavaris Jackson really an answer?

  26. sikologik says: Feb 20, 2013 4:15 PM

    scrp2 says:
    Feb 20, 2013 12:29 PM
    Average to below average? Tell you what, we’ll give you Romo, Felix Jones and a 2nd round draft pick for Fitz. – Dallas Fans

    We’re in favor of that! –Redskins Nation.

  27. flakeybiscuits says: Feb 20, 2013 4:55 PM

    This guy gets way too much criticism than he Deserves. I don’t care who was quarterbacking our team this year, our defense couldn’t stop a granny in a wheelchair. Plus we had a coach that loved to punt and play not to loose. yea, hes average, but honestly, QB was by far, not our top problem this year.

  28. genericcommenter says: Feb 20, 2013 7:47 PM

    Pretty much true, but Fitz is above-average where it counts. Which means he won’t be in his 50s worrying about finding his next position coaching gig.

  29. fearthehoody says: Feb 20, 2013 10:55 PM

    It was a good laugh when the Bills gave him a huge contract after 4 good games!

  30. flakeybiscuits says: Feb 21, 2013 8:55 AM

    name a QB since flutie whose put up his kind of numbers for the bills

  31. dtjano says: Feb 21, 2013 7:30 PM

    Fitzpatrick is a backup. 3rd and 10 with him mine as well be 3rd and 30. When he got the job from Edwards he tried to throw the ball down field. This year it was a joke. Not sure if it was Rams or Titans game but they get the ball back with under 2 mins and he’s throwing two yard dump offs.

    It was a joke that Fitz didn’t even have any competition for the starting job after they acquired Jackson. Neither are more than backups but Fitz must’ve been Brady in Gailey’s eyes.

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