QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Conference Call

On growing up with Redskins QB John Beck:
Yea, we did. I think it started off with swimming to be honest. Heís a year older than I am and I have two older brothers that are twins who are a year-and-a-half older than I am, so he was in between us. We grew up playing sports against each other and even at one point kind of training with the same guy back in high school. I know John well from just growing up together.

On if he thought Beck would grow up to be a quarterback:
Yea, I think quarterback was always what he wanted to do. I do remember he was a really good at backstroke though (jokingly). I think thatís the main thing when he was nine or 10 years I think he was maybe the best at backstroke in the state.

On taking a similar path as Beck to the NFL and facing each other on Sunday:
I think his dad coaches pole-vaulting at my high school, too. So I know his dad a little bit. Youíll have to check that with himÖ I think itís cool. There arenít a ton of NFL players and quarterbacks that have been groomed from that area, so I think itís a neat thing for Gilbert and Mesa to have us facing off against each other.

On if he talked to Beck about the path heís taken:
The only time weíve really talked is when we played against each other either before or after the game. I havenít really seen him in the off-season or anything. But I know that heís a guy that loves football and it didnít start the way he wanted it to in Miami. But heís stuck with it and now heís getting another big-time opportunity.

On Beckís competitive spirit:
Heís definitely a competitor. I think just in general to be a quarterback in this league you have to be a competitor in order to stick around for more than a year or two. Iím not surprised by it.

On the factors that have played into his success this year:
I think the road that Iíve taken to get here. Iíve been on multiple teams and in multiple offenses, played with a lot of different guys. Iíve been able to sit back and watch how good players and quarterbacks have prepared and gone about their business. But it really has been a process for me. I played a little bit early in my career but I wasnít ready. Probably until last year I didnít know that I was really ready for the mental side of it. I put all of the hours in and worked my tail off physically. But itís a tough game, a tough position and it really does take some time to mature. And I think last year was the first time I felt comfortable on the field. I think in getting with somebody like Chan and the offense that he runs and being able to be the leader of the offense now for a second year thatís helped me make enormous strides.

On if it makes it tougher knowing that quarterbacks not selected high donít get playing opportunities:
I think that itís becoming harder now. If youíre a seventh-round pick now with as many teams that only keep two quarterbacks and with NFL Europe not being around itís really hard to be on a team. Itís really hard to develop as a quarterback when youíre not a high draft pick. So for me the pathÖ I was a three for a couple of years, got to play a little bit and then somebody took a chance on me with the Bengals to become the backup. But you have to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them and I think thatís the biggest reason for where I am today.
On what it means to him knowing that the organization is looking at a contract extension:
Thatís something that has been ongoing. Thatís my agent and the club talking. Something I try to stay out of as much as possible, obviously Iíve got to be a little bit involved in it. Especially during the season Iíve got to continue to focus on just going out and playing well and then I think everything takes care of itself.

On if he played against Beck in high school:
Yeah we played Mountain View, but John was older than I was. I think he was two years ahead of me. When I was a sophomore I got brought up to varsity but was the third-string guy. John was playing and my brother was the quarterback at Highland and my brother broke his collar bone in that game, I guess thatís what I remember most about that. I played Mountain View again but he was already gone, either on a mission or at bye by the time I was actually playing.

On what he remembers about Mountain View and their program:
Itís hard nose, always tough and always really good. I donít know how theyíve been in recent years but back when I was in high school that was the high school in terms of Arizona football, the one that everybody was gunning for.

On what kind of dynamic RB C.J. Spiller brings to the offense:
I think weíre trying to find ways to get C.J. (Spiller) the ball way. With as effective as Fred (Jackson) has been this year in the running game, in the passing game, heís really taken over the majority of the carries and the catches. Weíve got to find a way to get C.J. the ball. Weíve had some injuries in the wide receiver group and thatís also been the reason heís gotten more time there. Heís faster. Heís a step faster than everybody. Itís just someone to have out on the field and weíre looking forward to him as he gets more comfortable with his role outside as a receiver to make some big plays for us.

