AFC East mailbag: Bills and Jets

It’s tough being Buffalo Bills (4-7) and New York Jets (4-7) fans. Both teams are out of the playoff picture in the AFC East and there’s still five games left to play.

With that in mind, let’s answer some questions and complaints on the Bills and Jets from our AFC East inbox.

Silas Atwood from Buffalo writes: All year long you've said that Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to be more consistent for the Bills to win. What Buffalo REALLY needs to do is keep the ball away from him as much as possible. The more he controls the ball, the more likely we are to lose. Hand it off and get out of the way, Fitz.

James Walker: This sounds great in theory, Silas. But this is the NFL. Eventually you have to throw the football. The Jets, for example, would love to run the football 40 times every game and allow quarterback Mark Sanchez to throw only when needed. But that’s too predictable and easy to stop. The Bills are trying to hold Fitzpatrick’s hand but that hasn’t worked and now players are frustrated. The good teams have balance.

Bruce Johnson from Deland, Fla., writes: The Bills should fire Chan Gailey- if he hasn't learned solid play-calling and game management by now, he never will. My question for you is, do you think that the Bills would entertain hiring Perry Fewell if he were willing to come back? The Bills were trying to emulate the Giants' defensive philosophy with their front four. Fewell could elevate the Bills' D to a whole other level with existing personnel and a decent draft. What do you think?

JW: Good question, Bruce. I’m so caught up in this season that I haven’t thought about potential coaching hires. Gailey isn’t out the door yet. Let’s see what happens in Buffalo over these next five games. The Bills have an easy schedule and general manager Buddy Nix seems committed to Gailey. As far as Fewell, he’s been a solid candidate for a while but has yet to land a head post. I think there will be so many jobs available this year that Fewell will land someone. But it’s too early to say if Buffalo would be at the top of the list.

Jason from Athens, Ala., writes: Do you think Jairus Byrd is underrated? He is tied with Ed Reed for third most interceptions since 2009 when he came into the league, and when he make's plays the Bills tend to win. Does not seem like anybody gives him any credit.

JW: Byrd is underrated, largely due to where he plays. But he will get plenty of credit in a few months when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Bills need to pay up or another team will.

Sam Ditch from Mexico writes: You said it, James: It's not Tebow, it's the Jets. "They have no idea what to do with him." The Jets are out of control. The Jets are in a tailspin.

JW: Yes, Sam, the Jets have no idea what to do with Tebow, who has a unique set of skills. It takes innovation to get the most out of Tebow, and Jets head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano are not offensive innovators. It’s simply a bad fit, and I think Tebow should request a trade in the offseason.

Jared from New York writes: While I agree with you that Rex Ryan at least deserves another season in NY, I wanted to get your take on other changes to the Jets coaching staff: namely offensive coordinator. I think it's fairly clear that the Tony Sparano hire hasn't worked out as expected.

JW: This is something that must be worked out with Ryan and ownership. Most of the time, head coaches have control over their staff. They do the hiring and firing among the assistants. If that’s the case, Sparano isn’t going anywhere. The two have a lot of mutual respect and it’s only been one year. But sometimes there is intervention from the general manager or ownership in these kinds of matters. Occasionally the head coach is told he can stay, as long as alterations are made on the staff. It’s too early to say what direction the Jets are headed.