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J.P. Losman made things easy for Dick Jauron. Prior to the Jacksonville game, Losman publicly announced that Sunday’s game would be the most important of his career and that his job was on the line. He then barely showed up in Jacksonville and put on a typically sloppy performance. For the record, I think Losman has the talent to be an NFL quarterback, but he seems to fall apart under pressure. The only time he has played well and with consistency was in the second half of 2006 when it was made clear that his job was not on the line. 2007 started well for the young quarterback in the pre-season until Edwards started out-performing him in the pre-season games and the talk started. Losman clearly couldn’t keep his head in the game and struggled mightily.
When Losman injured his knee in New England, Edwards came in and had a horrible performance that was over-shadowed by one solid drive (his first series of the game). Edwards completed a paltry 50% of his passes in the game for 97 yards (55 of which came on his first possession). His attempt to go deep to evans resulted in an interception. The following week Edwards came out of his shell a bit and had a strong performance against the lowly NY Jets. His high completion percentage was impressive at 78.6% but resulted in only 234 yards. He had his only touchdown as an NFL player in the game, but also threw an ugly interception. The result was a 3 point victory over one of the worst teams in the NFL. The following week he had another impressive completion percentage game at 74.2% but the result was for fewer yards despite an additional completion (176 yards). The Bills defense forced 6 turnovers and scored twice as did the special teams, but the Edwards led offense only mustered 3 points. The Jets and Dallas games were by far Edwards’ best and between the two he averaged only 9.1 yards per completion. His play fell off significantly in his 3rd start, completing 52.4% of his passes for 153 yards and one interception. With some help from Marshawn Lynch and the defense, the Bills still managed to pull off a win against the Ravens. At this point Bills fans were singing Edwards praise as was much of the national media, despite his overall unimpressive numbers. He then started the second Jets game where he was pressured and generally looked pretty ineffective against a terrible football team. Edwards then hurt his wrist and Losman stepped in and easily handled the Jets late in the game.
With his starting job gift wrapped and handed back to him, Losman had an impressive performance against an unimpressive Bengals defense and then went back to his inconsistent and sloppy play. The pressure of each game possibly being his last clearly was not good for Losman. The fact that the pressure was too much also doesn’t bode well for Losman’s long-term sustainability as a quarterback in the NFL. Regardless, Losman will get another chance with another team next season and if he is lucky, he will have a better offensive coordinator that will call plays that work to Losman’s advantage. Losman can excel in an offense that utilizes the shotgun more, play action passing and no-huddle. Assuming he can focus enough to avoid over-throwing his receivers etc.
So fans are excited that Edwards is back as the starter, and he does show a lot of poise under center. However, he is a rookie and so far has mostly looked like a rookie when he has played. He is good for an ugly interception per game and 1 touchdown pass every five games thus far. So don’t expect him to step in and throw for big yards and make the Bills offense come to life. It won’t happen this season (possibly in 2008 though). The main reason why Edwards will not set the world on fire is that he, like Losman, has almost no one to throw the ball to. He also is at the mercy of a horrendous offensive coordinator who tries to force his players into a system instead of building a system around his players. The receivers coaching is terrible also as is the offensive line coaching. McNally gets a lot of praise but has not earned it. The expensive and talented offensive line on the Bills is “Big but has poor footwork” according to the Ravens. This reflects on the coaching again.
One thing I have noticed regardless of who is at quarterback, when the Bills throw the ball short to a receiver, the Bills’ receivers just don’t seem to know how to run after the catch for a first down. If the Bills need 7 yards on 3rd down and throw to a check down, its almost guaranteed that he will get 5 yards and they will punt. Josh Reed doesn’t have the best hands on the team but he is one of the only receivers with any run after the catch ability on short routes. Roscoe Parrish is mis-used constantly. Lee Evans is better deep but since the Bills have no other significant receiving threats, he faces constant double coverage. The coaching staff is too conservative to try to force things to go Evans’ way so the whole passing game suffers.
The Bills started the season with lots of young potential at Tight End but most of their Tight Ends are injured and/or on IR. In fact, the whole Bills roster reads like the lineup in the fourth quarter of a pre-season game. Fred Jackson is the starting running back this week. D’giorgio, Greer, Wilson (all depth players) are starting on defense. Its really pretty amazing that the Bills are 5-6 considering the injury situation. This is why Dick Jauron and his Defensive staff should keep their jobs while cleaning house on Offense. Afterall, no one ever said that Jauron was an offensive minded coach, he needs a great offensive coordinator and he clearly doesn’t have one.
Luckily for the Bills, they face the Washington Redskins who are reeling from the fact that their pro-bowl safety was murdered this past week. No this doesn’t help “inspire” the Skins. This, as the Redskins players have said, makes it hard to think about football. When there is a moment of silence at the beginning of the game, all focus will be lost for the home team. The Bills offense will still be awful, but good enough to win another snoozer Buffalo 14 Washington 7.
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