Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t miss a game last year, and he played behind an offensive line that gave up the fewest sacks in the league.
But that’s a little deceiving, because even though he may not have been sacked or hit often, anyone who watches a lot of Bills football (which is anyone living in GLS territory who is too cheap for Sunday Ticket…thanks, regional favoritism) knows that many of the hits Fitz did take weren’t of the gentle variety. They looked like they may have hurt a little.
If Fitz missed time that could have led to a crushing seven-game losing streak (what? Oh…), and it would have been Tyler Thigpen and/or hybrid quarterback-wide receiver Brad Smith sliding in. Thigpen has appeared in only 25 career games, and just 12 of those were starts.
After passing on all the quarterbacks available during this year’s draft, the last time the Bills selected a developmental QB was the flier they took on Levi Brown in 2010. He’s gone now, meaning Thigpen and his career passer rating of 72.5 are one hit away from being involved in meaningful football for the Bills.
That’s some pretty poor depth at the most important offensive position, and it’s why the Bills are set to have a private workout with Vince Young tomorrow, according to the team’s official Twitter feed.
As sexy as Young’s athleticism and mobility can be at times, that may make him only marginally more appealing than Thigpen as a backup. When he was pushed into duty last year in Philadelphia after Michael Vick went down, Young threw eight interceptions and just four touchdowns over three starts, and he finished with a passer rating that’s worse than Thigpen’s awful career rating (60.8).
But what’s better than having one mediocre option behind an increasingly mediocre starter who also posted an awful INT/TD ratio last year for a significant stretch (Fitzpatrick threw 10 INTs and four TDs over his last four games)? That’s right, two mediocre options for an entire position of mediocrity.
I just used the word “mediocre” in its various forms four times in two sentences to describe Buffalo’s quarterback play. But as Gregg Rosenthal points out, the offense in Buffalo could be a good fit, and if he’s signed this will be Young’s best and likely last shot to start.
If Fitzpatrick starts 2012 where he left off in 2011, the calls for change will get very loud, very fast. Young still has some youth left (he turns 29 on May 18) so if he can somehow find the Vince Young circa 2009 who rose from the dead in Tennessee, he could have a legitimate shot to salvage his career.
Failing that, he can always go into the towel business.