Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey didn't pull any punches in the early goings of training camp, expressing dissatisfaction with his second- and third-team offenses and the men operating them, backup quarterback candidates Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen. Gailey's tone changed on Monday with respect to Young, however, as the veteran quarterback seems have progressed in his efforts to learn the team's offense.
"That is the best he has done since he has been here," Gailey told reporters yesterday. "I think today was the best day since he has been here."
Asked specifically about how well he's learned the offense, Gailey made sure that reporters knew that the team isn't bringing him into the system slowly.
"We are trying to do everything with him," Gailey said. "We are not holding anything back. He has a better grasp of it than he did at any time in OTAs and mini-camp, and I think he is feeling a lot more comfortable."
Gailey's public compliments for his newest quarterback are not exactly effusive, but they're nonetheless noteworthy given that Young's counterpart in the backup quarterback battle, Thigpen, has not received similar public commentary from the head coach or GM Buddy Nix. Nix, meanwhile, has talked up Young's ability to play well in games quite frequently this off-season.
In my mind, Young has always been the favorite to be the top understudy to Ryan Fitzpatrick, and nothing that either Young or Thigpen has done this off-season has really changed that - but this commentary, however mild, is the first insight we've had into the positional race so far this year. Both players are still rotating back and forth between the second and third teams, and Young will take second-team reps in this weekend's pre-season game against Minnesota (he took third-team reps in the loss to Washington).
Question: is anyone out there honestly expecting Thigpen to beat Young out for this job?