AFC East: Brian Brohm

Is Buffalo or Miami a good place for Pryor?

June, 9, 2011
PM ET writer Adam Caplan broke down all the factors facing Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor's transition to the NFL.

Caplan quotes an unnamed scout who says of Pryor: "You need to get him with a team willing to be very patient. Heck, I'm not so sure he's even a quarterback at this point. He's far away from being able to handle what's going to come at him at our level. You don't really see him being asked to make a lot of tough throws. That won't be the case going forward."

With that in mind, Caplan gave five appropriate places for Pryor to play quarterback. Two of the locales are in the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills: "While journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played fairly well last season, he’s in the final year of his contract. It also remains to be seen if Levi Brown, whom the Bills selected in the seventh round of last year’s draft, has a future with the team. And keep in mind, head coach Chan Gailey likes to develop mobile quarterbacks. He did a nice job of developing former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart."

Miami Dolphins: "Starter Chad Henne is in the final year of his rookie deal, and Miami doesn’t have a true developmental quarterback on its roster. Tom Brandstater, who was signed as a free agent last season, was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft by the Denver Broncos."

I agree with Caplan about the Bills. They do have a void at backup quarterback and would like to develop one for the future. Brown doesn't seem to be that guy. He wasn't good enough to make the team out of training camp or even be signed to the practice squad. The Bills didn't bring back Brown until they waived Trent Edwards in-season. Last season's primary backup, the disappointing Brian Brohm, is a free agent.

As for the Dolphins, it's hard to imagine them grabbing a player like Pryor after their experience with Pat White. The Dolphins didn't have the patience to wait around for him to develop NFL passing skills. Also consider that on the Dolphins' depth chart are Chad Pennington and Tyler Thigpen. Both are free agents, and while Pennington is recovering from knee surgery, either could be back.

Does Terrelle Pryor make AFC East sense?

May, 31, 2011
Aftershocks from Jim Tressel's resignation at Ohio State could cause star quarterback Terrelle Pryor to petition for the NFL's supplemental draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter, citing an unnamed NFL source, reported Tuesday that the league plans to hold a July supplemental draft if they have applicants.

Pryor is the subject of his own investigation for improper benefits and probably doesn't have anything to gain hanging around Columbus another autumn.

The supplemental draft is set up for prospects with circumstances that've changed since the filing deadline for the regular draft. Teams bid a round they'd be willing to draft a prospect. If they have the best bid, then they get the player and lose the corresponding pick in next year's draft.

Would an AFC East club be interested in taking a shot at Pryor?

Pryor is a tremendous athlete, but not a polished passer. He would be an NFL project. In March, Mel Kiper rated Pryor the fifth-best quarterback in next year's draft, but dropped him out of his top five in subsequent lists. And that factored in another year of college seasoning for Pryor.

Maybe Pryor would be worth a fourth- or fifth-round pick for a team willing to gamble. Or he could be had for a sixth- or seventh-round pick.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills have room for a developmental quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the incumbent starter. Last year's second-stringer, Brian Brohm, is a free agent. Third-string quarterback Levi Brown was a seventh-round pick who couldn't make the roster out of training camp. General manager Buddy Nix has stated the Bills will sign a free-agent quarterback, too.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins also have spot on their depth chart -- for now. But would they have the patience? The Dolphins didn't want to invest any longer than one season in Pat White, and they used a second-round pick on him. Chad Henne is the only known quantity. The Dolphins didn't draft a quarterback, and last year's backups, Chad Pennington and Tyler Thigpen, are free agents. Pennington also is recovering from a knee injury.

New England Patriots: There appears to be no room at the inn. Tom Brady was the MVP last season. Top backup Brian Hoyer is back. They also drafted Arkansas passer Ryan Mallett. Pryor would waste a roster spot unless the Patriots wanted to convert him to receiver or tight end.

New York Jets: The Jets still list six quarterbacks on their roster and a seventh on their inactive list. Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell, Erik Ainge, Drew Willy and rookie Greg McElroy. No need to go fishing with Pryor.

2012 Big Board? That's Kiper being Kiper

May, 19, 2011
In Mel Kiper's world there are only two seasons: draft season and getting ready for draft season.

ESPN's draft master already has compiled his first Big Board for the 2012 draft.

Based on Kiper's early assessment, teams still in need of a quarterback -- and there should be plenty --will have a chance to land a good one. Three of his top 10 prospects are underclassman quarterbacks.

No surprise that Stanford's Andrew Luck tops the list. USC's Matt Barkley is fifth and Oklahoma's Landry Jones is 10th.

