The Bills' Quarterback Situation

by Nick Smith in

Here are some thoughts on the quarterback situation in Buffalo.  I'll start by ranking who I think our best options at quarterback are for next year. 1. Matt Moore

2. Colt McCoy

3. Michael Vick

4. Tim Tebow

5. Trent Edwards

I'm sure Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen have a lot of potential in the NFL.  The issue is, if we use our first-round pick on a quarterback, I think we will be wasting that pick, not only as a lost opportunity to build other positions, but also in that I do not think either of them will be able to develop at the position in Buffalo because we need to use that first pick on a franchise left tackle.  There will be a bunch of really good OTs on the board when our #9 pick rolls around.

From what I saw of Matt Moore in his play for the Panthers this year, I think he has a lot of ability.  He made the Giants secondary look like a D3 college team.  Granted it was the injury-plagued Giants secondary, but we play in a division with some pretty mediocre secondaries (the mainland, not Revis Island).  He will be a restricted free agent so we'll have to fork a draft pick or 2 over to the Panthers, but if he's the guy, that is a pittance.  I can't believe they started Jake Delhomme for so long with this guy on the bench.

I like Colt McCoy as the Bills QB.  He's a winner.  If not for that freak injury, he could very well have won the BCS championship this year.   Also, I've seen a lot of boards putting him in the late first/early second round area, which means there is a realistic chance we could nab him in the second round, which frees us up to use the first round pick to get a left tackle so he doesn't spend his time in Buffalo getting pummeled.   We wouldn't get that chance with Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen.

I understand why a lot of people don't want to see Michael Vick in Buffalo.  He did some truly terrible things.  But he went to jail for those terrible things.  He has (at least it seems to me) shown a genuine remorse and willingness to change from doing those terrible things.  He has tools that can help reinvigorate Buffalo's offense.  If we decide not to choose and OT in the first round, or the OT we chooses turns into a bust (a la Mike Williams in 2002), he will be able to use his legs to avoid the onslaught let through by the line.

I'm not going to get into the politics of Tim Tebow.  If he helps the Bills win, I don't really care what he supports (within reason).  I know many people are worried about problems in his delivery and his lack of experience under center.  There's lots of reasons to be worried about whether or not Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL.  Here's some reasons why he CAN.  1. The dude is a hard worker, plain and simple.  He will bust his ass to make his team win.  I am sure ever since he beat the shit out of a Cincinnati team that was betrayed by its coach in January, he has been working nonstop at improving his mechanics and learning how to play under center.  2. He is a leader.  He can be the leader we haven't had since Kelly (*maybe* Flutie).  3.  All the people who say he can't play under center fail to acknowledge an important fact: Shotgun passing is on the rise.  Tom Brady throws an astonishing amount of his passes from the shotgun, and many argue he was the best quarterback of the decade that just ended.  I'm not that worried about it.

I don't see a lot of other options better than the ones we already have on the market or in the draft.  McNabb would cost more than he'd be worth (unless they give him to us really cheap to make up for the Jason Peters fleecing).  Jason Campbell can be a decent NFL quarterback, but I don't think the situation in Buffalo is different enough from the one in Washington for anything to be different for him.  Guys further down the draft board I wouldn't mind us taking a flyer, but we wouldn't want to start them in our opener next year, better they develop under someone else for a while and maybe a year or two down the road when they're up to speed we can give them a shot.

Unless we get one of the four guys at the top of the list, I think our best option is to stick with Trent Edwards.  I'm still not sold that he is a total failure.  I truly believe that with a little protection, he can be a perfectly acceptable starter for Buffalo.  The interior of the offensive line will be returning next year healthier and more experienced.  Andy Levitre and Eric Wood, our right and left guards, were both rookies last year, and Wood was grievously injured halfway through the season.  I don't have a lot of faith in Geoff Hangartner, but he seems to be the center for now, and he pretty much anchored the shambles that was last year's line.  If we get an NFL-ready left tackle in the draft (from what I hear, Bryan Bulaga sounds like a winner), and we can manage to stay healthy, I think things will be a little more comfortable in the pocket next year.

I think playing Fitzpatrick was the right decision last year, but I think Edwards has a higher ceiling.  I understand his problems with throwing the ball downfield, but I think if he actually has some time in the pocket, he will build his confidence throwing.  The last 3 years, it has not been a treat to quarterback the Buffalo Bills.  If I was a QB in Buffalo my internal clock would be flashing 12:00 AM.  Every play, the only thing on my mind would be getting the brown thing I'm holding to the nearest guy with a blue shirt and 2 hands before a monster with a steel head came and knocked me unconscious again.  Do I think he's definitely the answer for Buffalo?  No.  But he might be, and if we don't get a guy who's worth it, we may very well find out.