It's been a good week for Buffalo Bills quarterback Brian Brohm.
Entering his third NFL season out of Louisville, Brohm was the headliner throughout the Bills' three-day mandatory mini-camp, their last team activities prior to training camp. Stuck in what appears to be a three-way race for the team's starting quarterback job, that string of headlines has created a palpable buzz around the team's biggest QB unknown.
On Wednesday, WGR 550 reporter Joe Buscaglia supplied us with the following headline: "Brohm Shines, Edwards Struggles." Brohm didn't get as many reps as either Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick that day, but reportedly out-played both.
On Thursday, Brohm took reps with the first-team offense in the morning session, per The Buffalo News. Not exactly a big deal, as it wasn't the first time he'd done that, but it was reported with a certain amount of fervor in several places.
Brohm's stock got its biggest lift on Friday, however, when, at the close of mini-camp, head coach Chan Gailey went out of his way to note Brohm's progress over the last two weeks (via Nick Mendola):
"He's made a jump in my opinion in the last two weeks. I thought he practiced well. We'll have to see how he progresses once we get pads on and all that. But I thought he made a good jump."
Gailey also admitted on Friday that he has a pecking order for training camp in mind, but that the competition is still wide open, calling the race "close." All three quarterbacks got an equal amount of reps - regardless of which unit they were working with - during spring OTAs, so this pecking order is expected to create the first separation in the competition.
For much of the off-season, Brohm was considered a longshot to emerge as the Bills' starting quarterback. Aside from rookie Levi Brown, Brohm was the least experienced quarterback on the roster - both in duration in the league, as well as duration with the Bills - and still hadn't proven himself capable of learning an NFL playbook. He'd been a disappointment in Green Bay, and in one live appearance with the Bills, he struggled mightily in a 31-3 loss to Atlanta.
As such, expectations need to be kept to a dull roar. Buffalo hasn't practiced in pads yet, and as Gailey stated above, how these players perform in pads will carry the most weight in deciding who gets the starter's nod. But keeping the idea that we're talking about summer workouts, in shorts, learning fundamentals and basic offensive terminology in mind, the fact that Brohm has earned praise so early in the process is significant.
By and large, Edwards is still expected to get the first-team reps when training camp opens on July 29. But the race is still open, and if there was a gap between Brohm and any quarterbacks Gailey might have thought were more realistic Week 1 starting options, that gap appears to have diminished. For one week of summer workouts, things went just about as well as they possibly could for Brohm, and he should now be considered (possibly at maximum) a more legitimate starting option than he was at the start of the month.