Bills QB Edwards eager to make most of fresh start
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Upbeat and confident, quarterback Trent Edwards arrived for the start of the Buffalo Bills spring voluntary workout program eager to show he can put last season’s frustrations behind him.
If that means having to compete to reclaim the starting job, that was fine with Edwards on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters for the first time since November, shortly after losing his starting job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Edwards acknowledged his critics and accepted a share of the blame for the offense’s struggles, which contributed to the Bills’ 6-10 finish.
Edwards also was clear: He sees no reason why he can’t making the most of his second chance under a new coaching staff led by Chan Gailey.
“I’ve always been a confident player regardless if someone doesn’t want me to play or not, if the media doesn’t like me, if the coach doesn’t like me,” Edwards said. “There’s obviously doubters out there. It’s my opportunity, it’s my chance to change those into believers. That’s my attitude. That’s not going to waver.”
Edwards has plenty of motivation. He’s entering his fourth NFL season, the final year of his contract, and he faces an open competition for the starting job with Fitzpatrick and third-stringer Brian Brohm.
So far. Gailey also intends to add a fourth quarterback to the mix, whether through trade, free agency or in the NFL draft next month.
“To tell you a specific direction and the way we’re going, no, I don’t have an answer today,” said Gailey, who took over in January after Dick Jauron was fired. “I know that we’ll have four quarterbacks when we go into camp, and that’s all I know right now.”
One potential draft candidate is Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who made a pre-draft visit to the Bills headquarters earlier this week.
Gailey was impressed with Tebow’s personality, but still wasn’t convinced whether the quarterback’s deliberate throwing mechanics are suited for the NFL game.
For Edwards, he’s not going to worry about things he can’t control.
“I wouldn’t expect them to name anyone (as a starter) right now. There’s no reason,” Edwards said. “Everyone’s being evaluated at this time in the process. You kind of have to put your best foot forward and hope for the best.”
A 2007 third-round draft pick out of Stanford, Edwards has had an up-and-down career in Buffalo since supplanting J.P. Losman as the starter midway through his rookie season.
After going 7-5 in games he had a majority of playing time in 2008, Edwards’ regressed last season. He went 1-4 before sustaining a concussion in a 16-13 overtime win against the New York Jets, a game in which Fitzpatrick rallied the Bills to victory.
Edwards got one more start before losing his job for the rest of the year after a 41-17 loss at Tennessee.
“There were more lows than I wanted. It was very frustrating for me,” said Edwards. “Last year at this time, you’re the starter, you put in a lot of work. And then guys get dinged up, coaches get fired, you don’t play the way you want to, you don’t win any games. It’s tough when you put in all that work and you have nothing to show for it.”
To be fair, not all of the blame falls on Edwards.
In finishing 30th in total yards and 28th in points scored, the Bills offense was in turmoil two weeks before the season began when coordinator Turk Schonert was abruptly fired. It didn’t help that Jauron stuck with a plan to go with a no-huddle attack despite having an offensive line that opened the season featuring three first-time starters.
Edwards alluded to confusion as being a problem, noting that he was dealing with three coaches who at times were providing conflicting messages.
That shouldn’t be the case with Gailey, who will also serve as the team’s offensive coordinator.
“I’m obviously excited. We needed to make some changes after last season,” Edwards said. “I think any time you play in the NFL and you’re coming off a negative season … and a team still has you under contract and still wants you to play for them, that’s an opportunity for a player to prove themselves and a team to come together like I think we need to.”
Notes: Bills S George Wilson recently filmed a music video in Miami with recording star Mary J. Blige. Wilson was selected after a talent scout noticed his photo spread in Essence Magazine. … Gailey said he’s not had any conversations with RB Marshawn Lynch, who was not present for the voluntary workouts. Gailey said only GM Buddy Nix has spoken with Lynch. … In a bid to provide a more businesslike atmosphere, Gailey has removed the TV sets from the Bills weightlifting room.