Buddy Nix is like everyone else in Buffalo: fed up with the team’s quarterback play. The only difference is that Nix is the Bills’ general manager, and his criticism could have an adverse effect on the team.
There are undoubtedly times when a player needs to be called out, reprimanded or otherwise have a fire lit under their keister, but the time probably isn’t 13 months into a six-year, $59 million pact, as is the case up in Buffalo.
Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s season has been ugly, and his inefficiency is a big reason the Bills sit at 3-5 while looking up in the weak AFC East. Fitzpatrick has thrown nine picks as part of his middle-of-the-pack stat line, Buffalo’s turnover differential sits at a putrid minus-7, and the Bills rank 27th in the NFL in passing yards per game. None of those ingredients make up a franchise quarterback, which Nix clearly envisioned when forking over a gaudy contract to the Harvard product.
It’s understandable that Nix is frustrated, and his frustration is shared by Bills fans everywhere, but the GM’s recent subtle jabs aren’t exactly the best solution at this point.
“Listen, we have said from Day 1, that we want to draft a good, young quarterback,” Nix recently told WGR-AM in Buffalo. “I don’t want to leave here without a franchise guy for the future in place. I have not said that before, but I’m saying it now because it’s a fact.”
That’s not exactly a vote of confidence for Fitzpatrick, especially since expressing a need for a “good, young quarterback” and a “franchise guy” implies you don’t already have one in place. The fact is the Bills don’t have one in place, so in that sense, Nix is just being honest. But being honest isn’t always the wisest business move, no matter what everyone’s grade school teacher tries to constantly drill into them.
Nix doesn’t need to play off Fitzpatrick’s struggles as if everything has gone smoothly since the quarterback signed his extension last October. He also doesn’t need to take little shots this early into the six-year deal, especially with $24 million in guaranteed money already invested. Instead, the best course of action would be to remain tight-lipped, pursue a quarterback and let the rest play out in the meantime.
Making matters worse, though, is that Nix continues to press the issue, reiterating his desire to obtain a “franchise quarterback” via the draft.
“Let me be as honest as I can,” Nix said during a radio interview Friday. “I think we really need to address it this year. The thing we can’t do is you can’t create one. You can’t go out, thinking ‘I’ve got to make this guy a player.’ If you do, then you’re going to be in a bigger mess. We don’t want to do that. We try to guard against that.
“But we do need another one, and we need to do it this time.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who considers Ryan Fitzpatrick a franchise quarterback nowadays, but you’d also be hard-pressed to find someone who considered Ryan Fitzpatrick a franchise quarterback last October. With that in mind, Nix is essentially laying in the bed that he made, and is now trying to emphasize that he’ll do all he can to fix his wrongdoings. In being vocal about it, however, he’s simply making matters worse.
The Bills have a ton of personnel issues, and discouraging quarterback play is certainly one of them, but in criticizing Fitzpatrick, Nix might be opening up another can of warms. In other words, things are remaining status quo in Buffalo.