Keep in mind that Kiper's first Big Board for the 2008 draft considered Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm the best player.

In another ESPN Insider piece, Kiper produced a top-five list for every position in next year's draft.

The guy's a nut.

Don't go changing: Bills show faith in O

May, 18, 2011
At some point, the unlikely collection of NFL teammates struck somebody as unusual, and they began to sort out who the highest draft pick was.

Together last month for a mini passing camp near quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's home in Arizona, eight Buffalo Bills players laughed about their long-shot backgrounds.

Sophomore receiver Marcus Easley was the closest thing to a bonus baby, and he was a fourth-round draft choice with zero NFL games. So who was next in line? Backup quarterback Levi Brown was the answer, a seventh-round pick last year, 209th overall, and unable to make the roster out of training camp.

Bills practice
Courtesy of David NelsonBills players (L to R) Naaman Roosevelt, Levi Brown, Steve Johnson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, David Nelson, Donald Jones and Marcus Easley pose for a picture following a workout last month.
Wide receiver Steve Johnson went 224th, Fitzpatrick 250th. Running back Fred Jackson and receivers David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt weren't drafted at all.

"This is testament of who we are as a group," Nelson said Tuesday night from his home in Dallas. "We all believe in each other. We all push each other. We all compete with each other. We know we're against the odds. We're a bunch of guys nobody gave a chance to."

The Bills have a couple of first-rounders in their offense who didn't attend the workouts. Running back C.J. Spiller and receiver Lee Evans are important components, but it's impressive to consider such a big contingent of overlooked players making up a team's offensive core.

Nelson and the rest of that gang can speak with a little more conviction about their futures in Buffalo now. When they gathered for some casual workouts, there was plenty of doubt about the direction of the offense.

The draft hadn't taken place yet, and the Bills owned the third and 34th selections. There was considerable talk about a quarterback being a serious option. If Auburn star Cam Newton still were on the board, could the Bills pass him up? Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert might have been a possibility, and it was anybody's guess who would still be on the board in the second round.

"I'm sure Fitz was bracing for something," Jackson said Tuesday of the pre-draft mood. "Everybody had to be."

One thing was for sure among the Bills' players: They were rooting for the front office to stand pat at quarterback.

"We've been talking about it as a receiver group for a while," Nelson said. "We were hoping that they would stay away from quarterbacks in the draft because we have all the confidence in the world in Fitz and what he can do. We like the direction we're headed in with him."

The Bills gave their offensive players a major vote of confidence last month. Of their nine draft choices, only two play offense. They drafted Clemson tackle Chris Hairston in the fourth round and North Carolina running back Johnny White in the fifth round.

The Bills will acquire more offensive players whenever free agency dawns. General manager Buddy Nix has said they will sign another quarterback, but the club sent a strong message about Fitzpatrick's standing when they didn't draft one.

"They showed they have a lot of faith in Fitz," Jackson said. "Me and my teammates all have a lot of faith in him, too. We're excited about that. I'm looking forward to working with him and trying to build on what we did last year and making that playoff push."

Fitzpatrick and Jackson will enter the 2011 season with substantially more juice than they had last summer. Both of them were considered backups.

"You have to say that it had some kind of affect on us," Jackson said. "We weren't on the same page when we got in the lineup, but that's part of the game, and we have to adjust.

"It does hurt to not get the reps, but as long as you mentally prepare like you are the No. 1 guy, you can hit the ground running. Hopefully, now we can get those reps and go into this season as the No. 1 guys and put this team on our shoulders and make some plays."

[+] EnlargeRyan Fitzpatrick
Nick Laham/Getty ImagesThe Bills are confident in Ryan Fitzpatrick's ability to lead the team.
Fitzpatrick won over the Bills' locker room and much of their fan base last year. Trent Edwards' presence had worn thin everywhere. The man known as "Captain Checkdown" was uninspiring at best. He was frequently injured and rarely showed a hint of nerve.

New coach Chan Gailey backed him in the beginning. Edwards took most of the offseason reps and was named the No. 1 quarterback when training camp opened. Edwards started all four preseason games.

Fitzpatrick, Brown and Brian Brohm fought over the scraps. Fitzpatrick attempted 23 passes before the season.

Asked at the NFL scouting combine in February whether he regretted those decisions, Gailey replied, "Shoot, yeah. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have done that."

At 0-2, the Bills made an abrupt change. They waived Edwards.

Fitzpatrick was a jolt to the huddle, to the Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd, to the community. He grew a bird's-nest beard and called himself the "Amish Rifle." He wore his wedding ring during games. He actually threw the ball downfield.

