Bills QB has a Kelly swagger

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

A television promo running in the Buffalo area shows Jim Kelly and J.P. Losman, both decked out in Bills jerseys, walking across a football field together.

The ad, a spot for Kelly's football camp, is a snapshot of Buffalo quarterbacks past and present: Kelly, the scrappy Hall of Famer, and Losman, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of the Bills' famous No. 12.

Whether Losman, the recently anointed starter for the 2005 Bills, can lead Buffalo into the playoffs with the regularity and efficiency of a Kelly, remains to be seen.

But there is one attribute the sophomore pivot already does share with Kelly.

Some call it confidence, others cockiness.

Either way, Losman feels his time has come. And so, obviously, do the Bills, who allowed Drew Bledsoe to flee to Dallas a couple of weeks ago after the veteran refused to take a backup role to Losman for the coming season.

"He has got a little swagger," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said of Losman. "Hey, he'd better have swagger."

Having bid adieu to Bledsoe, the Bills acted quickly to get their quarterback situation in order by signing veteran Kelly Holcomb on Friday as insurance behind Losman.

Holcomb, who tossed for 436 yards in a 36-33 Cleveland Browns loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002, told reporters yesterday that he understands Losman is No. 1. At least general manager Tom Donahoe now knows he has some experience in the bullpen should Losman falter.

"I never felt in my conversations with Drew that he would be comfortable here or anywhere as a backup," Donahoe said.

The normally even-tempered Bledsoe admitted being momentarily bitter at the Bills' decision, suggesting the team is in for a "big challenge" with Losman lining up behind centre.

"I think our relationship was great," Losman said of Bledsoe. "As far as being my backup, that's something you are going to have to ask him. It could be something that didn't come out right. It's nothing that I got mad about."

The Bills have been thrilled with the work ethic of the 2004 first-round pick out of Tulane. Losman, who broke his leg during training camp last summer, has pumped iron and reviewed tape at the team's headquarters since Feb. 8.

Asked what his biggest challenge will be, Losman didn't hesitate.

"Earning the respect of my teammates," he said. "It all starts with the team.

"I'm a confident guy. I've been a starting quarterback all my life but this is a different situation. It's the first time I have to lead a group of guys who are much older than I am."


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