Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

In-depth Fitz analysis from Bills QB coach Lee

FITZ

After Tuesday’s OTA practice, new Buffalo Bills QBs coach David Lee (above) explained to me at length what he’s been working on with starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, re his footwork, and why he’s not messing with his arm motion.

I put a snippet of Lee’s explanation into the video report I posted Tuesday, here. Here’s what Lee said in its entirety:

“We went back when I got here and took a month, hard, and just studied 500-and-something passes (of Fitz’s) and just found some patterns that showed themselves. Like when he would throw a route breaking from the right to his left — the ball was kind of consistently behind the guy a lot. We found out why, and it had everything to do with the positioning of his feet.

“I just tried to study the go routes, study the things that looked like he was missing. Because there are some things he’s just deadly accurate at that you don’t want to mess with at all. From there, we gave him something in his lower body to help him correct it. And he’s so doggone smart, and when you get a pro who’s smart that has talent, they improve so much faster.

“He’s in the process right now of getting comfortable with these lower-body mechanics. To say it’s muscle memory right now, we’re not there yet.”

Lee lamented that, under the CBA, he was unable to begin working with Fitzpatrick in March, which he said is when quarterbacks should do all their individual off-season adjustments so that they can have the changes ingrained by mini-camps and OTAs in May/June.

Lee said there is “nothing wrong” with Fitzpatrick’s upper-body release. But even if there were, he wouldn’t suggest changing anything.

“You don’t want to really mess with a guy’s release, unless he’s a really young player on your practice squad that’s not going to have to play for a couple of years. Like Tony Romo. [Lee was an assistant coach in Dallas a decade ago.] We raised his release up. He had the quickest arm you could ever imagine. It was right here (3/4 overhead) and we brought it up over here (overhead). We did some drills that brought it up. But he didn’t have to play for two-and-a-half years. So it became muscle memory

“When you change a guy’s release point, you’re talking about 8,000 throws that have to take place until it becomes natural. So you wouldn’t want to come do that to a guy like Fitz who’s a starter already, who has a great release anyway. He’s got speed in his release — a good, quick release. So the only thing we try to do with Ryan is — he’s got a great fundamental system of how he’s reading; he’s got a great fundamental system of protections and understading. And I was just trying to get him a fundamental system in his lower body to go with those two. Because when you’ve got those three, you’re ready to go.”

Other than one throw that was picked off by a linebacker, Fitzpatrick was stellar at Tuesday’s OTA, completing passes all over the field.

“He had a great day Friday, and had a really good day again today,” Lee said. “So I’m encouraged.”

Here’s a photo sequence I shot Tuesday of Fitz throwing, with Lee observing:

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