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Press Coverage record reveals Bills QB concern

By Tim Graham

The Press Coverage blog obliterated a traffic record Monday.

I mention this not to brag, but because I find that fact revealing.

Buffalo Bills fans are fascinated by the backup quarterback situation, and they're not stupid. There's a reason why it's such a weighty issue for them.

Fans fear the backup QB role will matter this year. And so must the Bills because they stripped the job from Vince Young, who seemed to have it locked up a week earlier, and traded for Tarvaris Jackson days before preparations will commence for the regular-season opener.

Press Coverage analytics showed traffic picking up Sunday after Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan wrote the Bills were finalizing a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Jackson, and the momentum carried over to Monday.

Pageviews increased 68.9 percent over the previous record (when the Bills released Shawne Merriman) and 108.9 percent over the third-busiest day (Roger Goodell speaking at Chautauqua Institute and Sen. Charles Schumer's news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium).

Those numbers tell me something about the anxiety level of Bills fans.

Sure, Young remains a fascinating figure. His demise certainly sent national traffic to the Press Coverage blog. And fans always are interested in the new guy, especially when he's a quarterback. Buffalo News colleague Jay Skurski and I posted a bunch of updates Monday about the situation.

Nevertheless, they're backup quarterbacks. When fans are comfortable with their starting quarterback, retread reserves remain afterthoughts -- not web-traffic-record-breaking personalities.

There was a vocal faction of Bills fans who bombarded me with emails and tweets, predicting the week when Young would replace Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter.

The reasons rarely were because of injury. Many fans simply thought Young looked better than Fitzpatrick through the first two preseason games and were more confident with the idea of Young at the helm.

I disagreed, but the sentiment existed.

One bad performance later, the Bills dumped Young and traded for somebody else.

Interesting stuff, indeed. Thanks for visiting the Press Coverage blog.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |