Last year, then-Jets coach Rex Ryan said there would be an open competition between Geno Smith and Mike Vick at quarterback. And then Vick blew the whole thing up by saying it wouldn’t be an even distribution of first-team reps and the Jets eventually (and reluctantly) agreed.
This year, Ryan has suggested that a four-way chase for the starting quarterback job will happen in Buffalo. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has backed up the boss, telling reporters on Monday that all four quarterbacks will get first-team reps, at some point.
“I think all four are doing a very nice job in our meetings and in communicating, as we are in a teaching phase,” Roman said of Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor, and Jeff Tuel. “They’re all going to have ample opportunity to get out there and practice. When we start evaluating then we’ll start to play around with things a little bit, who’s with the first team the one day, and the next day, and so forth. Everyone will have a chance to work with the first team and everybody’s going to have ample opportunity to put their best foot forward. And then we’ll have a good feel for it as we go.”
It’s hard to imagine Tuel winning the job, but Taylor (signed from the Ravens) is the only quarterback on the roster Ryan has openly praised. Some think the Bills will use a specialty package with Taylor, something Ryan tried at times with the Jets.
Whoever the quarterback is, the challenge will be to distribute the ball to an impressive collection of skill-position players who may get frustrated by not getting the ball in their hands. Roman has an idea for keeping that from happening.
“Just get two balls,” Roman said. “Change the rules.”
Then Roman said what many have said — that team success should keep any individuals from grousing.
“That stat we are about is winning,” Roman said. “Everybody understands that in a team sport, sometimes you’re doing the dirty work and sometimes you’re getting the glory, but if it all ends up in helping the team win then everybody benefits, and it’s pretty obvious. However, I think you have to have guys, character guys, and I believe we have those guys. So, it’s a great problem, if you want to look at it that way.”
A great problem is still a problem. And if the Bills don’t win, it could become a great big problem. But at least they’d have three other quarterbacks to consider, if they have to bench the first guy to start.