Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Buffalo Bills Hope History Doesn't Repeat at Quarterback Battle Takes Shape

In the first season after Jim Kelly retired, a second-round draft pick named Todd Collins was expected to seize the starting job. One veteran backup was retained in Alex Van Pelt, while veteran Billy Joe Hobert was signed as added insurance.
All three signal-callers saw time as the Bills stumbled to a 6-10 record. Collins was insonsistent when he wasn't injured. Van Pelt tried but was blessed with a second-stringer's talent. And Hobert was cut when, after getting significant playing time, he confessed to not reading the play book the week prior.
That last scenario is unlikely to repeat itself, but otherwise 2013 could look the same. The Bills are expected to draft a high-round rookie, who will get a shot to start immediately. Former Arizona Cardinals starter Kevin Kolb was brought in to push him and Tarvaris Jackson, who didn't play last season but was re-signed earlier this offseason.
So two experienced starters will contend with (presumably) a hot-shot rookie for the job. That has the potential to go very well … or very, very poorly.

Rookies, no matter how highly drafted, are always a gamble, especially at the quarterback position. But whoever Buffalo drafts won't have too stiff a competition.
  • Kolb is 9-13 as a starter. He did guide Arizona to a 4-0 start in 2012 before getting injured. In six games in 2012, he went 109-of-183 for 1,169 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. in 34 career games, the 28-year-old Kolb is 449-of-775 for 5,206 yards, 28 touchdowns and 25 picks.
  • Jackson sat out the 2012 season. Buffalo acquired him from the Seattle Seahawks, but the coaching staff didn't play him because they said he was unable to catch up to the rest of the team. The 30-year-old is 17-17 as a starter, including a playoff run in 2008 with the Minnesota Vikings. He is 625-of 1,053 for his career for 7,075 yards, 38 touchdowns and 35 interceptions. He also has a 4.0 yards per rush average and five touchdowns on the ground.
So there is marginal potential for great things – especially if the rookie can pull a Russell Wilson or Robert Griffin III. Kolb and Jackson have both shown some signs of competence, but not enough to make either signal-caller a much-wanted commodity.
But, more likely, history will repeat itself behind center for the Bills. And history, for the most part, has unfortunately been unkind to Buffalo fans.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
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