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Wednesday News and Notes

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Gardner giving Shaun Alexander a pat on the arm during his good run.

First of all, for those who are unaware - "CB" is an acronym that I will be using often around here, so it's probably wise to get used to it. It stands for Chris Brown, the lead journalist of the Buffalo Bills - you know, the guy with the pink shirt who writes on the Bills' website all the time. He's a smart guy, hence the reason that I will be quoting him here a lot. CB is the man.

A few days ago, CB wrote an article comparing Bills rookie QB Trent Edwards to Frank Reich, the hero of yesteryear who was Jim Kelly's backup for many seasons. (Note: if you're looking for a little fun, drop a line about the Comeback game at Music City Miracles. They deserve it after naming their blog after the most exhilirating non-legal play in the history of sports. Just don't spam Jimmy - he's a good guy.)

As far as the article goes - I find the Edwards/Reich comparisons a little unfair, at least for now. CB cites character traits such as intelligence, poise and work ethic as comparisons between the two quarterbacks. These are probably not off-base; Edwards does seem to have a bright future. Comparing him to Reich already puts a bit of pressure on Edwards to supplant Craig Nall as the backup to J.P. Losman as soon as possible. Personally, I feel it will be at least two years until Edwards is ready to assume a backup role - he played in a terrible system at Stanford, is very green and he needs a lot of tutelage before he should see the field. That much seems obvious. If he does turn into a Frank Reich, count me amongst those who will be thrilled - provided J.P. turns into a Jim Kelly, of course.

This is a PR piece. Not a "hype Trent Edwards" PR piece, although it accomplishes that hype; it falls more along the lines of a "make sure Bills fans realize that Edwards isn't going to start" PR piece. Comparing Edwards to Reich specifically indicates that he will be a backup, and only a backup. No pushing Losman for the starting role. It's actually a brilliant strategy - too often in the days after the draft, we saw theories of Edwards supplanting J.P. Losman down the line. That is absolutely not the plan, and this piece proves it, at least in my mind.

I like Trent Edwards. I like J.P. Losman way more. There are a few of you who may disagree, so let me know by answering the poll at the top right of this page.

CB Likes Gilbert Gardner?
CB's Edwards/Reich piece was great. Brilliant strategical story to get fans to back off J.P.'s case. This little blurb from CB's blog? Not quite so brilliant...

LB GARDNER RELEASED: The Colts released linebacker Gilbert Gardner, a former starter, today despite tendering him a qualifying offer earlier this offseason. I'd definitely take a look at this guy. He's young (25), he's familiar with Buffalo's system and he has had some production, although the ESPN.com writeup on Gardner's history was pretty critical. Still even as a depth player he'd be a good addition in my opinion. I thought the Bills would have drafted two linebackers in the draft. They only got one. If they bring this guy in and sign him, I think it would be a pretty good answer to addressing that position further. ---

CB does this often - he seems to constantly scour the waiver wire, and points out a lot of prospects that would be solid signings that fit Buffalo's systems and ideals. This is the first time ever that I have 100% vehemently disagreed with CB on any such matter.

Gilbert Gardner? Seriously? The guy who was a starter on a historically bad run defense? The guy who watched that defense turn it around at the end of the season and in the playoffs? The guy that watched the Colts' playoff run to a Super Bowl championship from the inactive list?

The idea is good in a basic sense - Gardner has spent his entire NFL career in a Tampa-2 scheme, so his experience in a similar system would make him a good depth signing in Buffalo. Perhaps he'd even be a good special teams player. He's got some tools to work with, such as solid speed. He is also very young, as CB pointed out.

I just don't think Gardner is cut out for this scheme. His aggressiveness, size and style of play do not come close to what teams need from a Cover-2 linebacker. Gardner, to me, is a much better fit in a defense with massive defensive tackles that clog up blockers and allow Gardner to penetrate without having to shed blocks. He could be very effective as a starter in a system such as Minnesota's or Jacksonville's. Needless to say, the Bills do not have big DT's, and neither did Indianapolis. He would struggle here as badly as he struggled with the Colts. Why waste our time on a linebacker with a proven track record of playing horribly in our scheme?

Still have to give my respect to CB. Keep rockin' that pink shirt, buddy.