Rookie QB Edwards Named Bills Starter

Wednesday, October 24th 2007, 9:24 am
By: News On 6

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ Two wins in three games earned Bills rookie quarterback Trent Edwards the starting job, and sent J.P. Losman to a familiar place _ the bench.

Coach Dick Jauron made the announcement on Tuesday in a two-paragraph statement issued by the team as the Bills (2-4) prepare to travel to play the New York Jets on Sunday.

``We are naming Trent Edwards as our starting quarterback,'' Jauron said, noting he had informed both Edwards and Losman of his decision.

The statement was a departure from what Jauron said last week, when he declined to name a full-time starter beyond giving Edwards one more start _ against Baltimore on Sunday _ because Losman had looked rusty since recovering from a sprained left knee.

Edwards delivered on the coach's faith, helping the Bills to a 19-14 victory. The win improved the third-round pick's record to 2-1 in three consecutive starts since Losman was hurt during the first series of Buffalo's 38-7 loss against New England in Week 3.

Jauron is expected to provide further details regarding his decision after the Bills return to practice Wednesday.

In three starts, Edwards has gone 56-for-80 for 563 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions. That's more than double the 251 yards passing Losman managed in his first two starts.

Edwards struggled against the Ravens, going 11-for-21 with 153 yards passing, and threw a near-costly interception deep in Bills territory that allowed Baltimore to cut Buffalo's lead to five points midway through the fourth quarter. But he still helped the offense produce a season-best 19 points against a Ravens defense that had allowed 10 in its previous two games combined.

Despite the offense's inconsistencies, the Bills have proven to be more productive with Edwards. Edwards has produced four of five touchdown drives, a season-best 304 yards offense in a 17-14 win over the Jets on Sept. 30, and helped the Bills win the time of possession battle in each of his three starts.

It's not the first time Losman, the second of Buffalo's two 2004 first-round draft picks, has lost his starting job.

He was benched twice in favor of journeyman Kelly Holcomb during the 2005 season, and he didn't regain the No. 1 job until winning a three-way competition during training camp last year.

Losman began this season as the starter after showing gradual signs of improvement in helping the Bills win five of their last nine games en route to a 7-9 finish last year.

Losman struggled in completing 30 of 47 pass attempts, with no touchdowns and an interception to open this season. The mobile quarterback was also sacked seven times as opposed to Edwards, who's been sacked only eight times.

Signed through 2008, Losman stands to take a significant financial hit should he remain the team's backup this season. He was hoping to use this season to solidify his job as the team's starter and use that as leverage to negotiate a lucrative long-term extension this offseason.

Should he remain the backup this season, Losman is in jeopardy of missing out on earning a bonus worth more than $3 million, which would kick in if he meets certain statistical criteria, such as starts and yards passing.