Is Ryan Fitzpatrick kicking off his Sunday football shoes and joining the cast of Riverdance? Not to my knowledge, but Fitz has been shifting his cleats lately. Fitzpatrick’s feet have been a hot topic of discussion as David Lee, the new Bills QB coach, irons out the kinks in Ryan’s passing mechanics.
So, what is wrong with the bearded QB’s feet? Well, his left foot sort of stinks. A bad case of athlete’s foot? In need of new odor eaters? More like a new location.
“I just saw things we could correct fundamentally from his lower body. Just where his placement of his left foot was,” said Lee about Fitzpatrick on profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. “He was blocking out his right hip to get more power and velocity.”
Lee is happy with Fitzpatrick’s shorter passes, praising his accuracy when receivers are between 9 and 12 yards down the field. However, Lee has noticed that the longer the football stays in Ryan’s hands, the more he tends to underthrow it, his ability to connect with receivers dropping when they hit the 15 or 16 yard mark. Fitzpatrick also exhibits more passing problems on the left side of field.
Was the Bills QB caught off guard by Lee’s findings?
“Not at all,” Fitzpatrick joked to Mark Gaughan on Buffalo News.com. “You guys have seen me throw.”
Not one to reject constructive criticism, Ryan heeded Lee’s feedback, as he watched tapes of himself in football action.
“Now for a guy to come in and say, ‘This is why you’re missing that throw low,’ for him to actually have evidence for me to look and say, ‘Ok, it looks like something that I really need to work on,’ ” said Fitzpatrick on BuffaloNews.com. “And for a guy to be as respected as he is, to be as knowledgeable as he is, that’s somebody I’m going to listen to every time. “
Lee, who coached Chad Pennington and Bills former QB, Drew Bledsoe, noticed other things about Fitzpatrick. At times, he does not step toward his target, his body too closed while throwing to the opposite side of the field. Hey, we can’t all be like John Elway. Sometimes, the Harvard graduate throws the ball across his body, which caused him to flub some crucial pass plays last season. What should have been a sure fire touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson last year against the Giants ended as a loss, the left side of the field once again giving Fitz a struggle.
THE RIGHT STUFF
Is Fitz a hopeless case? Quite the contrary! Besides his smarts, Lee gave Ryan accolades for “looking people off.” Translation: Fitzpatrick knows how to look where he’s NOT throwing the ball. Lee feels that reducing Ryan’s “look off” time will help his passing. The Bills QB has already shown improvement these past couple of days.
“I didn’t anticipate him hitting a back shoulder til the middle of camp. And he just nailed that,” said Lee, who sees a great NFL future for Ryan.
I think this will definitely be Fitz’s year, but if he needs a little friendly advice, he can get some fancy free tips from the Packer’s Donald Driver, the newest “Dancing with the Stars” champ. Maybe ask Kevin Bacon? Kicked off the football team, he did dancing flips in a warehouse to pass the time in “Footloose.”
Instead of viewing tapes of himself, Ryan can always pull out that old Flintstones episode of Fred taking ballet lessons to bolster his bowling performance. Hmm . . . A bearded Ryan in a tutu? Now that’s a feet stinky idea!