Brad Smith says his offseason focus is improving as a quarterback


The Buffalo Bills consider Ryan Fitzpatrick their franchise quarterback and will have a training camp competition between Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen to be the backup. So does that mean Brad Smith will give up the quarterback position in favor of playing receiver and special teams, and only taking snaps in the wildcat formation?

Not according to Smith, who says that he’s spending most of his time with quarterbacks coach David Lee and working more at quarterback this offseason than he ever has in his NFL career.

I’ve never had this opportunity that I’ve got with coach Lee and get the extensive work to work on this kind of stuff,” Smith told “I’m just glad I can see improvement and see things getting better and see things coming back a little bit from a few years ago. So it’s pretty cool.”

One of the reasons Smith was excited about signing with the Bills last year in free agency was that they told him they’d view him as a quarterback first and a runner/receiver/returner second. But when the season actually started, Smith had 23 catches, 20 rushes and 15 kickoff returns, while throwing only one pass — which was intercepted. That suggests that the Bills really view Smith more as an all-purpose athlete than a quarterback.

Smith, who played quarterback at Missouri, doesn’t quite see it that way, though. He says he believes he can help the Bills by learning to play the quarterback position the way an NFL pocket passer would.

“My footwork has improved a great deal,” he said. “Just some things I did in college and now I’m getting back to doing it and correcting those things. My stride steps, my balance, that’s all improved a great deal. Now it’s just about carrying it over to the team periods and going through my reads. It’s all about rhythm playing the quarterback position. Once you get in a rhythm then you can be successful.”

Once Smith has the offense down, he believes he’ll be able to hurt opposing defenses by running many of the same passing plays that the Bills run with Fitzpatrick, while also making plays with his feet.

“It is exciting,” Smith said. “It’s about getting an advantage some kind of way. If we run the same plays that Fitz runs when he’s in the game and then we turn around and run all kinds of crazy stuff it keeps them off balance. We’ve got some things up our sleeve that we’re working on and I think we’ll have some success with it.”

That sounds good. But if last year is any indication, the Bills will use Smith as a runner/receiver/returner, and not as a quarterback, when the real games start in September.

14 responses to “Brad Smith says his offseason focus is improving as a quarterback

  1. It’s about roster flexibility. If they can coach him up enough at QB to feel comfortable enough making him the #3 QB in addition to his other duties, it frees them up to only keep one of those other guys behind Fitz.

  2. Gailey didn’t call a lot of passing plays for Smith because he couldn’t make the throws that Fitzpatrick could. With a little work, with the same guy that is working with Fitz, Brad will be throwing much more this season. Look for a flea-flicker or two, a lot of option passes and a ton of deep throws, Buffalo actually has some speed this year. Easley(same body type as Eric Moulds) should finally see the field, the rookie 3rd round receiver TJ Graham and David Clowney have some after burners too. The receiving crew looks deeper and faster this year, thats why Brad Smith will have more of an opportunity passing this season.

  3. I think the obvious point here is that if Smith knows the playbook, and can run some plays from the pocket, then it’s not a signal to the defense that it’s automatically a Wildcat play when he lines up behind the center. It’s really just about creating some hesitation on the defense about what is coming. Even if he runs the Wildcat 75% of the time, if 25% of the time he’s dropping back, that could create some problems. So I think it’s a good idea.

  4. “Smith had 23 catches, 20 rushes and 15 kickoff returns, while throwing only one pass…”

    And that, folks, is what $3.75 million per season will get ya!

  5. Seriously? This is getting a bit ridiculous, Chan. Fitz is our starter until he struggles, this Wildcat crap doesn’t work. Get Smith some time in a portion of the offense where he’ll be succesful, and don’t fill him up with false hopes. I think Brad can be a pretty productive receiver in our system, if he continues to work at it. This offense can be very good, but it will require consistency, and cohesion from our starters. Running the Wildcat, or throwing VY in for a few plays a game just screws with that. As long as Fitz stays healthy, I could see him, Stevie, and Freddie/CJ in the Pro-Bowl next season. Think Detroit with a running game, and no Megatron, but we have better receiver depth, IMO. 9-7 or 10-6 for the Bills.

  6. Its a smart move by smith as well as the coaches. If he proves good enough, he can be the #3 qb and as the 3 or 4 WR. This is great especially if there are any other positions on a given game day that need more depth. Smith as WR and Wb could free up a spot.

  7. A nice little extra.. It will Make the wildcat more effective it was a great 2nd an short package last year.. Maybe with some speed we can threaten the secondary and not get 8 in the box every time you line up in the wildcat.
    The fact is this team still needs a #2 with speed that’s the key to making this offense very good.. Hopefully Easley can be healthy and be effective. No matter how good our D is, we have to score points!!
    And that gives us 3 QBs better than Tebow..and 2 better than Sanchez

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