BFR Debate: Is Edwards the Answer?

The BFR staff analyzes whether or not Trent Edwards is the team's future. Today, analyst Ian Smith says that Edwards is Buffalo's franchise quarterback. In two years, he has shown to be a proven winner, Smith says...

Teams of the National Football League are always looking for that off-hand "quick fix." A new wide receivers coach, a new punter, a new waterboy. Something, anything that will plug up the hole so the entire organization can move forward.

Throughout the Buffalo blogosphere, many Bills fans are questioning Trent Edwards as quarterback. BFR Publisher and fellow colleague Tyler Dunne believes that Edwards may not be the long-term answer. Granted, Edwards has been deemed "the future," and has not produced in a manner in which a franchise player should.

But in the fast-paced world of professional football, many forget that the city of Rome wasn't built in a day. History shows that a great quarterback wasn't either.

On paper, an argument against Edwards can be made: 18 career touchdowns, 18 career interceptions, a 79.1 passer rating, three different injuries in his two years.

But numbers are numbers, and winning outweighs any statistic. And that is all the Stanford graduate has been doing with the Bills.

In the 24 games Edwards has started or played in, the Bills are 14-10. Edwards controls the clock well, keeps crucial drives alive, and distributes the ball better than many quarterbacks, young or old.

When comparing Edwards' early career to those of the currently successful quarterbacks, his track record is strikingly similar. In Eli Manning's first 24 games, the Super Bowl XLII MVP went 12-12. His brother and Super Bowl XLI MVP Peyton Manning went 14-10. Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year Drew Brees went 9-15 in his first 24 career appearances.

With that being said, Edwards seems to be ahead of the curve. Trust me: things under center in Buffalo don't look as shady as pessimists would have you believe.

Bills fans need to realize that breeding a good quarterback, and a good team for that matter, takes time. On top of that, Buffalo does not have the salary cap, the commodities, nor the glamour of another big city to bring a high profile veteran to be the team's quarterback. If the Bills were to hypothetically bring in somebody such as Kurt Warner or Kerry Collins, the team would get one, maybe two years out of them. The organization would soon be back to square one at the quarterback position.

Edwards has proven himself as the guiding light for now and the future to come.

This does not mean that the Bills shouldn't sign a veteran quarterback to contend with Trent Edwards in training camp. However, Dick Jauron needs to eradicate any uncertainty in the locker room by calling a press conference and standing behind Edwards as the 2009 starter. Jauron, who is cautiously tip-toeing on thin ice this season, should display an outward confidence in something for once in his coaching tenure. Edwards should be the definite guy going into season. He is aware of the criticism and is smart enough to know that the critics and backup quarterbacks appearing behind him are closer than they appear.

Trent Edwards should and will be the guy the Buffalo Bills look to in 2009. In a make-or-break season for him and Coach Jauron, I expect the improvement to continue and for the level of success to take its next step at One Bills Drive. There is no justification to put this progression on halt for a one year stint of a veteran quarterback. In the Buffalo Bills' case, one year in the hand is definitely not worth two plus years in the bush.

Tomorrow, BFR's Tyler Dunne writes that the Bills must openly explore the market for a quarterback.

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