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The Buffalo Bills once again find themselves in the middle of a quarterback controversy. This time around it is J.P. Losman, a veteran of Buffalo quarterback controversies, and rookie Trent Edwards, a… rookie. The coaching staff has been doing a lot of tap dancing as it seems obvious that they are itching to start their recent draft pick, yet owe Losman some respect after the way he finished last season. There doesn’t seem to be any question that the organization has decided to go to Edwards as their future star quarterback. But is he really better than Losman at this point? And is it in his best interest to learn as he goes on the field with an already unsettled and awkward offense? After all, this offense was built around Losman. Wasn’t it? Edwards was a pleasant surprise on draft day. A player the coaches couldn’t pass up on but they didn’t really expect to have a shot at him. How the Bills handle the current situation will say a lot about where the team is headed.
Trent Edwards has shown a lot of poise and composure in the pocket. For the most part he has managed a clean offense, but the team has struggled mightily at times under his leadership. Edwards has thrown 1 extremely bad interception in each of his appearances this season. All were at critical points in the game. Sure they are rookie mistakes, but why suffer through the rookie learning process if you have an experienced veteran on your squad?
Edwards has a questionable injury just like Losman did. It makes for a great excuse to make a non-committal move to start Losman again against a soft Cincinnati defense. Losman ought to have a lot of success. If he doesn’t and the Bills struggle, Jauron can easily start Edwards next week agaisnt the lowly Dolphins. But in the more likely event that Losman helps the team score more than one touchdown and Marshawn Lynch ends up with 100+ yards as a result, Losman should keep the starting job. Not only will Edwards benefit from watching the more experienced quarterback, but Losman will be raising his value. If the Bills decide to trade Losman, he will have a lot more value if he is coming off a successful campaign. There’s also a possibility that the Bills could hold onto both quarterbacks, particularly if Losman re-emerges as the starter.
The thing that makes this situation different from many quarterback controversies is the fact that Losman and Edwards have each other’s back. Both quarterbacks have said how they want eachother to be successful. They could co-exist. Edwards lacks the arm strength to challenge any NFL defenses. If he wants to be a starter he needs to show that he can get the ball down field. That’s when his interceptions have come. Edwards is better off working on that in the off season than struggling on the field and letting his team down. The top players on the offense, particularly Evans, feel that Losman gives them a better chance. But Edwards could be the Reich to Losman’s Kelly.
The Bottom line is, Losman has done a better job with the football this season despite how Edwards “appears” on the field. Despite facing far more menacing defenses than the ones Edwards faced, Losman is ahead of Edwards in almost every significant category.
Losman: 33 of 52 for 368 yards (63.5% completion) 1 touchdown, 1 interception, average completion 11.15, average per attempt 7.07 , passer rating 82.9
Edwards: 80 of 121 for 790 yards (66.1% completion) 1 touchdown, 5 interceptions, average completion 9.875, average per attempt 6.5, passer rating 69.9
The numbers speak for themselves. Despite having more opportunity to play and facing softer defenses, Edwards is producing, on average, half a yard less per passing play and nearly 1.5 yards per completion. 5 interceptions to 1 touchdown is a bad ratio. The Bills have an easy excuse to switch back to Losman and they are using it.
Losman gets to face the second worst defense in the league at home. The Bengals are ranked 28th at passing defense and 24th at rushing defense. Marshawn Lynch will finally get his 100 and Losman will throw for three touchdowns in a breakout game. The game will still be close because Cincinnati’s tough offense will bring the Bills young defense a dose of reality. In the end, the Bills find a way to beat the Bengals as they have often in the past. Bills 31 Bengals 27
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