He made the games entertaining again, even the defeats. Fans forgave him for occasional reckless interceptions.

Jackson was in a similar situation despite rushing for more than 1,000 yards the previous season.

He was in a crowded backfield with Marshawn Lynch and hotshot rookie Spiller and didn't start the first four games, carrying the ball 20 times for 87 yards through the first quarter of the season.

When the Bills traded Lynch for a 2011 fourth-round draft choice and a conditional 2012 sixth-round pick, the door opened for Jackson again.

"Right now, I feel like I'm the No. 1 guy and C.J. will come in and get a lot of plays," Jackson said. "I feel like I'm going to be the guy that's carrying the load and has got to make that running game go.

"I'm sure C.J.'s working hard and will [have] the opportunities as well, but I just got to shoulder the load and take the pressure off Fitz and make us a balanced offense. I want to be that guy."

Spiller generated preseason buzz for rookie of the year honors, but he had a disappointing campaign (283 rushing yards and no touchdowns, 157 receiving yards and one touchdown) and still has much to prove.

Jackson rushed for 614 yards in the second half of the season, tying with Ray Rice for sixth in the NFL in that span. The running backs ahead of them were Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Nice company.

The Bills ranked 25th in total offense, 18th in run offense and 24th in pass offense. Not too swift compared to the rest of the NFL.

But all of their best offensive superlatives in 15 categories (points, first downs, yards, etc.) happened Oct. 24 or later. The same can be said about individual player superlatives, aside from Fitzpatrick's 71.4 completion percentage in Week 3 against the New England Patriots.

The Bills obviously found enough there to make a commitment, and the players aren't crying for help. They're thrilled the group will stay together.

"We did some good things on offense last year," Jackson said. "We feel like if we could get back on the field healthy and get another crack at this thing, we'll continue to have some success."

Fitzpatrick fine, but Bills still watching QBs

January, 26, 2011
Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey has been vocal in his support of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The career backup stepped forth and produced a career year in 2010, giving Bills fans reason to think about other positions when the Bills draft third overall in three months.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix, however, won't rule out a quarterback. The obvious candidates would be Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

"We certainly like Fitz," Nix told Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan during preparations for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Bills are coaching the South squad.

Fitzpatrick's performance "wasn't more than we expected because I knew Chan would get him to play better," Nix said. "We counted on that and he did. I really like him. I think he's got a lot of qualities you need. We just need to keep putting good players out there."

No matter how much Nix or Gailey love Fitzpatrick as their offensive leader, Bills owner Ralph Wilson will make the final call. Wilson told Associated Press reporter John Wawrow in October that drafting a quarterback was the club's top priority.

Fitzpatrick might have won Wilson over as the season wore on, but the Hall of Fame owner has a reputation for pursuing his desires with conviction once his mind is made up.

Nix said the Bills need to come out of the draft with a quarterback. Their backups are the underwhelming Brian Brohm and second-year pro Levi Brown, a seventh-round pick last year who wasn't good enough for a practice squad spot out of training camp. The Bills brought back Brown after the Bills waived Trent Edwards.

"To answer the question of third pick, whoever is there that we think is going to be a franchise impact player for us is the guy we'll draft," Nix said. "Where anybody thinks it makes sense [in terms of position], it doesn't matter to me. If it's a guy that we think long-term's an impact guy, no matter what the position, we'll take him."

Week 17 marquee: Brohm versus Jets JVs

January, 2, 2011
The NFL frontloaded and backloaded the schedule for divisional games this year to add significance to potentially irrelevant games in Weeks 16 and 17.

The New York Jets sneaked into the playoffs last year because the Indianapolis Colts pulled their starters at halftime in Week 16 and the Cincinnati Bengals did the same in Week 17. The Jets won both games and received a wild-card entry after head coach Rex Ryan declared his team mathematically eliminated.

But the NFL's new approach didn't mean diddly squat for the AFC East.

At the Meadowlands on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and Jets will play a junior varsity game.

Bills backup quarterback Brian Brohm, once considered by Mel Kiper to be the No. 1 draft prospect of 2008, will start. The Bills have scratched quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick because of a knee injury, giving Brohm the chance to throw his first NFL touchdown, something he hasn't been able to do in 11 preseason games.

Brohm will be throwing into a Jets secondary and the NFL-worst Bills run defense will be trying to stop a lineup that might remind us of the 1987 season.

The Jets have deactivated cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, safeties Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo, running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene and right tackle Damien Woody.

Notable scratches for the New England Patriots include receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch, tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Mike Wright and outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.

