Bills lean on Edwards

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Late last week, a Buffalo Bills fan contacted a local radio station saying a friend of a friend had spotted Michael Vick at the Niagara County airport.

Just one question: Was Jimmy Hoffa on the flight?

Excuse our sarcasm, but that's how ridiculous all the Vick frenzy ballooned into over a 24-hour span in western New York.

Until the news broke Thursday that Vick had inked with the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo media outlets were peppered with bogus reports from area citizens claiming to know someone who had seen Vick in the region, presumably to sign with the Bills.

To its credit, the Bills organization, also dealing with various Internet reports suggesting Vick could be Buffalo-bound, finally muzzled all the hullabaloo by issuing a statement insisting the team had no interest in the former Atlanta Falcons bad boy.

For now, in the eyes of management, Trent Edwards is the man in Buffalo -- the quarterback to lead the franchise to the promised land.

The reality? If the Bills are to finally reach the playoffs again, he'll have to be.

It would appear Edwards is taking strides toward that goal through two exhibition games. In 14 pass attempts thus far, he has yet to have a ball hit the ground. He is 13-for-14 for 133 yards, the only blemish being an interception tossed against the Tennessee Titans during the Hall of Fame game.

PERFECT SHEET

On the stats sheet, at least, Edwards was perfect in his second exhibition outing of the pre-season, going 10-for-10 for 79 yards in a 27-20 victory over the Chicago Bears at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Saturday.

But scrape away all these impressive numbers and you still find a disturbing wart.

In five pre-season drives, Edwards has yet to lead his team into the end zone, an ailment that has plagued him through his two-plus seasons in the NFL.

To be fair, only one of those featured his new pass-catching toy, Terrell Owens, the man who is second in career touchdown receptions behind the legendary Jerry Rice.

Owens, who sat out against the Bears with an ailing toe, could be back practising as early as today. Either way, once T.O. returns, there will be no excuses left for Edwards if he continues to struggle to put touchdowns on the board.

Edwards is an efficient quarterback, sometimes too much so. His decision-making often is too vanilla, too beige. Instead of going up top, he often settles for his check-down receiver out of the backfield.

The result: A 2008 season in which he threw 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Typical middle-of-the-road Trent Edwards stuff.

To add some sizzle, Buffalo has adopted a no-huddle offence, the type of game plan that led Jim Kelly's Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl berths in the early 1990s.

Kelly's offence was known as the K-Gun. Will the Edwards' offence be known as the Pop Gun?

Management hopes not. It expects more. And so does Edwards, who admits he is becoming more comfortable with the no huddle.

"We're getting lined up, we're getting in the right formation and in the right call, and that's putting a lot of pressure on the defence," Edwards said. "They can't run too much defensively because we're running the plays so fast.

"They have to get guys in and out of their huddle and they have to get guys off the field. There's a chance to hit them with big plays when they are substituting."

Edwards does miss one thing about the huddle.

"The joking around with the guys in there," he admitted.

No reason to fret. Should he regularly start leading the Bills to touchdowns once the regular season starts, there will be plenty of reason to laugh.


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