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Stevie Johnson: Fitzpatrick throws to left with zip

By Tim Graham

One of the more popular topics of the Buffalo Bills' early offseason has been the potential impact of new quarterbacks coach David Lee on Ryan Fitzpatrick's mechanics.

So I asked an educated observer if he notices any difference in Fitzpatrick's delivery now that voluntary workouts are over and only three minicamp practices remain until the Bills report to St. John Fisher.

"When he's throwing to the right, he has a lot of power with his ball," Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said. "But when he was throwing across his body, it wasn't as powerful. Seeing him out here, working with Coach Lee, when he's throwing across his body he still has the power.

"We'll see how it all plays out during a real game after so many snaps. But, for the most parts, it looks like he's getting better with Coach Lee."

More power to the left is a good thing. That's precisely what Lee wants to improve. Lee previously noted he was unhappy with the placement of Fitzpatrick's left foot and that the eighth-year pro struggled on long throws to the left.

"I think he possibly struggled a little bit more deep to his left than he did to his right," Lee said. "No. 1, is when he was releasing the ball. When he lets that thing go between 9 and 12 yards [downfield], he's not underthrowing anybody. It's when he holds it longer and it comes out at 15, 16 [yards], that's when the underthrow takes place."

A review of the official NFL game summaries shows Fitzpatrick threw eight of his 23 interceptions to the left side of the field (short and deep). He threw seven in the middle of the field and eight on the right side.

Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions while trying to connect with Johnson on deep throws to the left in a close loss to the New York Giants in Week 6.

Fitzpatrick also threw interceptions to the left against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, the Dolphins again in Week 15 and the New England Patriots twice in Week 17.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |