Fitzpatrick deserves better treatment
I am writing this letter in defense of Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think he is being grossly mistreated in the media. He obviously has a great attitude. He is very durable. He hasn’t missed any games. Remember the chest injury against Washington? He played many games this year with three of his first string receivers out with injury (Nelson, Jones and Chandler). He never blamed anyone else for bad plays — running the wrong route (Graham), a messed up touchdown pass (Johnson) or four dropped passes (Graham). When Johnson fumbled against St. Louis it was Fitzpatrick who brought the interceptor down.
Actually, his performance has improved, cutting down his interceptions, completing over 60 percent of his passes. His ranking is in the middle of the AFC but you wouldn’t know it by reading the “experts” in the press.
Stevie Johnson set a record of three consecutive years over 1,000 yards, all with Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The Bills offense is in the middle of the AFC. It is not the problem. It’s the defense. They rank last in the AFC. How many games can you win giving up 40 or 50 points? The Bills need to draft the best available defensive players. Later, maybe the third or fourth round, draft a quarterback and let him compete in the preseason for the position. Drafting one in the first round would be an absurd gamble. I have been a Bills fans since game one: Bills vs. Patriots, August 1960.
Better plans out there for city school football
I am responding to the story of the plan to have the Buffalo Public School football program field four regional teams, and compete in Section VI, class AA. This plan is doomed to failure. It won’t work from a coaching perspective, and more importantly, it would result in all the city schools losing their identity and further erode pride. I sadly admit that I had trouble getting kids to practice after a couple of losses coupled with a bad weather day, when all they had to do is walk from the school to the “backyard”. Imagine traveling across the city to get to practice.
I offer two very different plans the city can choose from. First, if the goal of the city is just to save money, have just one district team. All city football athletes can play, practice and travel from All High Stadium. This Buffalo team can better compete in Section VI, Class AA. Crazy? Can you say Niagara Falls?
Better yet, get back to your roots. Get out of Section VI, a mistake to begin with in my opinion. Have six (or eight) solid schools. (I offer South Park, Burgard, Bennett, McKinley, Riverside and Hutch Tech, maybe East and City Honors). Have a Harvard Cup League, and a Harvard Cup championship game. City athletes from any of the other smaller schools can compete for the school in their home district ( at least they will get home after practice at a decent hour). Forget competing for a state championship. One hundred-plus years of Harvard Cup tradition is worth a lot more. Coaches, if your team is that good, it will show in the state rankings at the end of the season.
Good to have hockey back where it belongs
It only took one game for the devoted hockey fans of Buffalo to forget the lockout. The Sabres gave the fans what they wanted and that is exciting and winning hockey in the opener. All is forgiven so let the games begin and hopefully the Sabres have a successful season.
Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.