Training Camp Blog: Fitzpatrick wants weight on his shoulders
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Like most NFL teams, the Bills will likely only go as far as their quarterback takes them.
Ryan Fitzpatrick embraces that pressure.
"I love it. If I did not love it I do not think I would play the position of QB," Fitzpatrick said. "That is why we do it. I want all of the pressure to fall on me so the other guys can just go out there and play.
"Me being one of the older guys in the huddle, especially with our skill players, I love taking the pressure. It takes it off of them. They are able to just go out there and play. My shoulders are big enough for that and that is something that I enjoy."
Head Coach Chan Gailey has firm belief in his signal caller's leadership skills.
"That does not surprise me a lick that he said that," Gailey said. That is why we think he has a chance to be a great leader and a great quarterback for us because he does have that kind of attitude. If he had a different attitude then we would be worried."
Fitzpatrick was a key cog when the Bills began last season with a 5-2 record. But he struggle down the stretch, while his team limped to a 6-10 finish.
He threw for a career-high 24 touchdowns in 2011, but also led the NFL with 23 interceptions.
"For us, we look at it as a completely different year. It is a completely different team. We have a lot of different people working in," Fitzpatrick said. We have guys with a lot more experience now playing together. And I think offensively with some of the similar pieces, we are really looking to take a step forward."
Fitzpatrick has a new quarterbacks coach in David Lee to help him maintain consistency and improve his mechanics.
The 29-year-old signed a six-year contract extension last October. Entering his fourth season in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick believes the Bills offense can elevate to Top-10 status in the NFL.
"I think as an offense, looking at what we have done the past few years and how we have been able to get better every year and improve, we just need to continue that climb to the top of the league in those numbers and categories," Fitzpatrick said. "But a lot of that is going out there and executing and being more consistent. That is the goal for this year."
And much of the Bills success this season hinges on Fitzpatrick's ability to raise his game to a new level of productivity.