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Ryan Fitzpatrick Boom Or Bust Versus Blitz

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ORCHARD PARK NY - DECEMBER 26: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles as he is hit by Gary Guyton #59 of the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 26 2010 in Orchard Park New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK NY - DECEMBER 26: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles as he is hit by Gary Guyton #59 of the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 26 2010 in Orchard Park New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
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Of the many uncertainties the Buffalo Bills face offensively heading into the 2011 season, there is one thing that the team can be reasonably certain of: Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to get blitzed a lot.

According to the folks at ProFootballFocus.com, Fitzpatrick was blitzed by opponents on just under 46 percent of his 494 drops last season, the third-highest percentage in the NFL. He also faced more total blitzes than all but eight quarterbacks, despite not playing in three full games.

When opponents blitzed, Fitzpatrick saw mixed success, completing 56.7 percent of his passes (a middle-of-the-pack finish) and throwing 12 touchdowns (the fourth-highest total in the league), but also tossing nine interceptions (the league's highest total). As long as Fitzpatrick creates as many bust plays as boom plays against the blitz, opponents will keep bringing the heat.

Tightening up the offensive formation could help Fitzpatrick better beat the blitz, as could more use of motion. When Fitzpatrick knows a blitz is coming, he's proven very capable of beating it effectively When he doesn't diagnose it pre-snap, you can usually expect a negative play.