Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, December 16, 2009.
On what's been the biggest challenge for him since he's taken over at QB:
I think the moving parts. The fact that we've had guys shuffling in and out of the lineup; just being able to develop that continuity, the consistency that goes along with playing with each other, but the thing is that we've battled every week. It's a fun group of guys to play with because you know that they're going to give you everything they have. But I would say just the continuity which has probably affected our consistency a little bit.
On how Cincinnati has helped him this year:
It helped me a ton in terms of getting on the field obviously and getting the 12 starts, getting all of that action, learning how to prepare before the game, the importance of studying the opponent week to week and really being on the same page with your guys, but it's a lot different this year for me. Last year the circumstance was injury and it was kind of a question mark as to whether Carson was coming back where as this year they've kind of handed me the reins and I'm going to play as long as I continue to play well.
On how difficult it's been going through this with an interim head coach:
It's tough. It's just something that's part of the NFL hype and you just have to go with it and roll with it and just continue to play hard. I went through a similar deal in St. Louis when I was there and Coach (Mike) Martz ended up ill and being gone for the season and then Joe Vitt took over as the interim coach and we've got some guys that have been through it, but to be honest with you as the season goes you're so focused on the opponents every week you just kind of move on and it feels like right now that Perry's (Fewell) been our coach for the whole year just in terms of we haven't really changed in the way we prepare and the way we're practicing and all that.
On if the change brought a spark to the team:
I think we were shocked when it happened. Everybody really respected Coach Jauron and the way that he coached and the way that he treated you as a man, but like I said we had to move on. We were just kind of forced to do it. And Perry has brought energy and enthusiasm and I think like you said just change, and sometimes change is a good thing.
On if he had any ties with any Patriots players while attending Harvard:
No. I went to a practice once. Jamil Soriano was on the practice squad. He was one of my linemen at Harvard so I went to a practice once and got to eat the meal when all the players were there and stuff but I didn't know any of them, no.
On if he ran into QB Tom Brady:
On his experience at Harvard and Coach Tim Murphy:
It was awesome. Coach Murphy's a great guy, great coach, and I really respect him, still keep up with him and talk to him a lot. He taught me a lot. Not only about football and playing quarterback but being a man, the family man that he is, the leader that he is, really respect the heck out of him and I loved playing there. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I met my wife there. There were a lot of good things that came from me going to Harvard and I certainly wouldn't trade them for anything.
On if there's any special meaning to playing against the Patriots being that he attended college in their area:
I don't think regarding that. I just think it's a special game because it's in our division but I don't think it's any more or less special because of where I went to college.
On if he's ever thought about giving up the NFL route given the struggles he's had coming in and using his Harvard degree:
I got drafted in the seventh round by the Rams and was the three there for two years then got traded to and was the back up in Cincinnati. I've never been cut, never been on a practice squad, but definitely not. This is what I want to do. This is my passion and I want to play for as long as they let me.
On what his degree is in from Harvard:
On if Wall Street ever beckoned him:
(Laughs) Well to be honest going into my junior year that was the thought, that's kind of the path that you take. You study economics, you go to Wall Street for a few years and then you figure out your life after that and that is probably what I would've done had the NFL not been calling. And really I didn't think the NFL thing was a remote possibility up until after my junior year when agents started calling me and then it was something that I guess I figured I had a chance at. But up until then Wall Street was the plan of attack.
On if his success in the NFL has opened up doors for more Ivy League players to get into the NFL:
I definitely think it helps. I think that the thing that Coach Murphy brought to Harvard was the national recruiting. The thing he always told me was that if you're good enough the NFL's going to find you and you hear that but you're never sure if that's really the case. So now that I am a guy that has done that, that is in the NFL, and that is playing, I certainly think it helps the case and very, very excited, I'm happy about that decision upon Harvard over Stanford.
On if he had any Division 1A offers at all:
I did not. I didn't have any 1A offers.
On if he had any scholarship offers at all:
I had one scholarship offer from Eastern Washington 1AA, Big Sky school.
On how good Ivy League football and how it prepared him to play in the pros:
I think it's a lot better than everybody thinks. Growing up in Arizona I never realized that Harvard had a football team so there's obviously not a lot of national exposure, but we were ranked in the Top Five my senior year in 1AA and I don't know if that means much but I've watched a little bit of Northern Arizona I've watched a lot of Big Sky football and I can tell you in terms of the 1AA crowd, we can compete with anybody. It's definitely a step down from the big schools obviously, the SEC schools and all that, but as a quarterback it really did prepare me because the speed is a big step going into the pros for anybody, but the speed of the guys I'm throwing to is also better. So it takes getting used to and I think it definitely prepared me in a way.
On if he takes any responsibility for Cincinnati's turnaround this year:
I can tell you I think that the one benefit that Cincinnati really got last year was learning how to win games without Carson (Palmer) because I think for his whole career that's what they've done. They've relied on him and really him alone to get out there and win games and relying on his arm. And through his injury last year we had to find other ways. I'm not trying to knock myself or anything, just the caliber player that he is, the running game I think by the end of the year last year the running game got going. They found Cedric Benson who's a real reliable back and their defense. The defense played awesome last year especially towards the tail end and they came out this year and have done the same thing. I think by the end of the year, we won our last three games in a row, there was a bit of an identity shift and they just carried that over to this year and really excited and really proud of them.
On if there's an identity shift going on in Buffalo right now:
I think at this point, we've had some disappointing losses this year. We've been in a lot of games in the fourth quarter and for one reason or another haven't been able to pull them out, but I think what I touched on earlier, the moving parts, I just think that that's been difficult this year to not have the same guys out there all of the time, but we switched offensive coordinators in the beginning of the year, and obviously we switched coaches during the midway so there's been a lot of change. But that being said, the guys are still fighting and we're still playing hard and going out there and trying to get wins.
On what ways he's tried to provide a spark for the team:
I go out there and just I guess with the knowledge, the experience that I've gained in my five years just trying to apply that to the situation knowing that each guy responds differently to relationships that you have with each guy. They're definitely different. You can't approach all guys the same way so I guess knowing how to deal with people, and at the same time just trying to go out there and play smart. Like I said earlier, we hit on change and sometimes just the fact that it is change brings some energy so I think that's also been part of it.