Very much unlike last season, Buffalo's quarterback position appears to be the most settled situation on the team. Give credit where credit is due: J.P. Losman earned his keep, Steve Fairchild and Turk Schonert harnessed his potential and Lee Evans made Losman look good on more than one occasion. The situation is totally different from last season - we have a sure-fire starter, we have a talented rookie and we have a talented veteran backup that the coaching staff likes. What a difference a year makes.
Do you all remember John Stockton? The former Utah Jazz point guard is the NBA's all-time leader in assists, and he was made famous for constantly finding his teammates and putting them in position to make plays. A quarterback in Steve Fairchild's offensive system needs to be John Stockton - spreading the wealth, letting the playmakers make the plays and limiting mistakes.
Lee Evans will be the Karl Malone of this team, getting most of the looks from Losman. But the coaching staff has built a deep, deep pool of talent around Losman, and has given him an improved offensive line. Losman needs merely to hit his open receivers and let them make plays - he should not have to make many plays by himself.
7-J.P. Losman: His 2006 season was eons better than his first, and it has landed him the full-time starting gig. But there are a few hurdles Losman must clear to take the next step. Rather than forcing the issue, he needs to play more within himself - this will help reduce his turnovers (especially fumbles lost). He also needs to increase his accuracy on screen passes and underneath throws, where he consistently throws over his receiver's head. Finally, he must become more assertive in the huddle and on the sidelines - he's the leader of this entire football team now, and he needs to have the confidence to embrace that.
16-Craig Nall: According to a few reports, Nall has looked good thus far in off-season workouts. Nall is probably the least talented quarterback likely to make the roster, but that doesn't mean he lacks talent - he's got a very good arm, solid accuracy and a bit of moxie that showed through when he ran his mouth this off-season. There are, again, hurdles to overcome; his footwork is shoddy and he'll need to continue to work on it to further improve his accuracy. He must also swallow his pride a bit and admit that Losman is the starter for this team; once he does that, he'll become a far more effective backup. The coaching staff likes Nall and thinks he has the talent to play at this level, but unless Losman is injured, he won't have the opportunity to prove them right this season.
5-Trent Edwards: Take away Losman's incredible deep ball and add more overall accuracy and you get Trent Edwards. Fans cringed at a potential QB controversy when Edwards was brought in, but don't fret - Trent has a lot of work to do before he'll even sniff live action. The raw skills are there but need polish; perhaps most importantly, he needs to bury himself in the offensive system and learning to read defenses. Edwards played for an atrocious Stanford team, so he might as well be coming to Buffalo from Division I-AA. Given two full years to learn the ropes of the NFL, Edwards has the ability not just to start at this level, but to be a star. Unfortunately, he may not get that opportunity here.
Rounding it out: Kevin Eakin. Eakin, allocated to NFL Europe, has a huge uphill battle to make the roster. He won't finish that climb, but could be stashed on the practice squad.
Buffalo is set at quarterback. We've got a starter that national media is starting to believe in. Our coaches and teammates believe in our backup, and we've got a rookie with loads of potential who could probably hold his own if (God forbid) he's forced into action. This is Losman's team - he needs to spread the wealth, play within himself and the system and inspire confidence in his teammates. A large task to be sure, but he's up to the challenge.