Edwards enters Year 2 with starting experience (Photo Source)
Prior to the 2008 NFL Draft - in fact, prior to the free agent signing period of this past March - we took a look at the Buffalo Bills' roster position by position, breaking down then-current personnel, finding holes, and building our community needs list.
Now that free agency and the Draft have been completed, and the Bills have infused their roster with new talent, it's time to repeat our process. Where has Buffalo gotten better? Where have they gotten worse? How will additions impact which Bills veterans remain on the roster? These are questions that we'll attempt to answer over the next week or so.
We'll start the positional discussions off today by looking, of course, at Buffalo's quarterback situation. To see our previous discussion on Buffalo's quarterbacks, bang it here.
Trent Edwards: Buffalo's second-year starting quarterback has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. We all are keenly aware of where Edwards' strengths lie - he's got excellent pocket awareness, a very solid (if unspectacular) arm, the ability to read defenses, and that dreaded "p" word, potential. We're also keenly aware of Edwards' weaknesses, most notably his lack of statistical production - both on a personal level as well as a team offense level.
Clearly, Edwards - who still has less than a full season's worth of NFL starts under his belt - has a lot of growing up to do, not only in terms of increasing Buffalo's mediocre scoring output, but blossoming into a team leader as well. Despite all of the question marks, however, Edwards is clearly and irrevocably (do you hear that, Coach Jauron? irrevocably) Buffalo's starting quarterback.
J.P. Losman: After making it known that he'd much prefer a trade out of town this past January, Losman remains a Bill, and he is clearly and irrevocably (do you hear that, Coach Jauron? irrevocably) Buffalo's backup quarterback. Losman struggled in his '07 starts after an '06 season that showed marginal growth on his part. He will likely only be a Bill for one more season (his current contract expires after 2008), and he'll then hit the open waters as an unrestricted free agent. Due to the lack of an appealing veteran option, and the lack of a trade partner, and the fact that he's the best man for the job, Losman is the team's best bet at backup quarterback.
Gibran Hamdan: Signed during the '07 season after the team released Craig Nall for a second time, Hamdan currently resides at third on the depth chart. The coaching staff likes Hamdan, but does he hold enough sway with the coaches to keep his job safe from the likes of Matt Baker and Luke Drone?
The Additions: Matt Baker, Luke Drone
We mentioned prior to the events of the off-season that should the Bills trade Losman, adding a backup quarterback with experience. Clearly, the Losman trade did not happen, and the Bills instead chose to round out their training camp depth chart by adding Baker - an NFL practice squad veteran - and Drone, an undrafted rookie free agent from Division I-AA Illinois State. Baker and Drone will enter a three-way competition with Hamdan for the #3 quarterback role in Buffalo; whether any of them ultimately makes the roster remains to be seen.
The Subtractions: None
Pre-Season Outlook: Edwards and Losman are locked in to the '08 opening day roster, and will serve in their irrevocable (Coach?) starter/backup respective roles. Whether or not Hamdan, Baker or Drone makes the roster depends heavily on whether or not the Bills keep more than two quarterbacks on the opening day roster (they entered '07 with two on the roster). At least one of the trio of Hamdan, Baker and Drone will stick around, either on the active roster or as a member of the practice squad.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts on Buffalo's quarterback position - whether it be Edwards, Losman, the third-string trio, roster numbers, or anything else your little hearts desire - in the comments section.