In two games, the Buffalo Bills' offense has sputtered to an average of 176 yards per game and a whopping 17 points. As everyone knows, they lost both games and are legitimately staring at an 0-4 start.
It was inevitable that Chan Gailey was going to make a move to spark the offense, and that came yesterday when he announced that Trent Edwards was going to the bench in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the short term, Fitzpatrick will take shots down field and use his mobility to try and buy time and create plays; not to mention that the team played much better with Fitzpatrick in the huddle than Edwards last year, so the team may be moderately more competitive in the weeks going forward. It's not like this is the change that will spark the Bills into a playoff run, however. Obviously.
So at 0-2, with hope slipping with each face-melting drive, Gailey turns to Fitzpatrick to stop the bleeding. Does anyone actually believe that he will? Fitzpatrick will always be limited as an NFL quarterback and we have seen what he can produce. He will have his moments and more than his fair share of bad ones, and at the end of it all, he can expect to ride out his last year as a backup in the Bills organization.
However, Gailey misses a golden opportunity here to start Brian Brohm for the next 14 games and see what he can do. This would have been the best scenario for the Bills in the long term, and in the end that is what matters, as this team desperately needs a competent starting quarterback.
Why Brohm over Fitzpatrick? He's three years younger than Fitzpatrick and has the physical tools to be a starter. It's the mental part of the game that gets in his way of being a success. How do we figure out what we have? Throw him in against the Patriots, then the Jets, and let's see what he can do. If he fails, then it is an easy decision - he is an RFA at the end of this year; we let him go and it frees a roster spot. Assuming Edwards is gone as well, then there will be two free spots for two QBs that fit the scheme Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix want to run. If he is successful, we get to re-sign him and bring in other QB to see if he can handle the pressure of having to compete for the top spot. Either way, at the end of the season, we know what we need to know, and a decision can be made either way. Now, we just are left in a limbo.
Now and Tomorrow. I understand that the job of the NFL coach is to win football games. With that being said, it is a 98.9% certainty that Gailey will be the coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2011. Gailey and his coaching staff, under the supervision of Nix, should be focused on ensuring that we see what we have in our all of our young players. I'd rather have a team finish 2-14 with kids out there learning the game than try and plug in the vets to try and put together a win here or there. Stand in front of a podium and say "we are rebuilding." "It will get worse before it gets better, but at the end of the day, we will draft smart, play smart and be better." The Fitzpatrick move screams: "We are close and this can help us win on Sunday." That is the wrong message.
Edwards is still in the mix. By naming Fitzpatrick the starter, if he fails or gets injured, it opens the door for Edwards to step in, and quite frankly, he shouldn't. The Edwards Experiment is over - or at least it should be. He won't be cut or traded, but he won't be re-signed, as he is a shadow of the quarterback that we saw in 2008. What has he done to earn the right to be the backup? A backup should be capable of stepping in and winning a game for you, and Edwards can't do that. He is rattled, broken and mentally fragile, and these two games have cemented the end of him being a regular starter in the NFL. Allowing him to be the primary backup does the team an injustice given his performances in 2009 and 2010.
One thing is certain: unless the Bills get a better performance from their quarterbacks (regardless of who is starting), they will continue to under perform and could be looking at the prospect of a one- or two-win season.