Is Trent Edwards the QB of the Future

By E rock  |   Monday, July 27, 2009  |  Comments( 53 )

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The Buffalo Bills faithful fan base has been waiting for an effective signal caller ever since Jim Kelly’s tearful retirement in 1996. There is a faction of us Bills fans that hail Trent Edwards as this long sought after savior, the one that will lead the Bills out of the desert of mediocrity and ineptitude and into the promised land of NFL relevance. While the zeal of the Trent Edwards supporters is admirable, their convictions remain based on faith rather than cold hard fact.

Let us dive into Edwards numbers from the 2008 season. His supporters will most likely point to the following statistics as proof of Edwards’ legitimacy: his good 65.5% completion percentage placing him 6th in the NFL, his respectable 7.2 YPA placing him 11th in the NFL and his middling 85.4 QB rating placing him 17th in the league. But for those caught up in a Trent Edwards love fest here is a dirty little non-secret – the Bills were not good at passing offense or offense in general last year. Neither was Edwards. He was 23rd in the league with 193 yards per game. He was 27th in the league with 11 TDs tied with such studs as Marc Bulger and Seneca Wallace. Last time I checked gaining yards and throwing TDs are a fairly basic way of evaluating quarterback play. Edwards was also unspectacular in long passes, 18th in passes over 20 yards and 19th in passes over 40 yards showing his penchant for dumping it off instead of challenging the defense downfield.

As a team the Bills were also solidly in the bottom half of the league in offense. They were 25th in yards per game despite the rushing game being a respectable 14th in the league. So with teams forced to respect the run the Bills managed a measly 190 yards a game passing good for 22nd in the NFL. Scoring was equally mediocre at 21 point per game or 23rd in the league which includes the boost from 6 defensive and special teams touchdowns. Granted these totals include 3.5 games of JP Losman-ball but still this below average offensive performance was produced for the most part with Trent Edwards at the helm.

What does this all mean? Perhaps it means that while dumping it off on 3rd and long and shying away from down field throws will help your completion % and YPA but it won’t help your offense move the ball or score points.

2008 was also a tale of two seasons for Edwards. His drop in play after the 5-1 start is well documented by Bills fans. In the 12 full games Edwards played there were 6 “good” games and 6 “bad” games with the 6 good games being the first five wins of the season along with the one other anomaly against the hapless KC squad. While pumping all our hopes up in his 6 good games, Edwards threw for 244 yds/game, 7 TDs and turned it over 5 times. In the soul crushing 6 bad games to end the season Edwards threw for 184 yds/game, 3 TDs and turned it over 14 times. So here’s the problem – his bad games are truly abysmally bad while his good games are just, well, average. Who wants to hitch their wagon to a QB who at their very best is slinging 250 yds, 1 TD and 1 turnover a game?

The last black mark on Trent Edwards’ 2008 season was the competition or lack thereof. The Football Outsiders used the word “comical” to describe the bottom of the barrel passing defense faced by Edwards in 2008 and ranked it as the 3rd easiest schedule for a QB since 1995. Edwards faced teams that ranked 32nd, 31st, 29th and 28th in passing defense. Seven out of Edwards’ twelve full games were against teams ranked 20th or lower. The best defense faced was Oakland at 10th. In short, while most of us agree the Edwards was average to below average last year, not all of us recognize the ridiculously low degree of difficulty he was working with. If a guy is putting up B minuses in a class with kids that ride the short bus to school and eat paste, how do you expect him to do when he is thrown back into circulation with all the smart kids?

We can all cling to the rare feel good stories like Drew Brees where previously dismal QBs finally blossom in their 3rd or 4th years. For the most part, however, QBs tend to be who we thought they were by the time they get a full NFL season under the belt. Dan Marino was setting records by his second year, Ben Rothelisburger was winning super bowls, hell even Matt Ryan looked sharp as a rookie. For the Bills faithful it may be time to face the fact the Trent Edwards is a middling game manger that is timid with his throws, injury prone and not the future leader of a high powered offense.
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CommentsComments: 53  |  Sign Up  View all comments
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No.1
E rock
02:18 PM
07/27/2009
Before people start bashing me for taking a turn to negative town - This is one part of a dual article debating whether Edwards...
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No.2
02:28 PM
07/27/2009
E-rock---you forgot to mention that TE was no#1 overall in completing the dump off pass @ a 87% completion, plus he was 3rd in...
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No.3
Amir FaSaad
02:30 PM
07/27/2009
Great stats and research all culminated with this sentence: " For the Bills faithful it may be time to face the fact the Trent...
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