Every current Buffalo Bills quarterback has the chance to seize an amazing opportunity. We merely need one to realize it. Starters at every other non-right tackle position are settled for good reason, as the widespread supremacy of talent is unquestioned. We could pretend it’s unimportant to have someone good throw the ball, but it probably won’t help. At least one-third of the candidates vying for the spot should sense the opportunity found in urgency.
Fans don’t care who it is. The sluggish competition is like taking a busted hard drive to the Geek Squad: we don’t need repair details as much as we need the laptop to work. If you could fix this by tomorrow, it’d be particularly great.
The rest of the lineup is primed for success. The quarterback has to get up to pace with an established act. Buffalo needs a Gilby joining Guns N’ Roses to keep the aggression rolling. One of Kyle Orton’s potential replacements needs to start rocking now. They each seem uniquely appealing on paper: Cassel’s calming experience, Manuel’s documented potential, and Taylor’s fascinating skill set make this seem like a compelling race. It’s the actual performances that haven’t been consistently crowd-pleasing.
Extra nervousness is natural when the outcome is so unclear. Every report of a shaky camp outing from any of the three hopefuls provokes trepidation. The instinct to freak out after a bad practice or scrimmage reminds us to look at training as a whole. The players in question have to do the same and focus on overall progression instead of any day’s setbacks. It just has to happen quickly. We’re at the date where they have weeks to play like professionals, not months. The good news is that we don’t have to wait in agony indefinitely.
Most urgently, Taylor has only so much longer to remain intriguing. He would win a literal race among quarterbacks. But the Vickian figure hasn’t had the chance to dash off frequently during pro games. Anxious fans wonder if his lack of displayed success is due to the natural course of development or absence of consistency. Like David Letterman hosting a morning show, his game may simply not fit certain offenses. But he could need nothing more than the right venue. If this is the one, he could show it this month, please.
Even if he wins the spot by default, the starter can’t take every snap and stick it in a tailback’s gut. These modern times require the second guy who touches the ball to serve as more than as a caretaker. The days of Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson being dragged to a Super Bowl ring fitting are already over. Contemporary quarterbacks need to contribute at minimum a few dynamic plays per game paired with the ability to slice up the linebacker-patrolled center. Manuel has until the semester’s start to prove he simply needed more seasoning and better handling. The only thing worse than summer school is repeating last year.
Two of the three can fizzle as long as the other grasps the chance being presented. The adage that a team with two starters has none means extra-bad news for squads with three possibilities. Only one must rise to the occasion. But it has to be at least that many. The rapidly-fading opportunity should be particularly apparent to Manuel, who may not get another chance to hold this job. If he wants his pro career to last longer than his college one, he’d better cram now.
Having three clerks working at the post office is useless if none of them are working quickly. That line’s going to seem brutal despite openings. Fans should not expect unsatisfactory service across the board as much as they may want to prepare for it. The realization that none may earn the promotion is sobering. Planning to ask multiple potential companions to prom doesn’t guarantee having a date. One of these guys should say yes. Think of the after-party.
Maybe it’ll take the threat of direct snaps to LeSean McCoy. Coaches are not about to let this team be hindered by underwhelming throws, especially considering what the winner will be handed. Weary opponents will have to stack the box to stop Buffalo’s rushers. The biggest issue with wideouts is ensuring each gets targeted enough. And the defense will tolerate four-down drives only if they can’t generate turnovers before forcing punts. Letting all this skill get wasted because of inaccurate passing would create a new level of frustration.
Imagining the best-case scenario is a pleasant distraction from obsessing over the worst case. It’s natural to get carried away pondering potential by always imagining a player at his best. We may alternately feel desperate enough after some preseason drives to call Matt Leinart. The contenders can assuage our concerns. Two of them don’t have to bother. The triumvirate can work it out amongst themselves. Whoever pulls ahead doesn’t have to warn the others. But he should make his move within the next five minutes or so.