Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly shares his thoughts on the current state of the team each week here on Buffalobills.com. This week he assesses the change made at quarterback by head coach Chan Gailey in an effort to jumpstart his offense.
The quarterback change has come about again for the Bills this season, and it's come a lot earlier than last season. In a way it was inevitable because when you lose in the fashion that the Bills have the first two weeks the quarterback is where the first change is made. The fairness of that can be debated because no one has been doing well on offense. That's just the way it is though. It's part of the reality of the NFL. When you don't do well that's what happens.
Right now they're just not playing very well as a unit. When I look at the quarterback I want to see him go through his progressions. Trent (Edwards) was not being allowed to get to his second and third read because he didn't have time. He has to go from his first read and then he has to look for a place to run or dump the ball off. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it's been.
I feel bad for Trent, but this is an unforgiving sport. When you don't produce, whether it's your fault or not sometimes things like this happen. So even though they're in the midst of an offensive transition with a new system and it's taking the offensive line a little bit more time to jell as a group, they're going with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
With the offensive line you can see their shortcomings are not physical, they're mental. That can be fixed fortunately, so they just have to get better all the way around.
As for Fitzpatrick it's unlikely that much will change with respect to the way Chan Gailey calls his offense. Fitzpatrick will be a fresh voice in the huddle, a fresh voice as far as leadership and maybe that's what they need. I don't know, but something had to be done and unfortunately for Trent it was his job. Trent still has to get ready in case something happens to Fitz because he'll be right back in there if there's an injury.
There were times that you could see Trent not wanting to force a ball in to a receiver because of turnovers, and for Fitz that's a bit of an easier thing because he has nothing to lose. That's why I believe he's more apt to take risks and try to fit passes into tight spots. This is an opportunity for him to come in and show what he can do, though the Patriots on the road will not be an easy game. Then he has to come home to face the Jets.
You can look at what Fitz is walking into with his first two opponents much like Trent's situation in the first two games this season. He started the year against two very tough defenses. The first game was against the Dolphins, who are tied for the fewest points allowed in the league after two weeks and the Green Bay defense might even be better than Miami's. So Trent had his back against the wall before he even got started with this new system and things had a chance to jell.
And I realize that Bills fans are not going to sit back and listen to excuses. They wanted to see something done. They wanted to see some changes and they got one, though I don't believe this move was fan generated in the least.
To get out of the rut the offense is in the players on that unit really have to take some significant steps forward. Progress can't come in baby steps. This team is in an 0-2 hole. Baby steps might be the call if you had a rookie quarterback under center that's kind of feeling his way, but this team has a six-year veteran in there now at quarterback that is known as a pretty sharp player. There are veterans at the skill positions. They've played in NFL games. They've seen a pass rush. The offense has to make noticeable progress because the team is not winning and it's largely due to the lack of scoring.
It doesn't appear as though Chan Gailey has held back anything on offense. They're just not executing on the field. When things go wrong you try to figure out how to fix it, and sometimes that process takes a little longer than you'd like.
Hopefully we see marked improvement from the team and they give the Patriots a run for their money up in Foxboro on Sunday.