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Q and A with Buffalo Wins

Let us talk Giants vs Bills with Joe Pinzone of Buffalo Wins.

1. Talk to us about Perry Fewell.  He was interim coach. And then the Bills decided not to retain him as  their permanent head coach.  What happened?

I liked Perry Fewell. He seemed to be a fiery head coach, who had a lot of passion. When Dick Jauron was fired midway through the 2009 season, Fewell actually gave Fitzpatrick his first shot at starting, after he stripped Trent Edwards of the job. However, the problem with Fewell was that he was a part of a losing tradition. Dick Jauron was our over version of Ray Handley multiplied by Ray Perkins. The organization needed a big change and with Jauron being the worst coach in NFL history, Fewell was still attached to that. He may be a good head coach one day, but it wasn’t going to be in Buffalo.

2. The Bills have the best red zone scoring offense. They are tops in the league.   What has been their keys to success?

I think a lot of it has to do with Gailey’s offense. He’s the master of calling passing plays in that 8-10 yard range. So, when the field is shorten, those type of plays really come in handy. I also think having Scott Chandler emerge in the red zone has really helped, as all four of his touchdowns have come inside the 20. Mark Gaughan from The Buffalo News had a great article that dissected the Bills in the redzone. What jumped out the most was how Fitzpatrick has completed 17 of 27 passes for 110 yards, with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bills also have David Nelson, who is a big target at 6’5, and his two touchdowns have also come inside the 20.

3.  On defense, the Bills have been very opportunistic.  They are a number one in the NFL in turnover ratio: +11.  What kind of scheme does defensive coordinator George Edwards implement?  Why have they been so good? 

The big question that seems to be going around about the Bills defense is whether they are lucky or good? They have scored 73 points off turnovers this season. The have 3 defensive touchdowns, which leads the league and matches their total from last year. I think it is a combination of the Bills being able to mix up schemes. Some games, they are blitzing like crazy (See: Philly game) while other times, they are just rushing four guys (See: Pats game). They have always had guys who know how to get interceptions, as it was just two years ago, the team was 2nd in the league in interceptions. Now, there are some bad things to talk about with the defense. In their last four games, they have given more than 450 yards in total offense, which is a team record. They are dead last in sacks (4) and have had guys like Jason Campbell and Andy Dalton burn them.

4.  In a couple of the Bills wins, they had to come from behind.  What has caused them to fall behind in games? 

In the Pats and Raiders games, I think it was all about the Bills lack of execution in the first half. They moved the ball on both teams, but penalties and turnovers would catch up to them. Defensively, they just give up a lot of points in general. However, the turnovers they forced in those two games are what brought the team back. They were trailing by 11 with the Raiders driving in the 3rd quarter, when the Bills forced a turnover, which they turned into a touchdown. Against the Pats, Brady looked like he was going to put the Pats up by 14, but the Bills picked him off in the end zone and turned the turnover into the game-tying touchdown. As for the offense, eventually, they would settle down and start executing. Incredibly, Fitzpatrick’s QB rating in the 2nd half is 119.0 (6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions), while in the first half, his rating is 78.5 ( 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions)

5. Bills running back Fred Jackson is having a phenomenal year.  Can you talk about his play?  And please talk about the offensive line.
 Fred Jackson is running angry! Right now, he’s on pace for over 2,200 yards in total offense. He can do it all. He can block, he can run over people, he can catch…He’s just a throw back! His vision is the best part of his game, as he always seems to pick the right hole. He also has a ruthless stiff arm. Jackson has never really had the opportunity to run the ball by himself, as he use to only give Marshawn Lynch a breathier. Then, the Bills decided to draft CJ Spiller and make him into their feature back, but that backfired last year. Once Jackson became the #1 back, you saw what he could do. In 9 of his last 13 games, Jackson has averaged over 100-yards in total offense.
As for the line, for years, Bills fans would always bi#ch and complain about the unit. You should have seen the preseason, there were guys fighting for jobs on the o-line, media and fans were going nuts. It was insane. Somehow, they have all put it together nicely. Fitzpatrick has only been sacked four times this season, which is the least in the NFL. I think pass protection is more about Fitzpatrick’s ability to get the ball out quickly. As I wrote earlier, we rely on those 8-10 yard routes, which means the ball is out after just a couple of seconds.
6.  Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt.  This tells us he is throwing the ball efficiently. “Yards per pass attempt has one of the most direct correlations to the won-loss record,” Dick Vermeil said.  Needless to say, the Bills are 4-1. Can you tell us why he has been so successful thus far? 

I think a lot of it has to do with Fitzpatrick is gaining more experience. I use to tell readers that we shouldn’t look at his age, but rather his starts in the NFL. Entering the season, he had only started 2 seasons worth of games. If you take out the Colts B-team season finale in 2009, he had surpassed 200 yards only once and never passed for more than one touchdown in a game at that point. Last year, he went over 200 yards nine times and passed for two touchdowns or more on six occasions. That’s progress. This year, Fitz is on pace for 30 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards passing. He already has two games of 300-yards or more. I think he and Gailey are perfect for each other. Fitz just knows how to get rid of the ball fast, which is what Gailey wants out of his QBs. He’s not going to beat you deep and he does occasionally throw a bad pass, but the thing we love about Fitz is that he’s a gunslinger. He doesn’t care if he just threw a pick for six, because the next drive, he’ll pretend like it didn’t happen. In a way, I kind of see a little Eli in him.

7.  Prediction?
This will be a tough game. I’m a little scared to play Eli, because when he’s on, he can bury the opposition. Of course, he also has a tendency to throw a number of picks. You guys will definitely get yards and points on us, but I think our passing game should be able to hurt your defense. We love to spread the field and I think your cornerback depth is suspect at best. I think this will be a shootout, like all of the Bills games seem to be. In the end, I think our rushing game will be the ex-factor. Bills, 33-30.