Ryan Fitzpatrick is no joke
|12.17.09 at 2:30 pm ET|
Asked this week about the Harvard-educated background of his starting quarterback and how “nerdy” Ryan Fitzpatrick might be, Buffalo’s interim coach Perry Fewell laughed.
“No comment,” Fewell chuckled. “That was a good question, I like that one.”
After the laughing finally stopped some 15 seconds later, Fewell offered serious insight into the leadership Fitzpatrick has provided since taking over for Trent Edwards on Oct. 25.
“I’ve liked his leadership and his command,” Fewell said. “I’ve liked his communication with not only the offensive line, but with the running backs and the receivers as well as the coaching staff. That’s been good and that’s been something we can draw on.”
Another amusing note about Fitzpatrick and his Harvard background can be found on page 72 of the Bills media guide. In his bio, Fitzpatrick, it points out, played for the “Crimson Tide.” No, he didn’t transfer to Alabama and no, Harvard didn’t roll out the name Tide in Fitzpatrick’s honor. Just a simple mistake.
What’s not a mistake is the record the Harvard economics major has posted in the the last nine NFL games he has started.
“Well, to be honest going into my junior year that was the thought, that’s kind of the path that you take,” Fitzpatrick said of his Harvard background. “You study economics, you go to Wall Street for a few years and then you figure out your life after that and that is probably what I would’ve done had the NFL not been calling. And really I didn’t think the NFL thing was a remote possibility up until after my junior year when agents started calling me and then it was something that I guess I figured I had a chance at. But up until then Wall Street was the plan of attack.”
Harvard coach Tim Murphy showed him the way through four years and gave him some advice.
“I think that the thing that Coach Murphy brought to Harvard was the national recruiting,” Fitzpatrick said. “The thing he always told me was that if you’re good enough the NFL’s going to find you and you hear that but you’re never sure if that’s really the case. So now that I am a guy that has done that, that is in the NFL, and that is playing, I certainly think it helps the case and very, very excited, I’m happy about that decision upon Harvard over Stanford.
“Coach Murphy’s a great guy, great coach, and I really respect him, still keep up with him and talk to him a lot,” he added. “He taught me a lot. Not only about football and playing quarterback but being a man, the family man that he is, the leader that he is, really respect the heck out of him and I loved playing there. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I met my wife there. There were a lot of good things that came from me going to Harvard and I certainly wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
Coming out of high school in Gilbert, Arizona, Fitzpatrick had no Division I college offers and only one other school even approached him.
“I had one scholarship offer from Eastern Washington 1-AA [FCS], Big Sky school,” he recalled.
But Fitzpatrick chose Harvard and was impressed with the competition in the Ivy League.
One thing to know about Fitzpatrick, you shouldn’t expect to see any Chad Henne-out-the-blue 300-yard passing performances. In fact, in those nine games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 200 yards only twice, both times this season. He did hook up with Terrell Owens on a 98-yard TD against Jacksonville two weeks ago and had another to Lee Evans called back but still, Fitzpatrick is not your typical pocket passer.
“He’s real athletic,” Patriots coach Bill Belchick said. “He’s made some plays pulling the ball down and running. Some quarterbacks we characterize — they run to run, they run to find time to throw the ball. I think he can do both. He can run to run and he can run to throw. He’s had some nice runs.
“He’s also had some big plays on scrambles, like the touchdown pass he threw to Evans against Jacksonville. [That] was really a nice play. It got called back on a penalty, but he made a nice play on it [and] Evans made a great catch. [He’s] a smart guy. They do some audible at the line of scrimmage, changing plays. You can see him getting the team into good plays against looks they can take advantage of. It looks like he’s given them a little bit of spark offensively, in terms of some big plays and also some plays with his feet and [he] manages the game well.”
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