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Ex-Bills coach: Ryan Fitzpatrick a 'below-average' QB

Ryan Fitzpatrick will be auditioning for his starting quarterback job with the Buffalo Bills this summer. It sounds as if the team's former tight ends coach believes the Bills would be better off going in a different direction.

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"If you have a dominating defense, you can get by with an average to below-average quarterback," Pete Metzelaars told The Buffalo News in a story published Wednesday. "If you don't have a dominating defense, you need a winning quarterback in the NFL.

"Fitz is an average to below-average kind of guy, and unfortunately he made some bad decisions at the end of games and then didn't make plays at the ends of other games we had chances to win. So it's got to start there."

Strong words from Metzelaars, who was let go along with the rest of the coaching staff after the Bills fired head coach Chan Gailey. We can see why Metzelaars' outspokenness on the issue might tie into the feeling that Fitzpatrick's struggles cost him his gainful employment. Metzelaars was not considered for coach Doug Marrone's new staff and remains out of work.

Then again, Metzelaars is pretty spot-on in his assessment. Fitzpatrick can be a piece of the puzzle, but it now seems apparent he's little more than a middle-of-the-road QB. Each passing week this season seemed to further indict Buffalo's decision to hand Fitzpatrick that fat contract extension in 2011.

"I don't want to throw Fitz under the bus, but you've got to get an answer at quarterback," Metzelaars said. "That's got to be the No. 1 priority."

The Bills used a Marrone quote in a press release to announce that Fitzpatrick will compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job in 2013. Metzelaars' comments indicate that support for Fitzpatrick was flagging with the prior regime as well.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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