QB competition likely for Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Don't expect Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey to choose a starting quarterback anytime soon.

Having evaluated the three quarterbacks on his roster, Gailey said Tuesday he anticipates holding an open competition to determine who will win the job. And Gailey didn't rule out the team selecting a quarterback in the draft next month, or the possibility of acquiring an established starter in a trade or in free agency.

"We're trying to leave no stone unturned," Gailey said during a brief availability with the media at the team's headquarters. "Unless something different happens between now and post-draft, to me it's an open competition for the job and we'll see what happens. ... We've got to see who can rise to the top."

Identifying a starter has been Gailey's top priority since being hired as the Bills coach in January. He takes over a team that's coming off a 6-10 finish and missed the playoffs for a 10th straight year.

Buffalo particularly remains unsettled at the position after Trent Edwards lost his starting job to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. The competition at this point will be between Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm, an untested third-stringer who struggled in making his NFL debut in a 31-3 loss at Atlanta in Week 16.

Gailey was hired in part because of his offensive background and reputation for grooming quarterbacks during his 15-year NFL career.

Touching on several other topics, Gailey dismissed speculation that safety Donte Whitner is on the trading block after the fourth-year player responded to questions about his status on his Twitter account earlier this month.

"Where this came from I don't know, to be honest with you," said Gailey, who was made aware of the trade speculation by members of the Bills media relations staff. "We feel like we've got a strong secondary. Donte's a big part of that, and is going to be a big part of that. To me, you would not weaken one of your strengths."

Regarding the status of Aaron Schobel, Gailey said no timetable has been issued for the veteran defensive end to determine his future. Schobel, whose 78 sacks rank second on the Bills' career list, is still under contract but contemplating whether to retire after nine NFL seasons.

"Obviously, we would like to have Aaron back, and we hope that works out," Gailey said. "But we understand his dilemma as well."

Gailey expressed concern about the lack of depth at receiver after the team allowed Terrell Owens and Josh Reed to become free agents. Their departures leave Buffalo with Roscoe Parrish as the only proven player behind starter Lee Evans.

James Hardy missed most of his second NFL season last year recovering from a knee injury, while Steve Johnson has one start in 16 games over the past two seasons.

"It's not a lack of quality, I don't think. I think it's unproven at this point," said Gailey, who added the team will consider drafting a receiver.

Gailey defended the Bills cautious approach to free agency, during which the team has signed one player -- offensive tackle Cornell Green.

"Because you're not making splashes doesn't mean we're not taking every person that's out there seriously and checking them out and finding if they fit our football team," he said. "We're trying to be very smart and make good decisions about the type of people we bring in."