Last summer Craig Nall was the victim of a hamstring injury in training camp. It effectively pulled him out of the competition for the starting quarterback job in last year's training camp. This summer he's been a victim of circumstance as a very talented Trent Edwards has been given more opportunities to prove himself despite being a rookie.
With J.P. Losman entrenched as the starter entering this season, Nall focused on solidifying himself as the team's number two signal caller. But not long after the arrival Edwards things began to shift.
Buffalo's third-round pick has some rare physical gifts that the coaching staff just couldn't ignore. They wanted to see how much those attributes could be developed in the rookie and Nall was left with little opportunity to prove he still deserved the backup job to Losman.
That's what has made this preseason so difficult for Nall. He's been on the wrong end of quarterback competitions before and he's taken them in stride, but not getting the snaps he's used to receiving made this competition one of more arduous ones for him to handle.
"It's probably up there around the top because I was healthy this year," said Nall in dealing with how this competition unfolded. "Going into this offseason it was my job to lose as I understood it. And having not really had too many opportunities to compete for that has been pretty tough. But I understand that with a rookie coming in they want to give him as much of a look as possible. But it's been tough, it really has. I've got to keep the faith and keep my confidence up so when I get a chance I'm not thinking about the past."
Nall hasn't played poorly this preseason when he has seen action. He completed 63 percent of his passes and compiled a passer rating of 81.2. He led a 14-play scoring drive in New Orleans that culminated in a field goal. His only blemish this preseason was his fumbled exchange in the preseason finale. But he threw 19 passes compared to Edwards' 61, and things weren't much different in the practice setting.
Nall saw how things were panning out as the preseason wore on and needed to get some answers.
"I talked to coach Jauron last week about my situation and cleared up some issues," said Nall. "It doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I'd like to be out there getting as many snaps as possible. It hasn't worked out that way this year, but all I can do is just play the hand I've been dealt. I've wrestled with it."
All along however, Nall hasn't made a stink about the situation in which he finds himself. It's far from ideal, but he's committed to being a good teammate.
"I've been working hard," Nall said. "I'm not one of those guys that's going to complain or anything like that. You've got to be professional about the whole deal and when the opportunity comes you've got to make good on it and hopefully that opportunity comes."
And that's what Nall is hanging his hat on right now. Even though the preseason is over he's convinced that sooner or later another chance to play will surface again. And when it does he wants to be ready, knowing full well it may never be in Buffalo.
"There's going to be an opportunity for me somewhere at some point where I'm going to get a chance to go in there and prove that I'm capable of playing in this league," said Nall. "Until that happens I'm just going to keep my head strong and make the most of my opportunities."