Fewell names Fitzpatrick starter

Updated: November 19, 2009, 12:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Perry Fewell wasted no time making changes on his first full day as the Bills interim coach, picking Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the starting quarterback.

The decision to go with Fitzpatrick over Trent Edwards was announced shortly after the team's practice Wednesday as the Bills (3-6) prepare to play at Jacksonville (5-4) this weekend.

Fewell was promoted from defensive coordinator after Dick Jauron was fired Tuesday.

"He's got some fire in him and I like what he did in the first meeting," Fitzpatrick said. "He's here to kind of break us out of our little funk, and I think he's a good guy to do it."

Electing to go with Fitzpatrick over Trent Edwards, Fewell said he and the staff believe Fitzpatrick gives the Bills "the best opportunity."

The switch in quarterbacks comes after Edwards was yanked after having an interception returned for a touchdown with 3 minutes left in a 41-17 loss at Tennessee last weekend. It was Edwards' first game back after sustaining a concussion in a 16-13 overtime win against the New York Jets on Oct. 18.

Fitzpatrick rallied the Bills to beat the Jets and then went 1-1 in two starts. The offense has struggled no matter who's called the plays. It ranks 29th in the NFL in yards gained, is averaging a little over 15 points and hasn't generated 300 yards in any of its past seven outings.

Though Fewell said the job is Fitzpatrick's on a week to week basis, the quarterback said he's been told something different.

"I think right now it's my job," Fitzpatrick said. "I think right now he's handing me the job and I'm going to go ahead and try to take it."

On Thursday, the Bills signed quarterback Brian Brohm off the Green Bay Packers' practice squad. Brohm, once considered a likely top draft pick during his standout career at Louisville, fell to the Packers in the second round of the 2008 draft. He was inactive as the third quarterback for all 16 games in 2008, and ended up on the Packers' practice squad this season.

The Bills released quarterback Gibran Hamdan to make room for Brohm on the 53-man roster.

Receiver Terrell Owens backed the quarterback switch, noting that Fitzpatrick, in his fifth season, is more experienced than Edwards, who is in his third year. And Owens noted he thought Fitzpatrick had earned the right to take over after winning two of three games.

As for the coaching change, Owens shrugged.

"What's new?" he said, referring to a Bills team that's switched offensive coordinators in September, when Turk Schonert was fired. Owens added he contacted Jauron to thank him and wish him well.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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