Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick spent two seasons (2007-08) backing up Carson Palmer in Cincinnati. The two became fast friends. Fitz will start against Palmer for the first time on Sunday when the Bengals host the Bills. He said they communicate with one another on a regular basis.
"Yeah," Fitz said. "Just joking, texts back and forth and that kind of stuff. Yeah, we talk about the season and how it's been going, what we're going to go to eat."
Fitz was asked if he and Palmer joked about their passing statistics. "No," Fitzpatrick said. "Are they funny to you? Uh, I don't know. I don't know why I would joke about them."
Well, Fitz might want to needle his mentor about their respective spots in the NFL passing stats. Fitz has taken a tumble the last few weeks. He's dropped to 11th in the NFL in quarterback rating at 85.5. That's one spot in front of Palmer -- a former No. 1 overall draft pick -- in the ratings.
Oh, and Fitz is second in the NFL in third-down passer rating at 110.0, just behind Drew Brees of the Saints. Palmer is 26th at 59.8. He has completed just 50 percent of his third-down throws.
So it'll be a big game for both this Sunday. Fitz admitted it won't be just another game. Palmer, meanwhile, has been struggling for a team that has lost six straight games. If he loses to his former caddy at home, Bengals fans might begin to wonder if they should be the ones looking to take a quarterback high in the draft.