How much can Trent Edwards hurt Bills?

October, 6, 2010
The Buffalo Bills are wary of the information quarterback Trent Edwards has divulged to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"They'll ask," Bills coach Chan Gailey said, "and he'll tell."

Edwards has Gailey's playbook committed to memory after six months of skull sessions, practices, four preseason exhibitions and two regular-season games as Buffalo's starter.

The Bills waived Edwards last week. The Jaguars claimed him, and he's coming back to Ralph Wilson Stadium to play his old team Sunday.

Edwards won't start for Jacksonville. The job belongs to David Garrard, but the Jaguars thought enough of Edwards to cut their other quarterback, Todd Bouman, this week. Edwards is the only backup.

"We'll have to change some signals and some thought processes," Gailey said, "We'll have to adjust some things. That's all a part of it when a guy from one team goes to another team. That's what happens."

When NFL schedules were finalized, Week 5 was viewed as one of Buffalo's more winnable games. But Jacksonville is 2-2 and coming off a rousing final-second victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

It won't help the Bills' cause that Edwards has inside information on them.

The intel Edwards can share isn't trifling. Edwards can recognize formations and audible calls. He has been privy to strategy talk on how the Bills want to attack in certain situations. He can tell Jacksonville defensive coaches where the Bills are weakest in pass protection.

"He'll have viable information to give them," Bills receiver Lee Evans said. "That's just how it is sometimes. It happens across the board."

As an example, Evans mentioned Bills backup quarterback Brian Brohm's familiarity with the Green Bay Packers as being beneficial to the Bills in Week 2. The difference, however, is that Brohm hadn't been with the Packers since last November, when he was on the practice squad.

Gailey named Edwards his starting quarterback, and as recently as last week Edwards had access to practically every diagram of offensive game strategy the Bills had drawn up since Gailey arrived. He poured over game film.

"He can have an impact," Bills running back Fred Jackson said of Edwards. "We do have some different things there. So hopefully we can kind of counteract that. He was in the system. He knows what's going on, but at the same time they still have to stop it."

Edwards from starter to gone in a week

September, 27, 2010
Eight days ago, Trent Edwards was good enough to be the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback.

Twenty-four hours ago, he was good enough to be their No. 2 quarterback.

Now he's unemployed.

A week after they demoted Edwards and gave the job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills released Edwards, the player his teammates voted a captain and the quarterback head coach Chan Gailey deemed his best after six months of evaluation that included scores of practices, countless meetings and four preseason games.

Along the way, Gailey deprived his remaining quarterback of precious reps.

Unless there's something sinister going on with Edwards behind the scenes, this makes absolutely no sense and comes off as a bush-league maneuver.

I get that Bills fans have tired of Edwards and most probably are applauding the transaction.

But the decision reflects poorly on the organization. Again, unless there's more to the story, it looks like either general manager Buddy Nix and Gailey -- the men dispirited Bills fans are desperate to believe in -- thoroughly bungled the most important position on the field, or impetuous owner Ralph Wilson ordered them to dump an experienced NFL quarterback.

All of it is illogical on so many levels.

There has been no news of an arrest, so we can strike that outlandish possibility. Edwards said all the right things last Wednesday when reporters asked him about the switch. Edwards didn't badmouth the team. He handled the move with class.

Look around the league and you'll find players being kept around despite dreadful behavior. Braylon Edwards, Albert Haynesworth, Phillip Merling. Trent Edwards wasn't going to be a distraction.

Had there been any problems with Edwards, the Bills wouldn't have deactivated third-string quarterback Brian Brohm for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Had the Bills needed a reliever for Fitzpatrick, Edwards would have taken the field.

Now he's not good enough to be on the roster?

At best, this was a cost-cutting move. Edwards hit an escalator in his contract that would have paid him a base salary of $1.65 million. That's not obscene for a backup quarterback. Fitzpatrick's base salary this year is about $2.36 million.

What a waste of time.

Through three games, how do QBs rank?

September, 27, 2010
After three weeks, how much do you love your quarterback?

SportsNation has put together one of those snazzy rankers for your click-and-drag pleasure.

There are 35 quarterbacks to sort through, meaning there are a few backups.

I'm going to get kooky and list the top AFC East quarterbacks whether they're on the SportsNation ballot or not:

1. Tom Brady

2. Mark Sanchez

3. Chad Henne

4. Chad Pennington

5. Ryan Fitzpatrick

6. Tyler Thigpen

7. Mark Brunell

8. Kellen Clemens

9. Brian Brohm

10. Brian Hoyer

Bills at Patriots inactives

September, 26, 2010
Here are the inactives for Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium:

Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots

Bills bench Edwards, promote Fitzpatrick

September, 20, 2010
Chan Gailey had seven months to judge who the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback should be.

