As my groggy mind wandered in the shower this morning, as it tends to do, I found myself revisiting the depressing performance of Ryan Fitzpatrick against the NY Jets this past Sunday. How can a man who led touchdown drives on 5 consecutive second-half possessions against Oakland last year be so awful in this year's Season Opener?
Finding no reasonable answer, and realizing I was becoming very frustrated, I decided to think about something else. But, my obsession with the Buffalo Bills would not loosen its grasp on my poisoned, pain-filled mind, and I found myself focusing on the other areas where the Jets had publicly shamed the Bills. As I pondered how it was possible for our secondary to make Mark Sanchez look like Peyton Manning, I came to the conclusion that our cornerbacks just aren't very good.
Now, before you start seething, understand that I believe Stephon Gilmore is going to be an outstanding cornerback in the NFL. Hopefully, he will become the cornerstone of the Buffalo Bills secondary. But, while he was not terrible on Sunday against the Jets, he wasn't great either. Unfortunately, he was the best cornerback on the field. Aaron Williams was pitiful, and Leodis McKelvin isn't good enough to make a CFL roster. (Tangent: If anything should make Bills fans lose faith in Chan Gailey, it's the fact that Leodis McKelvin has a job)
With half our cornerbacks being yound and under-experienced, and McKelvin playing for our opponents, it's no wonder Sanchez picked apart the Buffalo Bills defense like a vulture pecking at a bison carcass.
That's when it hit me.
This underwhelming group of cornerbacks is the same group that Fitzpatrick had to practice against all Spring and Summer! How is Fitz supposed to be capable of throwing against elite NFL cornerbacks like Revis and Cromartie when he is never exposed to that sort of talent or danger in the offseason? I could train for a weight-lifting competition by bench-pressing 20 pounds for 6 months. But when I got to the competition and tried to bench 400 pounds, I'd fail miserably!
What do you think, Rumblers? Could it be possible that Fitzpatrick threw interceptions against the Jets that would have been completions in training camp? Is it possible that the Bills are so weak at cornerback that Fitz has a false sense of what constitutes safe passing? If it is possible, how big a factor could this be in his performance? If this is an issue, is it correctable? As Fitz faces more NFL-caliber cornerbacks in real game situations, will he improve?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.