On March 14th, in the wake of Michael Vick’s sudden availability, Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked whether the Bills were looking to add to their depth at the QB position.
“At this time, no,” he said. “But, again, we will keep all options open.”
Translation: “I’m not going to say “We’re not signing Vick out loud but we’re not signing Vick.”
Whaley went on to say that he feels good about the current QBs on the roster.
“Comfortable. Very comfortable,” he said. “And what you gotta understand is, you got all those guys are going to be in another year in this system. So if you bring someone else in, that’s going to be their first year in the system. We’re comfortable with where we are at the quarterback position.”
Translation: “If I tell you I’m uncomfortable, I just wrote a headline for you. I’m no fool. It’s March 14th and we don’t play a game until September. So yeah, right now, we’re… comfortable.”
Even if you believe (as I do) that EJ Manuel has a decent chance to be the long-term solution, this team still needs a viable backup.
Last season, the Bills wanted a veteran QB on their roster to go with their rookie. They tried but Kevin Kolb broke before he could be useful.
In his first NFL season, Manuel played just 10 of 16 games and missed three separate blocks of time (including preseason) due to injury.
As a result of facts 1 and 2, Thad Lewis played. When he couldn’t go, Jeff Tuel played.
Enter Mark Sanchez.
I don’t dispute any of what’s already been written about Sanchez here at TB. In fact, I’d like to add to it.
If the Bills didn’t have a QB with at least a shot at being “the guy”, I wouldn’t have any use for Sanchez. I’d be in the mood for a blockbuster deal to move up in the year’s draft or a Sabres-style tank job with an eye toward 2015. But the roster looks alright everywhere else and a strong case can be made that sixteen full games of EJ Manuel in 2013 would’ve given the Bills a look at nine wins and a playoff spot. I don’t want to see the 2014 team go from “decent” to “afterthought” in one play and if the backup QB spot isn’t addressed, it’s easy to picture that happening.
It’s not a 20/20 hindsight thing to say that the Jets’ addition of Tim Tebow to the mix before the 2012 offseason was the end of Sanchez in New York. This is the sort of wake that you leave when you add the league’s most polarizing player at the sport’s most important position in the world’s craziest sports media market. The club planted the “Sanchez- no confidence” seed and watched it bloom. He needs a fresh start… and holding a clipboard in Buffalo is as good a place as any.
Sanchez has played in six playoff games and the Jets won four of them. Was he great? No. Was he the reason they got there? Nope. Is the simple fact that he’s been through it enough to bump him ahead of Thad Lewis, Jeff Tuel, and Dennis Dixon on any depth chart in America? Yes. (He’d go ahead of Matt Leinart, too. Forgot he was here last year, didn’t you?)