He staged what he described as an open competition into the preseason schedule, but it really wasn't an open competition. After rotating reps among his three quarterbacks, he saw enough out of Trent Edwards to give him the first-team snaps from the start of training camp.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm and draft pick Levi Brown fought over the scraps. Edwards played every preseason game. The others did not.

Now, two games into the regular season, Gailey has admitted an error in judgment.

After an 0-2 start, Gailey has benched Edwards and elevated Fitzpatrick to the starter's role.

Bills interim coach Perry Fewell did the same thing last year.

"We're going to make a change at quarterback," Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski quoted Gailey as saying Monday afternoon. "He's going to take the reins, and see where that takes us. We're looking for a spark. We're looking for something that gives us a new look, a new thought process. … We're looking for the right combination. We haven't found that yet."

The mistake to start Edwards was compounded by Gailey's decision to give him all of the quality reps. Fitzpatrick played in only two preseason games. He worked mostly with backup players in relief of Edwards.

Fitzpatrick will get to start against an agitated New England Patriots squad in Gillette Stadium.

Wrap-up: Packers 34, Bills 7

September, 19, 2010
What it means: Unlike last week, the Bills committed themselves to the run but still had another awful day offensively. Cue the shouts for Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Brohm.

Big revelation: New head coach Chan Gailey, regardless of his reputation, can't figure out how to get the Bills' offense moving. He hasn't been able to coax plays out of quarterback Trent Edwards (62 net yards passing, two interceptions), get high-paid receiver Lee Evans into the game (zero catches) or generate production from prized running back C.J. Spiller (see below).

Trending: Spiller was a non-factor again. In his NFL debut he had 11 offensive touches for 14 yards. Against the Packers, he had didn't have any carries until the final, meaningless minutes. He finished with one carry for 3 yards and four receptions for 23 yards.

Tomorrow's talker: Were the Bills leaning on Marshawn Lynch because they're about to move him? He had almost twice as many attempts as Fred Jackson. The Bills denied persistent rumors they're on the verge of dealing him, maybe even to the Packers in light of Ryan Grant's season-ending ankle injury. Grant's replacement, Brandon Jackson, had 11 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Heroes: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 19 of 29 for 255 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Bills' respected pass defense. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews had three sacks, four tackles for losses and five quarterback hits.

Goat: Edwards was 11 for 18 for 102 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. He couldn't complete a pass to Evans the whole game?

What's next: The Bills' schedule doesn't let up. They'll play the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium next Sunday.

Bills at Packers inactives

September, 19, 2010
Here are the inactive lists for Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field:

Buffalo Bills
Green Bay Packers

Dolphins at Bills inactives

September, 12, 2010
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here are the inactives for Sunday's game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Most notable is Chad Pennington officially assuming the No. 2 role ahead of Tyler Thigpen and the stand-down order to outside linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis, who might have started but woke up sick in the morning.

Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills

A look at first Bills, Dolphins depth charts

September, 6, 2010
Some depth charts aren't worth the paper they're printed on. As a season unfolds, injuries and position battles seldom are reflected accurately.

But I do think there is value to looking at the first roster breakdown of the preseason and the regular season.

With that in mind, I wanted to share the depth charts the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins distributed to the media Monday. They open the season against each other Sunday in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Most notable for Miami is that Jason Allen, generally viewed as a draft bust because he was selected 16th overall in 2006, has supplanted Sean Smith, last year's starter at right cornerback as a rookie.

Three rookies are in Miami's tentative 2010 opening-day lineup: right guard John Jerry, defensive end Jared Odrick and outside linebacker Koa Misi.

Newly acquired inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter is listed third behind Karlos Dansby and rookie Micah Johnson.

For the Bills, rookie C.J. Spiller is the first running back. Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch share the second slot with a slash between them and nobody listed third.

Bills coach Chan Gailey officially named Ryan Fitzpatrick the second-string quarterback and Brian Brohm third.

No other surprises on Buffalo's offense. Newly acquired tight end David Martin is second to Jonathan Stupar. Wide receiver Steve Johnson kept his status as the starter opposite Lee Evans. Roscoe Parrish and David Nelson are next in line.

Defensive end John McCargo, the 26th overall draft choice in 2006, is third on the left side behind Marcus Stroud and rookie Alex Carrington, a third-round pick.

Drayton Florence is ahead of Leodis McKelvin at right cornerback.