This is a continuation of Buffalo Rumblings' training camp battles series. Previous installments: RCB.
What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Bills were headed into training camp with a three-way quarterback competition the headlining battle. J.P. Losman eventually beat out Kelly Holcomb and Craig Nall, obviously; one positive of this battle was that the team had very solid depth behind Losman should he falter. But now Holcomb, at the very least a heady veteran, is gone. The team still has Nall, who by many accounts could have won the starting job last season had he not been injured during camp, and rookie Trent Edwards was added in April as well. Which begs the question - who will back up Losman this season?
The Favorite: Craig Nall (16)
Despite 2007 being his sixth season in the NFL, Nall remains an enigma. He showed enough potential and poise in very brief appearances as Brett Favre's backup in Green Bay to warrant a free agent contract from the Bills last off-season. Make no mistake - the Bills signed him as a potential starting quarterback. With Losman entrenched as the starter and Holcomb out of the way, it seems logical that Nall - who seems like a solid fit in Steve Fairchild's offense - would assume the primary backup job. Unless he can't hold off his competition, of course.
The Upstart: Trent Edwards (5)
What was arguably the Bills' most illogical pick in April could wind up being a big-time value to the team sooner rather than later. Edwards, who mired in mediocrity for a terrible Stanford program, has a world of potential with more talent around him. But is he ready to assume a backup responsibility as a rookie? Edwards does have the arm strength, athleticism and moxie to succeed - but does he have the brains to pick up an entire offense quickly enough to supplant Nall? If he can answer that question with a resounding "yes" in the pre-season, then there is a good chance the team could play Edwards in front of Nall in specific circumstances.
Predicting the Winner
When it comes right down to it, there isn't much predicting to be done here. Unless Edwards sets the world on fire in camp and during the pre-season (and we're talking monster, multi-TD performances every game), there's no chance that the team will entrust a rookie with the primary backup role right away. Edwards, if he is to be as successful as possible in this league, needs to be holding a clipboard for at least two seasons. While he has very little NFL game experience, Nall has been around the block, has a year of Fairchild's scheme under his belt and seems the easy choice to be JP's backup. Just don't count out Edwards yet...
Poll Results: Nall's the Guy
The poll conducted over the last 24 hours backs up the Nall theory: 68% of Bills fans who voted feel that it's Nall's job to lose.
Who wins the backup QB job?
Craig Nall - 24 votes (68%)
Trent Edwards - 11 votes (31%)
Coming Tomorrow: the Middle Linebacker battle. Make sure to vote in the new poll to the right and let us know who you think will be the opening-day starter on the inside!