Buffalo Bills embark on ‘Project 17′ in 2013
The Buffalo Bills thought they had the answer with “Project 2”, again with “Project 6”, all problems solved with “Project 9, 10, and 15” but they all failed. Will “Project 17” be the last? Only in time will we know. One wouldn’t think a professional football team would have to go through this. A pyramid of top GM’s, scouts, and coaches, but here they are – another group of adventurers to try to solve and put an end to this ongoing project. What is “PROJECT 17”? It’s simple…it’s the 17th year without a franchise quarterback.
17 seasons ago Jim Kelly hung up his cleats and his tenure as the Bills quarterback was over. 17 seasons later, in present day Buffalo, new coach Doug Marrone is trying to figure out who will be the starting quarterback come September. There have been 10 different quarterbacks to start for the Bills since the 1997 season…let’s take a look at all those failed projects.
1997- Todd Collins and Alex Van Pelt
1998-2001 Rob Johnson/ Doug Flutie/Alex Van Pelt
2002-2004 Drew Bledsoe
2005-2008 J.P. Losman/ Kelly Holcomb/ Trent Edwards
2009-2012 Trent Edwards/ Ryan Fitzpatrick/ Brian Brohm
So who are the projects that I mentioned earlier, it’s simple really. ” Project 2” was Rob Johnson, the Bills spent a lot of money on a backup for a then 38 year old Doug Flutie. “Project 6” of course is Drew Bledsoe, the Bills took a win now attitude and ended up winning now and then. “Project 9” who else but 1st round draft pick J.P. Losman, who got beat out by ”Project 10” Trent Edwards, who got beat out by “Project 15 and 16” Ryan Fitzpatrick. To sum up the first 16 projects: Big money spent, draft picks busted and traded away, and ZERO playoff wins.
What is Marrone’s plan for “Project 17”? How will he be the one to end this skid that unfortunately has almost become a tradition in Western N.Y.? So far Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson are throwing their helmets in the ring for a shot at the title. Many believe the draft will bring the next signal caller to Buffalo to end this drought. Can a rookie coach do it with a rookie quarterback…we will have to wait and see.
The years have gone by fast but the seasons have been long. No playoffs since 1999, no home playoff game since 1996, and no franchise quarterback since the great Jim Kelly. The winters are harsh in Buffalo and it seems to come earlier and earlier every year. If Coach Marrone wants to stay out of the cold in Buffalo, there better not be a “Project 18!”
Nathan “Boomer“ Smith is an NFL Division writer for TPF and can be contacted at BSmith@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com