When it appears all hope for a particular season is lost, some times dirty laundry gets aired in public. It appears some of the Bills dirty laundry was put on display after Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who recorded his first 100 yard game since last December, questioned the play calling and control of the offense by Head Coach Chan Gailey.
"How I see it is I think we need to let our quarterback call these plays you know what I mean?” Johnson said to reporters in the visitors lockerroom at Lucas Oil Stadium. “He's out there on the field, he sees the adjustments that need to be done and I think we should just let him make the adjustments on the go. I think that's how we can move the ball better. He did it a little in the game and we moved the ball so that's how I feel about it".
Johnson didn’t stop there. “This year has been like the only year where it has been controlled from the booth or the sideline or whatever, but we got the right guy that can control the offense and we have to take advantage of that" Johnson said. "The play calling is cool the plays are good what we have but in the situation, we’re the ones on the field you know what I mean? He(Ryan Fitzpatrick) knows what to check into, check out of you know what I mean? Its different when you're looking from the booth and see ok they may be in this from being out there you know what I mean? So, that's just my take on it."
More from Stevie: "I think we have the guy that can control the offense that can call these plays and be a general on the field like he's been for the last couple of years. We need to let him loose and let him just call plays"
During his Monday morning segment on WGR, Gailey was asked whether or not Fitzpatrick has the freedom to call audibles. "Some times he does, some times he doesn't” Gailey said. “He can go out there and change some things. It depends on the situation and the play and what we're trying to do. Some times the thing we're trying to do is run the football, we don't want to change it to a pass.”
Gailey was asked why Fitzpatrick doesn’t have complete freedom when it comes to changing a play based on what he sees before the snap. “If you ended up doing that every time, then he has to know every situation about pass protection” Gailey told WGR. “He has to know how many times you want C.J. Spiller to get the ball. He has to know do you want to run it here to set up third down? You've thrown it a couple of times, he has to know "lets run the football here". There's a lot more to it than just seeing what they do and calling a play. It’s setting up a play to set up the next play. Fitz is really good, he is smart. He can make adjustments on the field and sees things and knows what's going on but we're doing things today just like we did them last year and the year before that. We have been successful in times past. We just need to continue to execute in all phases of what we're trying to get done and then we can get back to where we've been offensively.”
During Fitzpatrick’s Monday morning segment on WGR, he was asked if he feels he has less control over the offense now as opposed to the last two seasons. “No, I don't think so. Chan does a great job during the week, going back and forth with the input that I have” Fitzpatrick said. “Plays I feel comfortable with, plays I don't feel comfortable with. There's some leeway at the line of scrimmage with a decent amount of plays and some there's not, just like in any offense."
Fitzpatrick, who said he hasn’t spoken with Johnson about the post game remarks, was then asked what he thought of the comments from Johnson and why he might feel there’s more control coming from the sidelines this season. "We're trying to get the ball to CJ and Fred and they've done such a great job too” the Bills QB said. “Last year and the year before, we may have done a little more of the no huddle and up tempo stuff to try and spark us and get us going a little bit. When that happens, Fred and CJ tend to not get as many touches and I think that’s probably part of the reason why we've gone that way this year."
As to the control of the offense, Fitzpatrick said he has no problems with Gailey in that area. "Chan and I have a great understanding of each other and what we're trying to get done. I'm very comfortable with my role in the offense and I think our relationship is fine in terms of on the field and our discussions on the sideline."
The full interviews with Johnson, Gailey and Fitzpatrick are available in On Demand Audio.