Orchard Park, NY (WGR550) -- It's crunch time for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Seemingly behind the eight-ball after Vince Young took a stranglehold of the backup job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Thigpen is in a much different scenario heading in to the team's final preseason game in Detroit.
After an abysmal performance against Pittsburgh, Vince Young was jettisoned out of Buffalo to make room for Tarvaris Jackson to come in and compete. Jackson will have all of three days to attempt to pickup a portion of Chan Gailey's playbook and prove to the coaching staff that they no longer need the likes of Thigpen.
Three days compared to two-plus years in Gailey's system obviously gives Thigpen a leg-up to stick around. Even so, Thigpen's salary (owed $2.5 million in 2012) combined with the fact that the Bills gave up a draft choice for Jackson -- which GM Buddy Nix does not like to do -- indicates that he still may be the underdog in the situation.
Thigpen said he didn't have much of a reaction to the trade when he first caught wind of it.
"The organization, they're going to do what they're going to do," said the quarterback. "For me, I can't let that affect me. They have the decision they have to make in their mind, but for me I gotta go out there and handle my business and take care of myself.
It's plausible that when the Bills finish up their preseason in Detroit against the Lions, it might just be the most important game of Thigpen's football life. With Jackson only flying in on Monday and only doing team drills on Tuesday, it'd be fair to expect Thigpen will get the majority of time on the field Thursday night.
The enormity of the contest does not escape him.
"It is definitely a big game for me," Thigpen said. "I just wanna go out there and play the football that I'm capable of playing, and let the rest take care of itself."
Had Jackson not hooked on with the Bills via trade, maybe Thigpen wouldn't have gotten such an extended chance to show he can still be the backup quarterback the team desires in Detroit.
"Yeah, I guess you could look at it as a second chance," he said. "But for me, you've just got to take it one day at a time. You never know what's going to happen in this business. You just look forward to the next day you have and take advantage of the opportunities that you have and make the most of them."
So how is Thigpen approaching such a heightened opportunity for his professional career? He says he's not going to let the bigger picture affect his mindset heading in to the game.
"The biggest thing for me is whatever opportunity presents in front of me, I've gotta go out there and take one play at a time," Thigpen remarked. "If it's a bad play, forget about it, move on to the next. As a quarterback, you've got to take it one play at a time and move the ball down the field and put points on the board. That's your job."
If everything goes according to his plan, perhaps he'll be able to keep that very job.
Thigpen and the rest of the Bills fly out to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, preparing for the Thursday night tilt with the Lions.