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Bills' pressing training-camp issue: Quarterback

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

Let's not get too cute here. The Bills have a major question at the most important position.

Head coach Chan Gailey might be a fine offensive mind, but none of the Bills' QB options — Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and Ryan Fitzpatrick, with Levi Brown a distant fourth — are terribly exciting. Neither are most of the receiving options. Gailey has said he knows what the "pecking order" will be entering camp, but he's not ready to share with the world.

Alas we wait, breath bated.

This is not Doug Flutie-Rob Johnson of a generation ago, and there's a belief that whomever wins the job still will have a major chore on his hands.

The favorite appears to be Edwards, who has had some nice moments over the past three seasons but also has been inconsistent and injury-prone. He has the best arm, is smart and has won games. Edwards has appeared with the first team more than the others in offseason practices, though Gailey quickly said that didn't matter because he needed to make up time with the team.

Fitzpatrick might be the safest option and he knows where to put the ball, but he's not a proven winner and has a limited upside. Brohm has perhaps the greatest potential of the top three guys and showed improvement through OTAs and minicamps but is probably running third at this point. Brown won't get a realistic shot to start the season as the No. 1 QB; he simply hasn't had enough time with the first team.

Whoever wins the job won't get a lot of help from some of his surrounding cast. Lee Evans is the only established receiver. Who steps up? James Hardy? Steve Johnson? Marcus Easley? Roscoe Parrish? None are enthralling. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are fine options at running back, but the offensive line is a mess and tight end could be a problem spot if Shawn Nelson doesn't make a jump in his second season.

Edwards is the smart-money starter to start the season. Fitzpatrick makes sense as a backup because of his starting experience, but a poor camp could get him cut. Brohm must impress despite his name value, as he too could be cut. Brown faces an uphill battle to make the roster, especially if his reps are limited, but I have seen this kid play several times in college and think he has something. What, I am not sure, but I think he ends up on an NFL roster. It would be a shame for the Bills if they couldn't keep him and he ended up elsewhere, a la Matt Moore with the Cowboys a few years ago.

Wholly unsexy but seriously vital, the Bills' QB battle has a lot of possibilities but few answers. Some will be answered in a few weeks when camp opens, but you get the feeling this could be a trouble spot for a long while.

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