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On Quarterbacks, Prom and the "One Week" Approach

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Jauron leaves door open at QB (BuffaloBills.com)

Think back to your high school prom. (If you did not go to your high school prom, imagine yourself as that buddy of yours who did - I promise, there's a purpose). If you were without significant other, like yours truly at that juncture, you may have had a question such as this run through your head (paraphrase to fit your own style of frantic thought):

"Oh God... who am I going to take? I could ask Friend Girl Who Kind of Likes Me... but boy, if Hot Girl Without a Date doesn't pair off in the next week, I'll ask her..."

Then Girl Who Kind of Likes You asks you. You're stuck, right? Because obviously, you would rather be seen in public with Hot Girl Without a Date - just imagine how that scene would elevate your social status! Friend Girl Who Kind of Likes You picks up on your hesitancy, sees you staring at Hot Girl Without a Date, and that terrifying prom triangle is complete. Then you kick yourself. "Man... I should have just asked Hot Girl. At least if I got rejected, I could fall back on Friend Girl. It's mean, but it's efficient." That realization is something I like to call the "Prom Epiphany".

Sadly, not only have I (hopefully) brought back nauseating reminders of your adolescent awkwardness, I've also described the current state of affairs at quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

QB Can't Be One Week Affair
Bills coach Dick Jauron has left the door open for J.P. Losman to re-claim the starting role he lost to rookie Trent Edwards. Edwards, who is likely to miss this weekend's Bengals game with a sprained throwing wrist, took Losman's job earlier this season when Losman went down with a sprained knee in Week 3. Jauron's reasoning? He's taking it one week at a time.

"I think we answered that question last week, but if you're asking... we have no idea what's going to happen a week from now, or even tomorrow for that matter. How long is long term? That's what I'm saying. Trent... it's the same situation it was. It's not longer than one week because we don't know what's going to happen in a week's time. In our business we're focused on this game and this is the only game that makes any difference. And we don't know what's going to happen in this game."

For the record, that is a strong philosophy... when you're talking about any position but quarterback. If Ashton Youboty is struggling at corner, gets hurt, and Jabari Greer out-performs him by a large margin, obviously Greer keeps his starting spot. No one questions that move - it's a logical move to help the defense. That's not how it works with quarterbacks - if you have flip-flopping at the position, it's not a situation for the betterment of the team; it's indecision. It's a state of flux. And right now, Jauron is stuck trying to choose between two viable options - Friend Girl and Hot Girl. (Please, don't try to determine which QB is which Girl. It gets ugly, and it's moot.)

Losman (top), Edwards (BuffaloBills.com)

Luckily, our QBs Aren't Teenage Girls
News flash to Jauron: Losman and Edwards are aware you're trying to decide between them - even after you seemingly made a decision on the matter last week. They're aware, and they're not comfortable - but because they're not teenage girls, but professional athletes, they're both handling the situation well. But instead of focusing on opponents, they're focusing on focusing:

"With a lot going on and a lot of rumors and people saying things your mind wanders off the prize and the goal," said Losman. "You just have to constantly focus and realize that all of that stuff is going to take care of itself one way or the other. Personally I have something staring me in the face this game. Our team does too and what do I have to do to help our team win this game? That's the approach I have to take this week and I can't think about anything else because it is a distraction. Our teammates don't want it. The quarterbacks don't want it. We just want to play and focus on exactly what we want to do."

How long can Jauron wait before one of his choices bails, looking for a better position to be in? Sure, neither QB can physically leave the team; I'm talking mentally bail. Check out. It is far easier to understand phrases like "I'm the guy" or "I'm the backup" than "We'll see what happens next week". People like stability. Friend Girl wanted a date, but not at the expense of looking foolish as you stared at Hot Girl.

For the record, the good guy always, always picks Friend Girl. (Or at least I like to think he does.) Jauron is a good guy - and it's likely he prefers Edwards. But his philosophy of "One Week" is getting in the way of what's truly best for his team: stability, and preserving the sanity of his players (not to mention the team's fans).

Avoiding the Prom (and QB) Epiphany
Seriously - the Triangle of Terror can't continue to be three-sided for much longer. Too much is at stake - the futures of Buffalo's two quarterbacks, and equally as important, the future of a head coach who, despite his strong suits (intelligence, player's coach, preparedness), hasn't locked down a long-term position with the franchise. The sooner you make a decision, the sooner you avoid the awkward "If only I'd done this then" moment. Making a decision may also help you shed the reputation of waffling on quarterbacks in years past.

Prom-goers everywhere have experienced the Prom Epiphany. There's a good chance it left many of you dateless (I came close to such a travesty). Jauron needs to avoid a QB Epiphany. How do you do that? Simple: name your permanent starter. Heck, if Brian Billick can stand behind Steve McNair in Baltimore, Jauron ought to choose one young talent or the other, right?

Lessons learned: there is no "One Week" approach at QB. Triangles are awful shapes. Prom and QB Epiphanies are bad. Making decisions and sticking to your guns is admirable. So it's go time, Coach: you've made a decision for this week. Make next week's decision your final one.