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Bills Desperately Need Quarterback to Compete

By Tony Farina

With only Travaris Jackson, the Bills might have to think a little outside the box in selecting a quarterback.

Without getting into the details of the off-season moves by the Buffalo Bills, and that includes the complaints by some lawmakers in Albany about the size of the taxpayer commitment in the newly crafted lease deal, the big news for fans—or lack thereof—is who will be pulling the trigger on the offense now that Fitzpatrick is gone.

Yes, Buffalo's new brain trust cut QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, the same so-so Harvard signal caller who the Bills gave a seven-year, $62.195 million contract ($24 million guaranteed) in October of 2011, including a $10 million signing bonus.

Looking at those numbers, you would have thought the Bills were signing a reincarnation of Joe Montana instead of a quarterback who went 23-41-1 over his career with a completion percentage of 59.5 percent.

To be fair to a tough competitor, not all of Fitzpatrick's problems were his alone. The team, especially the offensive line, hasn't been any good for at least a dozen years or more. But Fitzpatrick, who had some decent games here and there, is not the kind of quarterback who will take you to the playoffs and beyond in the NFL. Unfortunately, right now there's nobody in the wings who looks like he can do the job, especially for this team.

So where does that leave the Bills? Well, they have a nice new lease deal, mostly at taxpayer expense, and still get to play a "home" game in Toronto to the delight of no one except the Bills' front office which makes a few extra bucks playing up north before a half-empty house.

As of this writing, I think the only quarterback on the team is Tarvaris Jackson (who?), an undistinguished, seven-year NFL vet who didn't play a down last year. Maybe the new Bills front office and coaching staff will find a sleeper in the draft, but that would be a shock for a team that has been missing sleepers for years (see Russell Wilson, Seattle's super pick). They miss sleepers almost as often as the team's quarterbacks miss receivers in key situations that could win a game once in a while.

Lightning will have to strike One Bills Drive for this team to come up with a real NFL quarterback—or at least a promising young gun---in time for the 2013 season.

But alas, not to worry, somebody will be out there in a Bills uniform calling signals before the cheering hometown fans. We can only hope that it's not another in the long line of quarterbacks in the mold of Fitzpatrick, Rob Johnson, or the like who have rolled into town, packed away big bucks, and rode out with the team none the better for their play in the key won-lost department.

All the team's efforts should be devoted to finding a quarterback hope for the future because without a first rate QB, the playoffs will remain out of reach and the long-suffering fans will continue to suffer and pay big dollars to see a team that can't make the playoffs.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar19 , 2013