Bills' Nix not taking the bait on QB controversy talk
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Aug 27 2012 4:20PM
There were a couple of interesting things that were said while Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix addressed the media on a conference call Monday afternoon. For obvious reasons, the conversation revolved around the Bills' crop of quarterbacks and how they might figure in this season.
At one point, Nix was asked why there was a heightened importance to find a competent backup for Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. Perhaps he felt that was a way to back in to the idea of whether or not Fitzpatrick's job was safe all season long. Whatever it was, Nix wasn't having any of it.
"Well, I know what you guys are fishing for. You're not going to get that. So I'll just say exactly how it is and you can either accept that or make up something," Nix said coyly. "We've spent a lot of money in the off-season. We've put a lot of money in this football team and we think we've got good players and a chance to be competitive. I wouldn't want one guy to get hurt and couldn't play and everybody else be helpless to get it done. It's a protection."
Directly after that answer came a rather interesting exchange in regards to how many quarterbacks the Bills may keep on the roster to start the season. The logical thinking behind that consists of the newly acquired Tarvaris Jackson having under two weeks to learn the playbook and be ready for the regular season.
Might the Bills keep four quarterbacks, which includes Fitzpatrick, Jackson, Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith?
"Well, we don't have four anymore," Nix retorted.
Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com, who orginally asked the question, replied that he was counting Brad Smith.
"Yeah, I am too," which baffled some reporters standing around the speaker phone, after weeks of head coach Chan Gailey saying that Smith would be the team's third quarterback this season.
Nix quickly got back to that line of thinking:
"We've got four now, but Brad's working as a wide receiver right now. He will be the third quarterback according to what Chan has said so I'm sure that's right. But, probably you can't carry four."
Although confusing for a couple of seconds, it sounds as though the plan remains the same. That means, at least for now, either Jackson or Thigpen will be sent packing come Friday night (with Jackson much less likely, seeing as how the Bills just traded for him). Don't write that in permanent ink just yet, however.
After practice Chan Gailey spoke with the media, and said a few different things notable to the backup quarterback competition and what they may do with their roster.
After talking about having competition for that backup job, it begs the question as to how informed a decision can be made on a roster spot so vital, with only two practices and one game to work with.
"Well, I think you're going to have to make a decision if you don't keep all three of them," Gailey said. "I don't... I've never been in this situation so I can't tell you how I'm gonna do it. We'll evaluate it and do the best we can, and it won't be easy."
Would the team keep four quarterbacks? Is that even an option at this point? We heard from Buddy Nix on the matter, but Gailey chimed in on Monday as well.
"I'm comfortable with doing what's best for the team, and I don't know what that is today," said the head coach.
The one thing Gailey did commit to is something that he's held consistent throughout training camp, -- that Brad Smith will indeed be the third quarterback when the season starts.
"Oh yeah, yeah," he said. "That part hasn't changed. That hasn't changed at all."
The mystery now is whether or not there will some buffer time for Jackson as he learns the playbook. If the Bills deem it necessary, it's conceivable that you could see Thigpen being the primary backup in the early going, with Jackson on the inactive list.