He’s thought about it since the day he left the Bills at the close of the 2008 season. Two coaching staffs and four offensive coordinators in his five seasons with the team that made him a top draft choice in 2004 contributed to a lack of success for the young quarterback. Now three years removed from his Buffalo playing days J.P. Losman may have the opportunity to start against his former team for their most storied division rival.
“I've been envisioning it for a long time actually, ever since I left Buffalo,” said Losman now with the Miami Dolphins. “To get the chance to play your old team, I think everybody has those thoughts. When I got to Miami here, I definitely knew we had two games to play them, and there was a definite possibility that I could get on the field and play against them.”
Losman took all the starter reps in practice for the Dolphins Wednesday as Matt Moore sat out with what was listed as a head injury. Moore was knocked out of last Sunday’s game against the Eagles and replaced by Losman who went 6-10 passing for 60 yards in a loss.
“Matt (Moore) is coming along,” said Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles. “We’ve got to get J.P. (Losman) ready just in case. There’s a lot of history there between the two teams with him being in Buffalo and now him playing against Buffalo. If that time comes where he has to be ready, I’m sure he’ll be ready.”
Losman has been with the Dolphins for about a month and a half after he was signed to replace Sage Rosenfels, who was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list with a blood condition.
For Losman getting a legitimate second chance in the NFL has proven difficult. After leaving the Bills he signed with the Raiders in 2009 and barely saw the field attempting one pass. The following year he signed with Seattle, but did not throw a pass.
“It felt good to get some starter reps again,” said Losman of Wednesday’s practice. “I felt like a player again. I felt like a starter again. It was just exciting. It really was. It's been a while. Second chances are hard to come by in this league and I've been waiting for quite some time. If I do get this opportunity, it's going to be exciting. It's going to be fun.”
Bowles, who is stepping into a new role himself this week, isn’t daunted by the prospect of starting Losman on Sunday if it comes to that. He believes Losman has been in the fold long enough to effectively execute a game plan.
“If you look around the league there is a lot of injured quarterbacks right now,” Bowles said. “People have to step in. J.P. (Losman) has been around for awhile. He understands what we’re asking him to do and understands the game. We’ll just try to make sure that (we give him) the game plan that he can work with.”
Just 10-23 as a starter with the Bills, Losman naturally wishes he could’ve been more successful on the field for a team and a city he still respects. He doesn’t blame his shortcomings on all the changes that were happening around him during his time with the club. Though he does believe that more continuity would’ve helped him, Losman re-examined the games in his Buffalo career and only critiqued himself.
“You don't want to sit there and make excuses, so you sit there and watch the film, and you watch what you could've done better,” he said. “As a competitor, as a player, that's how you look at it: `What could I have done to be better?'
“I've watched all the film, and I've watched other guys and see what I want to put into my game and where I want to improve. All the rest of the stuff will just fall into place.”
Losman said he wouldn’t change anything about his time with the Bills because he felt he did all he could.
“I was there working through January, February, March,” he said. “I never left Buffalo. I never went home for a break or anything like that. I was just there working and working and working. I think it took -- with different coordinators each year and different general managers, different philosophies and different personalities it was something that for a young quarterback it's tough to work through.
“Of course there are things I look back on physically that I wish I would've done better, but it was going to take time. It wasn't like a lack of talent. It wasn't a lack of smarts. It wasn't a lack of effort. That's just the way it went.”
Losman isn’t sure how he’ll be received by Bills fans on Sunday should he get the start against his old team. It’s not weighing heavily on his mind as he seems to be at peace with the way his NFL career began.
“It really doesn't matter either way,” he said. “It would be funny if I got a bunch of boos, and I'd probably just laugh it off. If they cheered, I'd probably laugh it off, too. It would be funny either way. I know that Buffalo crowd. If they don't like the way things are going, they're going to let you know. They're not shy, let's put it that way.”