Bills Roster Review: Quarterbacks

Posted on January 26, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Trent Edwards Buffalo Sports DailyWe wanted to start this series earlier but as only the Buffalo Bills can do, an overdrawn head coach search consumed your thoughts as much as it did ours.

Now that we at least know Ralph Wilson Chan Gailey will be calling the shots, at long last we can begin to examine the roster of which he inherits.  As we’ve stated multiple times over the past few weeks; Vince Lombardi, George Halas or Bill Walsh could’ve taken the job and it wouldn’t matter until they find more talented players.

This is the first of a 10-part series that will take a look at the current makeup of the Bills roster by position, identifying the core talent and exploring where they need the most help.  Consider yourself forewarned; most sections won’t be appealing.

Today we commence with a look at the quarterbacks.

Trent Edwards

2009 Review: It wasn’t long ago Edwards was considered the next big thing in the NFL.  A month into the 2008 Edwards was referenced in MVP talk circles.  Just one year later he could be considered a long shot to be on the 2010 roster.

How hastily things have changed.

When Edwards entered the NFL in 2007 the biggest knock on him was his ability to stay healthy.

“To me, Trent Edwards, going back to when he was coming out of college, always had difficulty staying healthy a full season,” said one personnel executive to Pro Football Weekly recently.

That’s certainly been proven accurate. He’s been in the league three years and has yet to make it through one unscathed.

Injured prone aside, Edwards is also a guy of annihilated self confidence. You could see why Edwards was such a big fan of Dick Jauron; his cowardice, conservative mentality perfectly complimented his embattled coach.  Edwards threw for a mere 1,169 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven starts and a quick cameo relief appearance.  Saying he put no fear into opposing defenses is an understatement.

Contract Situation: He has one more year left on his rookie four-year contract and is set to earn $550K sensible in 2010.

2010 Outlook: He’s lost the faith of his teammates, fans and most importantly himself.  At this point I sense he needs a change of scenery to have a shot at a prolific NFL career.  His ship has almost certainly sailed from Lake Erie.

Trading him while he still has any value would be most sensible.  Edwards seems more equipped for the west coast and Oakland or San Francisco could become attracted partners.  By free agency, trade or draft the Bills will bring in a new quarterback and it’s near-certain to send Edwards packing.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

2009 Review: Fitzpatrick signed with the Bills last spring with a sneaking suspicion given Edwards’ injury reputation he’d get a chance to start.  He was right.  Fitzpatrick ended up playing in 10 games, throwing 1,422 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 69.7 passer rating was nothing special, but he wasn’t billed as the next Drew Brees either.

Contract Situation: Still has two years left on his deal. He’s scheduled to make $2.3 million next year and $2.8 million in 2011.

2010 Outlook: If the season were to start tomorrow he’d clearly be the starter, but that would point out the principal reason why the offense is such a mess.  Fitzpatrick is regarded around league circles as a quality backup because that’s exactly what he is—a backup.

The Bills could easily select a quarterback early in the draft and ease him in the lineup, which would mean more Fitzpatrick for the short term.  But it’s extremely doubtful Gailey goes into 2010 with a franchise turnaround riding on the arm of the former Harvard graduate.

Brian Brohm

2009 Review: The saying goes the backup quarterback is always the most popular person on the team, and that held true with Brohm.  Picked up from the Green Bay practice squad instantaneously after Jauron was fired, fans immediately clamored to see him on the field.

Injuries to Edwards and Fitzpatrick finally made it come to fruition in week 16 at Atlanta, but we learned precious little about him in just one start.

Brohm played the game with Andre Ramsey and Kirk Chambers as his tackles. Predictably he was sacked twice and ran for his life most of the afternoon. When he did have time he completed 17-of-29 passes for 146 yards, but threw two interceptions and missed on a few deep passes to an open Terrell Owens.

One game surely isn’t an endorsement or an indictment on his long term viability of a NFL quarterback. If anything it left us having more questions than before he stepped on the field.

Contract Situation: We know he’s signed for 2010, but his salary was never reported.

2010 Outlook: If there’s a genuine wild card on this entire roster it’s positively Brohm.  At this stage no one knows what the youngster is capable of.  The upside is Brohm is a guy who won in college, has a rocket for an arm and far more long term potential than anyone currently at the position.  The drawback is he’s a guy who couldn’t beat out a seventh-rounder in Green Bay for a backup job and was passed over by every team in the league before getting assigned to the Packers practice squad.

Having weighed the pros and cons, I’d be shocked if Gailey doesn’t give him sufficient chance to compete for a roster and possibly even a starting spot.  Maybe the Bills don’t secure a trade for a big-time quarterback or find a blue chip prospect with the ninth overall draft pick to their liking.

He’s emphatically still an unknown.  He could be out of the league just as easily as he can star in it.

Gibran Hamden

2009 Review: Not a factor

Contract Situation: Less of a factor

2010 Outlook: See 2009 review

Quarterback Organizational Outlook

It’s challenging to project what direction the Bills new coaching staff and management goes.  Trading for a quarterback is an option, though going after a big gun like Donovan McNabb is a huge reach, despite the impact he’d bring on the field and the box office.

Using a first rounder on Jimmy Clausen or moving down for Tim Tebow is more realistic, though the organization may decide left tackle is a bigger priority with their first pick.

A sleeper name to watch for is impending San Diego free agent Charlie Whitehurst.  General Manager Buddy Nix had a part in his drafting while serving as a scout with the Chargers.  Whitehurst has rotted behind Philip Rivers but the former third rounder from 2006 is just 27 years old.  Don’t be flabbergasted to see him get a shot here.

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5 Comments on Bills Roster Review: Quarterbacks

  1. Buffalo Bill’s America | Buffalo Bills NFL Announcer

    [...] Bills Roster Review: Quarterbacks : Buffalo Sports Daily [...]

  2. Mike Wright

    Clausen, Clausen, Clausen if he’s available. No re-treads or guys looking for a place to end their careers. We have to start over with a quality rookie.

  3. Gary

    TRY and develop Brohm as he already has a year here and should get same chance we gave Edwards- a full preseason and the “keys to the car” even if the car is breaking down all year.
    Lets face it this team has so many holes that working to develop a QB is not going to cost us a playoff spot this coming year.
    But we need CHANGE/HOPE.

  4. Bills Roster Review: Wide Receivers : Buffalo Sports Daily

    [...] Installments: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Tight [...]

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