Bills head coach Dick Jauron is never one to gush about his players. He gives credit where it is due, and always describes his team as a hard working group that genuinely likes the game. But it was hard even for Jauron to repress the pleasure he took in watching Trent Edwards this past Sunday.
"That was really impressive," Jauron said of Edwards after Buffalo's win over San Diego. "That was really impressive. The guys is just a good football player. A very, very good football player."
Edwards had just finished the most accurate passing day in team history with a completion percentage just over 83 percent (25-30) with a touchdown and no turnovers for the fourth time in six outings.
He's only played from start to finish in five games this season, but very quickly Edwards' weekly performances have vaulted him to the top of the league's quarterback rankings board.
Entering Week 8, Edwards stands second in the league and first in the AFC in completion percentage (69.7%), fourth in the NFL and second in the conference in quarterback rating (98.8) and second in the league and first in the AFC in fourth quarter quarterback rating (133.1).
Ahead of Edwards in these categories are names like Rivers, Romo and Warner. Simply put there haven't been many quarterbacks in the league that have performed better.
League-wide respect hasn't come to just yet. The season isn't even half over, but Edwards is uniformly respected in his own locker room on both sides of the ball.
"He's an outstanding player," said guard Derrick Dockery. "His preparation, his work ethic is like no other. He comes out there focused and I believe the whole team just rallies around him."
"I have a lot of respect for Trent," said Kawika Mitchell. "I think he works extremely hard. I thought he was a good quarterback last year. The way he moves in the pocket. I think he's a great talent."
It could be argued that Edwards' ascension has been rapid. He has just 15 NFL starts under his belt and already his level of success is eye-opening. Not just from a personal perspective, but from a team perspective as well.
In Edwards' 15 NFL starts the Bills have posted 10 victories. His winning percentage of .667 already ranks fifth among active NFL quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. The only quarterbacks with a better winning percentage? Tom Brady (.784), Ben Roethlisberger (.721), Tony Romo (.719) and Rivers (.718). When he posts a passer rating of 80 or better the Bills are 8-0.
But Buffalo's head coach doesn't believe Edwards' play has been all that different since the very beginning of his career.
"He's been kind of consistent since he started. We've talked about him in our OTAs his first year and how he's kind of been the same guy from the first day he stepped on the field," said Jauron. "Now he's got a lot more information and a lot more experience day-to-day in practice and in games he's got a lot more knowledge of our offense and how it functions and how it works. He's using all of that. He is a good learner, a very, very good learner. And he's a great worker. He's just a good player."
Granted the team success hasn't all been Edwards, but in a quarterback-driven league, he's made a big difference. So much so that some of his teammates believe had he not been hurt on the third play of the game at Arizona in Week 5, they might have an unblemished record.
"We didn't make it an excuse, but we believe that if we would have had Trent that entire football game, it would have been a different outcome," said defensive co-captain Donte Whitner.
If Edwards' play continues along it's current path, along with an increase in touchdown passes (where he's ranked 20th), and the Bills continue winning, the words Pro Bowl may begin to be uttered for the second-year signal caller.
As crazy as that might sound when you consider that perennial AFC Pro Bowl representatives Tom Brady and Carson Palmer are out of the mix and Peyton Manning is having a subpar season by his standards, it doesn't sound so outlandish.
But as far as Edwards' teammates are concerned they're just glad he's their difference maker.
"I'm glad we have him."