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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
QB tenures in Buffalo have come in threes


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Trent Edwards is tiring of the questions.

He acknowledges the thrill of playing quarterback in the NFL is worth whatever hassles come with it, but the make-or-break theme that has enveloped him isn't enjoyable.

 
  Paul Jasienski/Getty Images
  Trent Edwards is 12-11 as Buffalo's starting quarterback.

Another question about pressure, a crossroads, put up or shut up ...

"You guys are kind of forcing me to try to think that way," Edwards said Tuesday afternoon after the Buffalo Bills' first minicamp practice. "I get that question a lot. I feel like every offseason I get that question. It's kind of a go-to question to ask a quarterback."

Edwards is entering his third season with Buffalo. That's seems to be about the amount of time a quarterback gets around these parts.

Doug Flutie was here for three years. Rob Johnson was here for four years, the starter of choice for two. Drew Bledsoe was here for three years. J.P. Losman spent three years as the starter before Buffalo gave the job to Edwards.

The town's patience -- and perhaps the owner's -- haven't lasted much beyond three years after Marv Levy and Jim Kelly ran the show.

Since Levy retired as head coach, his next three successors were given similar terms. Wade Phillips and Gregg Williams lasted three years apiece. Mike Mularkey was given a third year but resigned.

That cleared the way for Dick Jauron, who was given a fourth year much to the fan base's mortification.

So the trends certainly point to this being a make-or-break season on several counts.

Edwards is 12-11 as Buffalo's starter. He was embraced by a fan base that had become jaded about Losman, but now there's a more cautious sentiment about him.

Last week, he answered another question about pressure. He reasoned that he has dealt with it since he was a freshman in high school. But the pressure has mounted, little by little.

"I'm taking more reps here in practice," Edwards said Tuesday. "They're selling your jersey in the store. You're getting talked to every week, whereas my first year here nobody knew who I was. I was a third-stringer, getting two reps in practice, staying late and throwing to the seventh-round tight end. Now you're getting questions it seems every day."

Jauron notes that Edwards still is young and growing into the role as No. 1 quarterback. On paper, however, Edwards has the best collection of talent around him.

The Bills have reshuffled their offensive line -- none of the five projected starters played in his given position last year -- but Edwards has some intriguing help at the skill positions.

The Bills have one of the NFL's best receiver combos in Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. They have three capable backs in Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and Dominic Rhodes.

"I'm anxious to see where this thing goes," Edwards said. "I have all the confidence in the world in our coaching staff and our players that we have here.

"But it's still a matter of getting to training camp, going through double days and going through the preseason games and making sure everything's meshing right. I really feel like it's going to mesh properly, but you never know until you're actually in the situation."