Bills coach Gailey keeps close eye on QB Brohm
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – No matter where Brian Brohm was on the field Friday morning, Buffalo Bills first-year head coach Chan Gailey wasn’t far behind.
Let the quarterback competition begin.
In his first opportunity to watch his team practice since taking over in January, Gailey focused much of his attention on Brohm during the 70-minute session that kicked off a three-day weekend minicamp for rookies and players with less than three years’ NFL experience.
Occasionally jotting down notes in his clipboard, Gailey watched Brohm throw most every pass while studying the quarterback from nearly every angle. Gailey maintained his focus on Brohm during individual drills even when the rest of the players – including first-round draft pick, running back C.J. Spiller – went to the far end of the field to go through team drills, with rookie seventh-round draft pick Levi Brown running the offense.
That, according to Gailey, was to be expected because he intends to keep a close eye on all his quarterbacks to determine which of the three contenders – Brohm or Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who split the starting duties last year – will earn the No. 1 job.
“In general, I’m going to spend a little bit more time on the offensive end,” said Gailey, who will double as the offensive coordinator this season. “But I’ll try to keep my eye on the quarterbacks at all times. That’s one of the things that I think’s important that we make sure that we evaluate correctly.”
Brohm is the focus this weekend because, with one season of experience, the 2008 second-round draft pick was Buffalo’s only returning quarterback invited to attend the minicamp
Determining a starter is regarded as Gailey’s top priority in revamping a popgun offense that’s finished 25th or worst in the NFL in yards gained over the past seven seasons. It’s a stretch during which the Bills have gone through five quarterbacks who have started at least eight games, including Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb, who are no longer with the team.
Brohm was eager to show what he’s learned so far after joining Edwards and Fitzpatrick in learning Gailey’s new offense over the past month.
“Definitely a no-brainer,” Brohm said of showing up for a voluntary minicamp. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I just have to focus on myself, become the best player that I can be and not really worry about how the other guys are doing.”
Brohm struggled in the afternoon practice, throwing two interceptions, including one that was well behind receiver Felton Huggins up the right sideline.
With the competition expected to go into training camp, Edwards and Fitzpatrick will have their chance to start proving themselves during Buffalo’s next minicamp, which opens May 25.
Of the three, Brohm is the most unproven and a very unknown quantity after Buffalo signed the former Louisville star off of Green Bay’s practice squad in November. He’s appeared in only two NFL games, both with Buffalo last season, including a start in a 31-3 loss to Atlanta, in which he went 17 of 29 for 146 yards and two interceptions.
Brohm’s career has, so far, been considered a disappointment after he lost the backup job in Green Bay to rookie seventh-round draft pick Matt Flynn prior to the start of last season.
He regards what happened last year as a valuable learning experience.
“I lost a little bit of confidence,” Brohm said. “There’s no doubt about it that I played well below where I should have been playing.”
He considers entering this season as being a clean slate and a chance to prove himself.
“This is the best I’ve felt since I’ve been in the NFL,” Brohm said. “I have a great opportunity, and I definitely need to take advantage of it.”
Gailey’s not providing any hints.
“To me, anybody’s got a chance to win the job right now,” Gailey said. “It’s not just lip service.”
He doesn’t consider Brohm’s lack of experience to be a drawback.
“Yeah, it’s tougher to evaluate,” Gailey said. “But I don’t have any preconceived ideas about him, which is a positive.”