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Buddy Nix comments indicate Bills ready for a rookie QB

By Tim Graham

Less than a month ago, Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone said this in a press release announcing the club had re-signed Tarvaris Jackson:

"I spoke with Ryan [Fitzpatrick] and Tarvaris and told them we will have an open competition at the quarterback position -- similar to what we will do at all positions on our team heading into our offseason work. I believe that our players will embrace this challenge. We are looking forward to working with our players as we prepare for the 2013 season."

On Friday, according to a recorded phone conversation posted on, Bills General Manager Buddy Nix had this to say about Fitzpatrick to Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik:

"We're still struggling here with our quarterback, you know, Fitzpatrick. I say struggling; we're not really struggling. He's going to have to do something, or we'll have to. You can't afford to pay that kind of money for a guy that's fighting for probably a backup job."

Those comments don't quite jibe.

Buffalo's head coach publicly states there will be an open competition at quarterback. The GM privately suggests Fitzpatrick will need to battle just to be the backup.

If Fitzpatrick already is viewed as a backup (or deleted from the roster), then it's logical to assume the Bills are ready to turn the team over to a quarterback not currently on the roster.

No way the Bills can be settled on Jackson as their future starter at this point. Jackson didn't dress for a game last year and ran the scout team in practice.

And given the shallow pool of free-agent quarterbacks, the Bills sound ready to let a rookie start for them.

Or at least that's what Nix would like another GM to believe.


2013 draft | 2013 free agency | Buddy Nix | Ryan Fitzpatrick | Tarvaris Jackson
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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 |