I've always hated charades. I'm too tired, distracted and unimaginative to guess who or what you're trying to be. Four words, four syllables: knock that $#!% off.
The Buffalo Bills, clearly and hopelessly stuck in the past in terms of making football decisions, obviously love this antiquated game, though. They've been playing it—and making fools of themselves in the process—by heralding their knuckleheaded plan to have an open competition at quarterback. The winner of this Valedictorian-of-Lunch-Detention diploma could be Ryan Fitzpatrick, or "Kelly Holcomb 2.0."
It's also a possibility for Brian Brohm, who couldn't keep a job wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard in Green Bay. It's more than a little dimwitted to hope he'll morph into the next Brett Favre, or even the next Fitzpatrick for that matter.
But, more than likely, the "winner" will be Trent Edwards. That's right, we're going to re-live this, ahem, charade of misfired passes, checkdowns and general ineffectiveness at the sport's most pivotal position.
A lot of fans and pundits like to spout off about how Fitzpatrick is reliable but unspectacular, a good stopgap to keep the starter's seat warm while the Bills—and please withhold your laughter until the end of my schtick—draft and develop a capable NFL signal-caller. How, I ask, is Edwards any different?
It's absolute foolishness to believe Edwards has a positive future with the Bills, or any franchise not situated in the UFL or Arena League. I was a big believer in him back in those heady 2007 days, before his arm was exposed as a popgun, his confidence bottomed out and he exhibited all the durability of a house of cards during twister season in Missouri.
It's a good bet new coach Chan Gailey will eventually settle on Edwards, who will look sharp and promising during offseason practices and drills, without the stress of having to make clutch decisions with 75,000 people screaming and 11 more looking to pulverize him. It's in those "live" situations, long removed from minicamp, where he's been unmasked as another failed Bills draft pick.
And even if he performs well, he's sure to go down with another injury or concussion at some juncture, further stunting any possible development and adding more cobwebs to his already bruised gray matter. No quarterback, talented or otherwise, has been deemed a successful starter if he couldn't avoid injuries. Even ignoring his obvious positional shortcomings, that's the rub with Edwards: staying on the field for any effective length of time.
But here we'll be again in August: Edwards under center, Fitzpatrick preparing to spell him after ineffectiveness or injury, and Brohm ... um, keeping ice in the Gatorade supply? How's this not like the misery of 2009, the autumn and winter of our discontent?
Look, I'm not saying I have the answers. GM Buddy Nix and Gailey, should he last past 16 games, are paid nicely to figure that out and here's hoping they do. Let's hope this is what they're thinking: one of the three steps up and holds down the fort until a better solution is found via trade, free agency or the 2011 draft. Any other scheme is asking for several more years of .500, playoff-less seasons without a top-five draft choice to show for it.
Haven't we been tormented with that Groundhog Day nightmare for a decade too long? To peddle the rancid magic beans of a three-headed, open competition for the gig does nothing good for the rest of the offense, let alone the trio of undeserving candidates, or least of all fans to whom you're trying to sell tickets.
But the Bills will continue with their charades, while the Pats, Jets and Dolphins have long since moved on to World of Warcraft in the AFC East.