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Stevie Johnson: Ryan Fitzpatrick needs competition

One of Doug Marrone's early challenges as head coach of the Buffalo Bills: Make a decision about Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The quarterback has been an uneven performer since taking over the starting role in 2010. Fitzpatrick's top target, receiver Stevie Johnson, would like to see some competition under center.

"Because competition brings out the best in us," Johnson told The Buffalo News earlier this month. "If we went out and got another quarterback, who knows what'll happen? Fitz may still win, or the other guy may win. Let it happen like that.

"I'm a guy that's about competing. Bring whoever you want in and the better man will win. So be it."

Johnson stressed he wasn't out to rip Fitzpatrick -- saying he has faith in his quarterback -- but the wideout is likely to get his wish. The new coaching staff is certain to explore its options.

Marrone started at Syracuse with a pro-style attack but experimented with one-back sets and plenty of no-huddle. The Bills weren't a boring team offensively a season ago, but we expect some intriguing changes.

Fitzpatrick has been too inconsistent for too long under center. General manager Buddy Nix is on the record talking about the need for a franchise passer, and Fitzpatrick is running out of time to prove he's that guy. If he can't, someone else will get the chance.

"He is a good quarterback," Johnson said. "We've all seen that. Obviously, they may bring somebody else in. I just hope it leads to competition. I think Fitz is one of those competitors. He may come out with the job again."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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