Jerome Bettis was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his 13 year career with the Steelers and Rams. Bettis was able to parlay his HOF career into an NFL analyst job with ESPN. On Tuesday, Bettis appeared on NFL Live and discussed the quarterback situation for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.
Bettis was first asked to discuss Cleveland’s quarterback situation. On Josh McCown, Bettis used the word ‘solid’ a few times to describe his play over the first two games. In regards to his second preseason game, against the Bills, Bettis said, “He was solid in terms of throwing the ball, but two interceptions… You cannot turn the football over if you want to be the starting quarterback in the NFL.”
McCown went 7-of-10 for 57 yards against the Bills, while throwing two interceptions and taking three sacks. Not sure that qualifies as ‘solid’ but we’ll move on.
After a few other quarterbacks were discussed by Ron Jaworski and Tim Hasselbeck, Bettis was back to discuss the Bills. Trey Wingo and the others joke that Bettis drew the short stick on the teams he had to discuss and then Bettis started out with the following:
“It was clearly because it was hard for me to differentiate between the quarterbacks, because you give me the worst quarterbacks of the bunch.”
Bettis takes an easy shot at the Bills and Browns and we’re off!
There’s no argument that the Bills and Browns don’t have ideal quarterback situations. Neither team has their own version of Aaron Rodgers, but are their situations any worse than the Houston Texans, New York Jets or Washington Redskins? Apparently so in Bettis’ eyes as he calls them the worst in the bunch (league).
“But when we’re looking at the Buffalo Bills, we’re saying which quarterback? Obviously Rex Ryan knows something we doesn’t… don’t know because you would think it would be a two man race, but enters Tyrod Taylor into the mix and now it totally bares (?) any thought of who can be the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. I really can’t tell you. Nobody has really stood out as the starter yet, so right now your guess is as good as mine who’s the starting quarterback in Buffalo.”
Bettis was all over the place at times when he was speaking, so some of his comments are tough to comprehend. However, as soon as Bettis says the quarterback competition should be a two-man race between E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel, you know he hasn’t followed training camp or watched much of the quarterbacks during the preseason.
There are many in Western New York who believe that Taylor has been the most impressive of the quarterback trio. Throughout training camp, no quarterback was more consistent than Taylor. In the preseason, Taylor has also played very well.
Against the Panthers, Taylor went 5-of-8 for 49 yards and added 47 yards rushing. In his first two series of the preseason, he led the Bills on two touchdown drives. The first was an eight play, 65 yard drive that ended in a one-yard Karlos Williams touchdown. During this drive, the Bills did not see one third down as Taylor and the Bills moved the chains on first or second down.
His second drive was a 13 play, 90 yard drive that saw Bryce Brown run it in from four yards out. In his second drive of the game, the Bills only saw a third down situation twice and on both occasions, Taylor moved the ball with passes of 13 and five yards.
Versus the Browns, Taylor earned the start. He was playing without his top five running backs and top three receivers. Despite this, Taylor’s first drive went for 16 plays, 57 yards and took over nine minutes off the clock. Taylor drove the Bills into field goal range but Dan Carpenter missed a 46 yard field goal in his first attempt of the season.
Taylor only saw three total drives against a good Browns defense and he led the Bills on two scoring drives and three points. He finished the game 7-of-10 for 65 yards and added another 41 yards on four carries.
Bettis called McCown ‘solid’ for a 7-of-10 performance with two interceptions, but Taylor apparently hasn’t done enough to stand out following the same 7-of-10 performance, minus the interceptions and with more yards passing and rushing.
As for Manuel and Cassel, both have had their ups and downs at camp. In the preseason, both have performed respectably.
13/22, 188, 2 TD, 4 carries, 13 yards
7/8, 45 yards
Perhaps Bettis meant that all three quarterbacks have done enough to stay in the competition to this point and no one has stood out of the pack. However, this is tough to believe based on his earlier comment when he called the Bills and Browns QBs “the worst quarterbacks of the bunch.”
Buffalo’s quarterbacks could crash and burn in 2015 and maybe at the end of the season Bettis’ “worst of the bunch” comment will be correct. However, right now the quarterbacks have not looked bad through two preseason games, especially Taylor who apparently didn’t belong in the competition in Bettis’ eyes. Being an NFL analyst cannot be easy as you have to follow all 32 teams, but Bettis’ lack of knowledge on Buffalo’s training camp and preseason was apparent on Tuesday.