Unlikely road for QB foes

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Football's greatest flaw, the late Vince Lombardi was fond of saying, is that too much focus is placed on the quarterback.

They get the bulk of the attention, the legendary coach argued, and the nature of the position has a disproportionate influence on the outcome of a game.

Lombardi's reasoning certainly has application to today's Buffalo Bills-New York Jets clash where two average quarterbacks provide storylines too juicy to ignore.

When the AFC East rivals meet at a sold out Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Jets will be led by soon-to-be-42 Vinny Testaverde.

The Bills, meanwhile, keep the quarterback controversy humming, with backup Kelly Holcomb getting the call for a second consecutive week.

Both of today's starters were winners a week ago and even though they were decidedly so-so, each became huge stories in their respective markets.

"The one thing about the NFL you can't underestimate or not appreciate is experience," Bills linebacker London Fletcher said. "So I guess old is kind of in from the quarterback standpoint right now."

For these two teams it is, though for vastly different reasons.

The Bills started the season with Losman in the belief that he was ready to assume the reins as the team's quarterback of the future. After a 1-3 start, coach Mike Mularkey handed the ball to 32-year-old journeyman Holcomb last week.

In a plot that is getting big play in the Big Apple, Testaverde began the season watching games on his couch in Elmont, N.Y., until both Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler went down with shoulder injuries.

Testaverde is realistic enough not to let last week's triumphant return -- a 14-12 Jets win over the Bucs -- lead him to make any long-term plans.

"If I was a betting man, I'd go with the odds and say I'll probably be watching from the living room again next year," he said. "This would be good closure, coming back one last time to play for my hometown team."

Lombardi's theory was borne out somewhat last week. Both teams were winners more because the quarterbacks were reliable rather than sensational. Testaverde was 13-for-19 and 163 yards while Holcomb went 20-for-26 and 169 yards in the Bills' win over Miami.

Remember, too, that Testaverde essentially was chased out of Dallas by his friend, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, after going 5-10 as a starter in 2004.


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