Ryan Fitzpatrick now acing football too

Ryan Fitzpatrick.
TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES

The Jets’ concern this Sunday is that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t deal them a loss that really “smarts.”

The Harvard-educated Fitzpatrick is shaping up to have a career season, having thrown for over 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.

But Fitzpatrick, who has been rather plebian in terms of success as a NFL quarterback, is forever known as perhaps being the smartest player to play in the league. His pre-draft score on the Wonderlic test of 48 out of 50 is the highest on record in the NFL. Most NFL players range in the low-to-mid 20’s on the test. This year, Fitzpatrick is doing more than just impressing with his IQ points. He has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

“I think this guy has got something to him. He’s got that leadership, he’s smart, he delivers the football and he’s a good athlete. I mean, he can run with the ball, as well,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “But he really broke out this year. You look at it statistically and all that, and the most important stat is wins and losses, and right now he’s doing a heck of a job.”

He was always a player that was easy to root for. Transitioning from the Ivy League to the NFL is a compelling story, but few gave Fitzpatrick a chance to stick around. He doesn’t possess prototypical size and while he can scramble, he won’t ever be confused with the likes of Michael Vick. So Fitzpatrick seemed to be a bit of a “tweener” who was projected to be nothing more than a third-string quarterback.

A seventh-round pick in 2005, he bounced around St. Louis and Cincinnati before finding a home in Buffalo. The Bills have never had a winning record since Fitzpatrick took over as quarterback in Oct. 2008, but that is changing. This year, he has taken the Bills to a 5-2 record and there is belief in western New York that this team could be headed for their first playoff appearance since 1999.
Credit Fitzpatrick for making the smart move of using the NFL lockout to his advantage.

“He worked extremely hard in the offseason. He got the guys together and they were throwing, working out and getting on the same page and I think that that has really paid dividends for us early in the season,” Bills head coach Chan Gailey said. “They didn’t just go out and go through the motions. I think they went out and worked. I think that’s the difference.”

But of course, the underlying story with Fitzpatrick is always what’s going on underneath his helmet. As well as he’s throwing the ball this year, extra credit goes to his innate ability to quickly grasp things.

“He has a great grasp of what we are trying to do and he understands the game. There are not a lot of people that really understand the whole game,” Gailey said. “He understands the whole game, not just offense, but defense, coverages, field position, time on the clock, game management.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for breaking news, injury updates and live information from every team practice.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…