As Brian Galliford's February 14th article points out, "quarterback is a different animal." He says this in defense of the position that the Bills should draft a potential franchise guy this spring if they see one and like him. "We're not winning any championships with Fitz under center," BG states. I agree that quarterback is a different animal: it's the one position on a football team that must have a clear-cut pecking order. Once a high draft pick is taken at QB, you're basically telling the incumbent that his days are numbered; the team goes into a lame duck period until the new guy begins starting games (usually during the first losing streak of the next season). This is reason number one that I don't want the Bills to draft a new QB.
But why is Fitzpatrick seen as a lesser player? Is it untimely interceptions? I'll grant that there have been some painful ones. But all QB's chuck up some dying quails. Fitz threw 23 TD's / 15 INT's in 13 games. Only 5 fewer TD's than the elite Aaron Rodgers, with 4 more INT's. Roethlisberger threw only 17 TD's in his 12 games (5 INT's). Statistically, I'm bullish on Fitz, and that is my #2 reason for not wanting to draft a QB.
Last year the rumblings board was full of comments about how Fitz had 'reached his ceiling'. A very popular thing to say...Not accurate. The guy had his career year. Not surprising since he's still a young gun on the rise. Chan Gailey, slow to recognize his talents, now sees him as the unquestioned leader. Stevie Johnson loves catching his passes. This is reason #3 that I don't want a new QB.
Somewhere during January the official evaluation of Fitz changed to 'He's a playoff level QB': a back-handed compliment, implying that he's still not championship material. Step back, though, and notice the upward career curve: in one season he has mutated from low-ceiling, stop-gap to playoff caliber. Give him another year and look out. This is reason #4 not to draft a high-pick QB.
Finally, just for fun, I checked the stats of some more famous Bills teams from recent history: 1990 & 1999. One statistic that jumped off the page was the running game. 1990: 2040 yards rushing, 20 TD's. 1999: 2040 yards, 12 TD's. last year: 1720 yds, 6 TD's. Which brings me to my concluding reason not to spend a high draft pick on a quarterback this spring: there are simply too many other things wrong with this team. Give Fitzy, Jim Kelly's running game and we've really got something! People can speculate about which shiny new quarterback will put butts in the seats; mine's already there to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick.
RECAP: Why not to draft a QB in 2011
1. Creates a lame duck situation
2. Fitz's stats compare favorably with top QB's
3. The coach and team are behind Fitz
4. Fitz is still improving
5. Other areas of the team are much worse