In an offseason that has required a lot of planning, hard work and patience, Bills GM Buddy Nix and his front office staff have already faced questions on the heels of their first draft class. Nix, however, in an appearance on Double-X 1090 radio in San Diego Thursday, shed some light as to how the organization felt and still feels about their quarterback situation.
The Bills were criticized up and down by the so called draft experts for not taking a quarterback early in the draft. Buffalo did select Troy's Levi Brown in round seven. Faced with several other needs for their football team Nix, Vice President of College Scouting Tom Modrak and head coach Chan Gailey viewed the quarterback position as one that was already manned by players every bit as capable as the top prospects in the draft.
"Here's the way we looked at it," said Nix. "We've got guys physically that can do anything as well as anybody in the draft physically. Throw the ball well, make all the throws, mobile, can move around and are smart. We've got guys like that. Now obviously they've been kind of inconsistent and up and down, but there are a lot of reasons for that."
Nix pointed to all of the turmoil to Buffalo's roster and coaching staff just before the regular season began as well as the myriad of injuries that befell the offensive line.
"The offensive coordinator getting fired two weeks before the season starts, your left tackle is cut with a week to go before the first game," said Nix. "Alex Van Pelt is one of my favorite people and he's a good football coach, but he was a guy that had not been a coordinator or called plays or coached quarterbacks and he was forced to do all three… within a week. It was formula for disaster and a lot of it (the quarterback) couldn't control, but it all happened. Everybody wants to put it on the quarterback and try to make a change.
"The point I'm trying to make is that those guys that are in the draft we see them do all those things, but we don't know how they're going to handle adversity in the NFL. We've got three that are here that are the same way. So why not see if they can do it? That was our thinking."
There's little question that the changes at left tackle and offensive coordinator right before the season put more pressure on Trent Edwards and later Ryan Fitzpatrick to hold things together. Quarterbacks however, are dependent upon several other players in effectively executing their responsibilities.
In no way did Nix indicate that the quarterbacks were blameless, but it's clear that what he and Gailey saw in their review of the 2009 game film convinced them that Buffalo's quarterbacks were asked to perform in circumstances that were far from ideal.
With a proven offensive mind like Gailey, the addition of a multi-dimensional game breaking threat in C.J. Spiller, some offensive line depth in Ed Wang and Kyle Calloway and some promising defensive linemen in Torell Troup and Alex Carrington, the Bills believe they can create a better environment in which the veteran quarterbacks on the roster can perform.