Bills newly acquired quarterback Tarvaris Jackson practiced with his new team on Monday afternoon and may very well play in the team's preseason finale Thursday night in Detroit if he proves to be a quick study. That according to Bills GM Buddy Nix, who addressed the media via conference call Monday afternoon from his native Alabama.
"We think he can maybe play some this week," said Nix, who has a speaking engagement at his alma mater West Alabama University. "They're meeting now and he's going to practice. So we'll see how far along he is and if he's ready to play Thursday night we'll give him some time."
Jackson's progress the next two days in practice will go a long way in determining just how much playing time he sees. Nix made it clear that Jackson, a player he's scouted since he came out of Alabama State in 2006, was a signal caller that they saw as an upgrade at the position. And being just two weeks away from the season opener did not sway his thinking at all.
"It doesn't matter about timing with us," said Nix. "Anytime somebody comes available if we think he has a chance of making us better I'm going to do it. We've seen him. He's played good at times. Consistency has been a little bit of a problem. He's bounced around a little bit, but who knows? We'll give it a try. We know he's got the ability to do it. We'll see if he can produce."
Coming from an offensive system that is based on timing and quick releases, Nix is hopeful that it will ease the transition for Jackson to Chan Gailey's timing-based system.
"I think there are some and I think he's very familiar with the quick passing game and getting the ball out of his hand," he said. "Hopefully that'll be some carry over."
The Bills have made a point of trying to find the right backup quarterback candidate to sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick should he succumb to injury. Nix explained why.
"We've spent a lot of money in the offseason," said Nix. "We put a lot of money in this football team and we think we've got good players and a chance to be competitive. I wouldn't want one guy to get hurt and not play and everybody else be helpless to get it done. It's a protection."
Knowing Jackson has just two weeks to be ready to step in and execute the offense should there be an unfortunate Week 1 injury suffered by Fitzpatrick, Buffalobills.com asked Nix if he could rule out a scenario in which four quarterbacks were carried on the final roster counting Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen in with Fitzpatrick and Jackson.
"We've got four now, but Brad is working as a wide receiver right now," said Nix. "He will be the third quarterback according to what Chan has said so I'm sure that's right. Probably you can't carry four."