DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Bills touted Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback of choice even before they decided not to take a signal-caller with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Early returns on their enthusiasm about the Harvard product have not been impressive, however, in his first NFL pre-season as an unquestioned starter.
Through two pre-season games, Fitzpatrick has completed 13-of-25 passes for a paltry 88 yards. He's thrown one interception - which, full disclosure, glanced off of the hands of receiver Marcus Easley directly into a defender - and is sporting a quarterback rating of 43.4. In six pre-season possessions, Buffalo's first-team offense has produced just six points under Fitzpatrick's guidance.
Yes, some caveats apply: the offensive line has been bad, the team is still feeling out a changed arsenal of skill players, and it is, in fact, just the pre-season. However, the lack of production remains alarming when taken in conjunction with Fitzpatrick's continued accuracy issues (specifically ball placement) and seeming regression from Week 1 to Week 2. As he's unlikely to see much playing time on September 1 against Detroit, pre-season game three - this Saturday against Jacksonville - will be a very important test for Fitzpatrick. He needs to pass it.