For Brian Brohm, a shot at redemption may be only days away.
Ankle injuries to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards could vault the QB-a-crossroads into action at Atlanta. To be sure, this is not what Perry Fewell wants. Fewell would much rather start a veteran that gives him the best chance at keeping his job. Not someone who has pretended to be other quarterbacks for a month.
Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for fans, he may have no choice now. There are no other quarterbacks on Buffalo's roster. Unless the Bills pull an Incognito at the game's most important position, Brohm will start against Sunday if Fitzpatrick and Edwards can't go.
"It's really too early to answer that," Fewell said. "I don't know the severity. We have until Wednesday or Thursday, so we'll wait and see."
This would be the stocking stuffer all fans want. After a season's worth of coal, seeing Brohm could provide a sliver of hope. Many fans — 87 percent in a Buffalo News poll — want Brohm to start...even if all three quarterbacks are healthy. They want to know if he is the answer, if he is a legitimate candidate to start in 2010. And, hey, Brohm makes for an ideal conversation-starter at all semi-awkward family Christmas gatherings across Western New York.
The fan base's fervor is justified considering the latest savior's fall from grace. Like Todd Collins, Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe and J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards crashed and burned. Naturally, fans want hope. They've been jerked around for a decade. But here's hoping the anxiety loosens into reality. Nobody should judge Brohm on one game. Either way. It's like going on your first date with three dollars in your pocket and zits all over your face. The odds are against you. Brohm is playing behind a wounded mess of an offensive line and has received no snaps with the first-team offense. Arguably no quarterback would play well under those circumstances.
Make no mistake about it. Sunday will be more about Brian Brohm than the Buffalo Bills.
Brohm needs this. He needs a chance at resurrection — even if it's only one week behind a sieve. After being traumatized in Green Bay, Brohm's reclamation project will take time. Take patience. He remains a very young, very impressionable quarterback. Clearly, Brohm is not the "NFL-ready" pocket-passer many pegged. If so, he would have mimicked classmates Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.
So forget the Bills. Forget 2010. Forget dreams of playoffs. This game is not about any of that if Brohm starts. Not at all. Sunday is personal. Succeeding as the starter in Atlanta would be the spike of confidence Brohm needs. Playing quarterback is a cerebral hurricane. It's more mental than physical. Confidence (or lack thereof) directly affects success. The difference between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf was never talent.
Thus Brohm needs to see the fruits of labor. Making the right audibles, completing NFL-level throws and winning a NFL game would send Brohm riding high into the offseason.
Things turned south fast in Green Bay. Inside and outside of the locker room, Brohm struggled to assimilate. Instead of competing with (then-unproven) Aaron Rodgers for the No. 1 job, the second-rounder Brohm was fishing for a roster spot for in Green Bay. Fellow draftee, seventh-round pick Matt Flynn, gravitated to the team faster. Flynn was more accurate and took a much better command of the offense, while also gaining a better rapport with teammates. Several times after practice, Flynn joined receivers in games of backgammon.
Brohm stayed in the background, each pass into the dirt adding credence to his bust label. Through two years, Brohm showed no signs of improvement. His two preseasons were a painful lowlight reel of checkdowns. And the Packers gave up.
So here he is. Back on his feet. Staring at a chance to start.
Nothing is known yet. Fewell offered no specifics. Edwards was placed on injured reserve. Brohm's chances of starting hinges on how quickly Fitzpatrick recovers. Considering there were a pair of crutches in his locker, those chances are high. Sunday would be Brohm's first meaningful NFL snaps. Ever. Since coming to Buffalo from Green Bay's practice squad a month ago, Brohm has manned the scout team.
In other words, he has masqueraded as other players. Never himself.
Maybe this weekend, the real Brian Brohm stands up.
Click here for an interesting take on Brohm from Scout.com's Chris Steuber.
And here to see how Steuber sees Brohm's presence fitting into Buffalo's overall need for a future quarterback.
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