Nathaniel Hackett: You’ve got to make the quarterback comfortable

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The Bills introduced their new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Thursday and, as you’d expect, he faced a lot of questions about what kind of offense the team would run with him at the controls.

There’s been talk about ratcheting things up in Buffalo, including the occasional mention of the old K-Gun offense from the days of Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas. Hackett didn’t delve into any specifics about schemes, but he did reveal what he thought was the most important thing he needs to do in Buffalo.

“You have got to make the quarterback successful,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “He’s such a critical part in all games. He touches the ball every single time in the run game and the pass game. Anything you can do to help him feel more comfortable back there, because when you’ve got 11 guys coming after him and the crowd is screaming at him. He has to feel so comfortable out there and he has to be willing to take on the world at that moment. I think that the more comfortable you can make the quarterback feel the better he’s going to be out there.”

With a good running game and offensive line in place, the Bills need to work on receivers to up the comfort level for whoever they wind up picking at quarterback but that choice figures to be the one that determines how successful. Hackett evaded questions about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Nassib, who will be in the draft after playing for Hackett and head coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse, by talking about the need to evaluate everything on the team.

You wouldn’t expect anything different publicly at this point, but even vague answers say much about the biggest offseason need for the Bills.

14 responses to “Nathaniel Hackett: You’ve got to make the quarterback comfortable

  1. Always had the feeling that Fitzpatrick can be more consistently productive than he’s shown so far. He has good backs and a solid O-line. Maybe some better coaching and a little upgrade with WR/TE depth will help? Nassib would certainly seem to be an option, especially given the circumstances…

  2. The Bills offensive line isn’t in bad shape but keeping Fitzpatrick would be a mistake unless we are a run first offense with Fitz as a game manager.

  3. Boy, I have to hand it to Bills fans.

    How they manage to stay excited about their team when they are handed one uninspiring hire after another, whether it be Buddy Nix or Chan Gailey or Doug Marrone or Nate Hackett, is beyond me.

    Marrone may turn out to be a fine coach and Hackett a fine coordinator, but a coach who had a respectable but not stellar run at a Big Least Conference school and a college level OC who thinks the concept of keeping the QB comfortable is so groundbreaking that he needs to mention it 3 times in one paragraph?

    Probably not the dream combo fans were looking for.

  4. Game managers don’t win big games, particularly with the way the NFL is going. “Game manager” is as indicative of the potential success of a quarterback as the phrase “He’s a winner”.

  5. I’ll be completly honest, and this will probably not make friends with any fellow reporters who cover the Bills. They should keep Fitz this season. The guy is an absolute sponge when it comes to learning an offense. Yes, we need to draft a guy, and the way it sounds, it will be Ryan Nassib. But look at Tennehill in Miami, he had Sherman as his HC at A&M and his OC in Miami and he still struggled. Knowing the playbook and executing against NFL defenses are two completly diffrent things. I said this a few weeks ago, Fitz is a 6-win QB, if Marrone can find a way to extract another 4-5 wins from the rest of the team, then thats the way to go. You can gradually insert your rookie into NFL speed while already having a solid understanding of the offense. Again, this is if the draft Nassib. However, either way, who backs up the rookie if you let Fitz walk? It’s been years since Buffalo had “Another option” at QB during the season. If you start with Fitz, you can justifiably pull him if he struggles for the younger kid and roll from there, but if you start a rookie, and have some lame-duck Backup, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place if the rookie struggles. As far as the defense, I mentioned the hybrid scheme the other day, they have more players than anyone thinks that can fit both schemes. I just hoope they can fix the corners, I still don’t see the “Gilmore is great” thing everybody keeps talking about.

  6. Fitz locks on to his receivers as soon as the ball is snapped. They need to teach him to scan the whole field. The defense just reads his eyes like a book and make him look like an idiot.

  7. In Arizona, Whisenhut did just the opposite – he put so much pressure on his QBs with the aim of making the uncomfortable and to break them down, they all deteriorated in their play except for Kurt Warner who just ignored Whisenhut and implemented his latest version the Greatest Show On Turf.

  8. @ ihatethejets23 – That team is BEGGING to be a run first offense. Take the ball out of the QB’s hands and only make him complete short dink and dunk stuff. With Pettine coming on to get more out of the defense, you don’t need to be scoring 35 points a game to win.

    Give it another season until something good comes out of the draft at QB and ride out another year of Fitzpatrick. No sense in wasting a first rounder when you can be getting something at TE, WR or Safety in the first round this year.

  9. I see the logic some of the commenters here are using to keep Fitz around next year, but economics dictate that it’s not going to happen. The scheduled bonus for Fitz is just too costly to justify paying it. Bills could use that money more effectively to bring in Alex Smith to hold down the fort until Nassib (or another college prospect) comes up to snuff. Dream on, I guess…

  10. Fitz is a goner. I would like to see him stay and hold it down until a rook developes or Alex Smith. Money is the key with Fitz tho. I don’t make the decions (thank the lord) but our 1st rounder needs to be an impact player and it doesn’t look like a QB is the answer this year in the 1st. I am not oppsed to Nassib in 2nd but I don’t want to see a 1st on a QB. I agree, LB, TE, WR…. If The K-gun is going to be used, remember even Jim kelly said everyone thought The K-Gun was named after him, but it wasn’t. It was actually named after Keith McKellar(Our good TE) So TE is where I would love to see an upgrade, a star TE would help open up the offense and Fitz/Alex Smith, have both been shown to like looking for the TE’s. Fitz with Chandler and Smith with Vernon. Just look at Vernons drop in production since Kaepernik took over. I think things are def looking up for The Bills.

  11. I am sure having a OC with no NFL experience will make any QB in Buffalo feel comfortable!!!!

    The Buffalo Bills home of the dream job.. if you have a dream to coach in the NFL come to Buffalo they make dreams happen. Russ Brandon got his dream job.. Marrone got his dream job. Hackett probably had a dream one day that he would coach in the NFL someday. Now the fans sit back and have nightmares!

  12. billsfan4eva – I agree. I think we also need to get a legit #1 wideout to help Stevie out and allow him to move into the slot and have more East West space. (just as Nix as expressed interest in doing). Maybe a guy like Dwayne Bowe.

  13. edwinmoses says:Jan 11, 2013 8:28 PM

    billsfan4eva – I agree.

    Good call. I agree with you also. It would be nice to see Stevie in the slot… He would be a match up nightmare for opposing defenses.

  14. This is a funny article.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick has been made very comfortable. Chan Gailey was so smitten with Fitzy’s brains and understanding of the offense, that he practically made the QB a co-offensive coordinator.

    Since being handed the starters job, Fitzgerald has not faced any competition to hold onto it. Other QBs have been brought in to compete for the backup job, with Tyler Thigpen.
    Fitzgerald is a winner in the film room. Coaches love him. He doesn’t go out and make big plays on the field. He doesn’t inspire or motivate his teammates. He is a born backup, but he has the brains and enough ability to convince coaches he should start.

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