Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey is remaining true to the plan of giving his quarterbacks equal repetitions in offseason workouts.
Trent Edwards, on the outs with most Bills fans, might have gotten the most symbolic reps when he led the starters at the first organized team activity May 25.
I recently spoke with ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer and got his thoughts on the Bills' quarterback situation. Dilfer, who played the position for 14 years and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, identified a clear favorite for the job.
"I'm on an island," Dilfer said. "I'm a Trent Edwards believer."
Edwards has been frustrating throughout his three seasons with Buffalo. The third-round pick out of Stanford arrived with a Bill Walsh testimonial and has done little to back it up.
Scouts Inc. analyst Jeremy Green wrote a column on Buffalo's quarterback quandary for the AFC East blog last week. Green listed a bunch of Edwards' flaws, including an inability to get the ball downfield, problems with the speed of the game, holding onto the ball too long and poor decisions.
Edwards often is injured and became known as Captain Checkdown because of his affinity for dumping off to running backs and tight ends rather than test defenses deep.
"I understand the Captain Checkdown label," Dilfer said. "I understand how that bothers some people, and I don't think Trent would argue in the sense he grew up and was taught and trained in a West Coast model, which is 'completion first.' You're always thinking 'completion,' and in the NFL that completion many times is in the form of a checkdown."
From Dilfer's vantage point, Edwards' development has been limited by the surrounding cast. Edwards has had four coordinators. Gailey is the first offensive-minded head coach Edwards has played for in Buffalo.
"I think Trent was victimized by a lack of support and talent that was overestimated," Dilfer said. "The offensive line was pathetic. The offensive system was as poorly coached as any system in the NFL.
"He's the exact opposite of what Mark Sanchez has had in terms of a structure in place. It's dysfunctional [in Buffalo]. The expectations were way higher than they should be, and because of that you're in a lose-lose situation as a quarterback."
Dilfer is optimistic Gailey can groom Edwards to be more effective and agreed Clemson running back C.J. Spiller will be an attractive option for a quarterback known for checkdowns. But the offensive line remains a grave concern.
"Trent Edwards is a talented guy," Dilfer said. "He's had bad luck with injuries. He can make many of the throws it takes in the National Football League. He's just one of those quarterbacks that needs a certain structure around him.
"Chan will start that, but they're still a long ways away from putting him in a completely functional situation. He needs to be protected this year. He can play well, but the best to expect is good, not great because of the supporting cast with limited talent."