Any time you’re searching for a quarterback and call Matt Leinart, it’s a sign of extreme desperation. But that’s exactly where the Buffalo Bills find themselves.
With the Bills hopeful but uncertain whether rookie E.J. Manuel will be ready to start the regular-season opener following minor knee surgery, and backup Kevin Kolb going down with a concussion in Saturday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, the Bills are hitting the panic button at quarterback, calling both Leinart and John Beck for a tryout.
At the moment, the only healthy quarterback on Buffalo’s roster is Jeff Tuel. Tuel has actually played pretty well this preseason, but that’s judging him as an un-drafted rookie competing for a roster spot as the third string quarterback. If Tuel were to be a serious candidate to be a starter, the Bills would be in trouble, but that’s exactly where they are.
If Manuel and Kolb were both ruled out for the regular-season opener, which just happens to be against the New England Patriots, Tuel would likely be the starter, with someone like Leinart or Beck on the roster as the backup. It doesn’t get much worse than actually having someone like Leinart on the roster, even for a franchise whose recent history at quarterback includes Ryan Fitzpatrick and Vince Young.
At this point, the Bills might want to consider giving next year’s third-round draft pick to the New York Giants in exchange for Ryan Nassib. With Nassib’s familiarity with head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett from their days together with the Syracuse Orange, two weeks may be enough time to get Nassib ready for the start of the regular season if Manuel and Kolb remain on the sidelines.
Even if Manuel is back by the regular season, it may not be a bad idea to bring Nassib on board; he could end up giving Buffalo what Kirk Cousins gave the Redskins last season, and he could end up being a better backup than Kolb, Tuel or Leinart.
Even if it’s not Nassib, the Bill would be wise trying to trade for someone else’s backup rather sign someone like Leinart or Beck. With the injuries to Manuel and Kolb, Buffalo has no choice but to hit the panic button at the quarterback position, but calling Leinart reeks of desperation, and there has to be a better way for the Bills to find a viable quarterback before the regular season begins.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.