Ryan Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills - and fans of the team had better hope it stays that way for the foreseeable future, given the way backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen played in four pre-season games.
True, Thigpen was playing with second- and third-team players all summer. That's especially concerning when discussing the offensive linemen blocking for him, as Thigpen was consistently harassed and sacked six times - including five times in last night's pre-season finale.
The most concerning stat line for Thigpen, however, is the fact that he completed 36 of 75 pre-season passes. Chan Gailey's offense calls for a high degree of efficiency from its quarterbacks, and excuses or not, a 48 percent completion rate obviously isn't going to cut it.
Gailey has gone on record multiple times this pre-season stating that he expects better play from Thigpen. He said it again last night, but also expressed confidence in his backup quarterback.
"We need for Tyler to play better," Gailey said Thursday night. "We do."
Thigpen threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns (with two interceptions, including one that was returned for a score) this pre-season, and added 28 rushing yards on seven carries. Gailey, like everyone else, is concerned with Thigpen's accuracy.
"He was not accurate with some of his throws early in that ballgame when he went in," Gailey continued. "He was leaving the ball too far inside, and we talked to him in the second half about getting the ball outside, and he did a lot better throwing the ball in the second half."
Thigpen was not able to participate in team practices until August 4, when the new league year began. Ergo, he's still getting acclimated to Buffalo's personnel and re-acclimated with Gailey's offense, and trying to do it all in a very short period of time. Gailey is convinced that with time, Thigpen will settle down - if he needs to play, of course.
"He just needs time to throw with these guys and understand exactly where they're going to break their routes, and things like that," Gailey concluded. "It's just a feel for the game."