On if he looks into the Bills being winless in Toronto:
I donít even know what the record is so I guess we donít put any stock in it really. I played the last two years in both games. I think we lost to the Jets the first year and we lost to Chicago last year but I donít know that anybody could tell you what our record is over there to be honest.

On if being part of an underdog group brings them closer together:
Itís something that weíve bonded over. And I think everybody understands and appreciates the opportunity that theyíve been given. Weíve all had to work so hard to be given this opportunity. I think everybody has earned the opportunity to go out there and play. I think these guys now understand that being undrafted, being a seventh-round pick, being the lowest guy on the totem pole for so long, these opportunities donít come by every day. Itís taking advantage of that right now and living in the moment and putting all that extra time in the film room and on the field and I think thatís a lot of the reason why weíve been successful this year.

On what he does to make sure he doesnít take a hit or sack:
I think it starts with the guys up front. Theyíve done such a good job. Fred Jackson is a very, very good blocker which also ties into it. I think understanding the schemes, understanding where your weaknesses are and understanding when a free guyís coming and not holding the ball back there not letting them get to you when theyíre not blocked. I think thatís been the biggest thing.


Head Coach Chan Gailey

On what he sees with the Redskins run defense:
The thing that I donít see is a lot of big runs. Every now or then you see one get out of there. But thereís not a lot of big runs and theyíve been able to play the run in my opinion, from watching them on film, fairly effectively. Theyíre strong up front and theyíve got great savvy players up front. I donít see them giving up a ton of big plays in the run game. Youíre talking to a coach thatís got a defense thatís got a bunch of big runs against him. Heís looking at a defense thatís playing pretty good right now.

On his experience with coaching a team that has a lot of injuries:
What happens is, injuries are part of the game and you have to deal with it. Weíve had injuries to two offensive linemen and two starting receivers but it didnít happen in a two week span, it happened over a period of time. Thatís what happens is you hope they donít all hit at once. What I found in the past is that when another guy got an opportunity - theyíre all professional football players and they wouldnít be here unless they were good - somebody stepped in and ended up playing fairly well. And when he got an opportunity he took advantage of it. Thatís what happened with our team, guys have taken advantage of the opportunities when theyíve had them.

On whatís allowed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to have such a successful start:
Heís highly intelligent, heís got very good accuracy and heís got enough gunslinger in him to try to make some throws that maybe some other guys wouldnít try to make. But heís smart enough to not be dangerous with the football. He doesnít go out and make a ton of mistakes. He understands protections and he understands defenses so he gives him himself an opportunity to be successful.

On how he evaluates Fitzpatrick from where heís been and how heís been able to come all the way back:
Perseverance is a character trait that you wish a lot of people have. There are a lot of people out in this world right now giving up because things donít go their way and he didnít do that. We have a bunch of players on our football team that are like that. They just didnít give up. They kept fighting and chasing what they wanted to do. He finally has taken advantage of an opportunity that heís got. We donít ever make guys better than they are. All we do is help them get as good as they can be. It was always there and we just are giving him the opportunity to become a good player and heís taking advantage of it. Perseverance is the key to the whole thing.

On how he knew that they could build an offense around Fitzpatrick:
Decision making and accuracy are the two number one things for a quarterback. Itís been that way ever since Iíve been in the league but Iíve only been in the league since 1985. I think that it probably was the same way before that. If a guy makes good decisions, understands the game and heís an accurate thrower, he can be successful in this league. It doesnít matter how big you are, how fast you are or what kind of arm strength youíve got. You can be a good player if you have those two traits and he has both of those.

On if the few amount of sacks to Fitzpatrick have more to do with him or the offensive line:
Both. I donít think you can say one or the other. I think itís both. I think our offensive line has done a good job. I think he understands protections, when the ball needs to come out in a hurry and he understands when he can hold it and get a ball downfield. I think itís a little bit of both of that.

On if had to make any changes to his preparation schedule because of playing in Toronto:
None. We donít make any changes. We get on a bus instead of getting on a plane. Other than that itís exactly the same.

On what he attributes to the Bills not winning when playing in Toronto:
We havenít been a very good football team, thatís what it is.




(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)