As the Buffalo Bills have struggled in recent weeks - they're now 2-4 in their last six games - GM Buddy Nix has preached a "stay the course" mentality. He's applied the philosophy when talking about the futures of both head coach Chan Gailey and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick - and it's also a topic that has begun to wear on the football operations chief.
That sentiment has caused, to put it lightly, dismay for Bills fans. It's also a sentiment that Hall of Fame head coach Marv Levy agrees with.
"I think if they stay the course, they're heading in the right direction," Levy told our own Matt Warren in an interview conducted Monday morning. Levy was especially forthright about Fitzpatrick, the third-year starting quarterback that is now 14-24 as the point man in Gailey's offense.
"People keep clamoring, 'Change the quarterback, change the quarterback.' They've got the right quarterback," Levy told Matt. "If they stay with him and develop around him, I think that they'll be heading in the right direction.
"I saw the qualities in him when I was back as General Manager a few years ago," Levy continued when asked to expand on his opinion. "He was in school at that time at Harvard playing quarterback, and I saw him and felt he was a good prospect. Certainly he's a bright young guy, but I think he has great persistence. I think he gets better incrementally, day by day. I think he prepares well - and boy, that is the one, how well you prepare. Not just rely on your abilities. Those are some of the factors, anyway."
Fitzpatrick threw touchdown pass No. 20 in yesterday's 34-18 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, marking his third consecutive season of reaching that achievement. The 30-year-old signed a lucrative contract extension last October that has him under contract through the end of the 2017 season, and despite commentary from Nix that the team would like to draft and develop a quarterback soon, it's becoming apparent that Fitzpatrick will remain at the helm for the foreseeable future.
Levy doesn't see that as a bad thing. Asked what he believes would put the team over the top heading into next season, Levy danced a bit before landing on the defense.
"You're not going to be a championship team without a good defense," Levy said. "You have to make sure that your defense is absolutely top-notch. If you have a good defense, it's going to make your offense a lot better - they're not going to be playing catch-up, and they won't have to do crazy things (to win)."
Matt Warren will have much more on his interview with Marv Levy in a post scheduled for early Tuesday morning. Stay tuned!