Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix has been talking about quarterbacks so much in recent weeks that he's starting to lay the verbal groundwork needed just in case the team doesn't acquire a quarterback this off-season.
Speaking with The Associated Press, Nix cautioned that the team's philosophy in drafting a quarterback hasn't changed.
"I think the priority is the same," Nix said. "I think (fans) could take it to the bank every year. We had that intent (to draft a quarterback) every year, and we've got it again. Hopefully, they know me well enough that that's what we'll try to do if the guy's there."
The difference this season, of course, is that the team has fewer holes to plug in this year's draft. Yes, there are holes, but the team is younger and deeper than in any season since Nix took over the football operation in 2010 - and that could mean that the team will see a bigger opportunity to draft a quarterback next spring.
"There's two ways of looking at doing it: you could get your quarterback first and then try to fill the other holes around him," Nix said. "But then you take a chance on injury, and a chance on breaking his confidence down." He'd later add, "What we did was we had so many needs to start with that every time there was a high-rated player there, we knew he would fill a spot."
The biggest (and best) single criticism that fans can levy against Nix is that he has not attacked the team's lack of a developmental quarterback with enough urgency. In repeatedly discussing the position this season, Nix seems to be aware of the fact that now that the team is deeper in key spots - particularly along the offensive line - he may be in a better position to finally make that move than in years past.
But he's also carefully making sure that we're all aware that the team still isn't going to press the issue with a guy they don't believe in. In short, Nix has been saying all along that they'll draft a quarterback if the price is right, and if they think he can be a long-term answer. They won't take one just to take one. His bases are covered - that's really all he can do - but clearly, that won't help the team's PR efforts if the Bills enter the 2013 season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter and no young player in development behind him.