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Trent Edwards, the Bills' starting QB in Weeks One and Two, has been released by the team. Ryan Fitzpatrick is Buffalo's current starter and Brian Brohm will be elevated to second string.
Edwards, who started 32 games since being a 2007 third-round pick, was benched following mediocre performances in the first two games. He had thrown for only 241 yards in a pair of Bills losses, was sacked seven times and had led the team to only two touchdowns.
Over the course of his Buffalo career, Edwards completed 60.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 25 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Injuries led to a lot of missed games, as a sprained wrist, concussions and a knee bruise forced him to the sideline in 2007, '08 and '09.
He had a 14-18 record as Bills' starter.
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The writing was on the wall for Edwards as soon as he was benched a week ago. Head coach Chan Gailey said there would be an open QB competition in training camp, but when neither Edwards, Fitzpatrick nor Brohm separated themselves in the preseason, the job went to the returning starter by default. Edwards was awful in Weeks One and Two, so when Gailey moved on to Fitzpatrick for Week Three, Edwards' time in Buffalo was all but over.
Known by some as "Captain Checkdown" due to his fondness for throwing short, safe passes instead of stretching the field, Edwards never took a firm grasp of Gailey's offense. The move shows the team is ready to hand over the reins to Fitzpatrick and Brohm for the rest of the season, although the QB position clearly will be the No. 1 priority heading into the 2011 offseason.
A bigger issue may be that the team cut its Week One and Two QB the day after a Week Three game. The Bills seem to lack a long-term plan, indicated by their stockpiling of running backs and what seems like a forgetfulness to acquire any sort of pass-rush help. Cutting Edwards this quickly indicates Gailey was never truly comfortable with the player in the first place, which leads to the question: Why was Edwards the No. 1 QB coming out of training camp? If the coaching staff and management could see that he wasn't going to win with a mediocre offensive line and subpar receivers, then maybe the more mobile Fitzpatrick should have had the job from Day One.
Gailey and GM Buddy Nix are both new to Buffalo, but each is a veteran of the NFL and could have seen this coming much earlier than now.
Edwards should be able to find a roster spot somewhere in the NFL, as he is still young (he turns 27 at the end of October) and is a smart player. But a lack of arm strength and mobility make it unlikely that Edwards will ever be a full-time starter again.
The Bills will give Fitzpatrick every chance to succeed, and the offense did improve in Week Three, producing 23 points at New England. But it is likely that Brohm also will get a shot in 2010. Seventh-round draft choice Levi Brown, who was cut at the end of training camp and refused a spot on the practice squad, also could return to the roster.