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Meetings Notebook: Bills looking to deal Losman
Meetings notebook: Bills looking to deal Losman
By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
March 29, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. – Teams in search of a quarterback on the trade market could be in line for yet another young talent in the coming weeks: J.P. Losman.
Two league sources indicated Tuesday that Losman hasn't gained the confidence of the Buffalo Bills' new regime. Both sources expect the team to put the former first-round pick on the trade block before the start of the 2006 season – if he isn't already there.
Bills general manager Marv Levy declared the quarterback position an open race last week after signing Craig Nall to a three-year contract, and it was widely believed the former Green Bay Packers reserve QB would compete with Losman for starting duties. But one personnel man familiar with the situation said he expects Levy to put out trade feelers for Losman in the coming weeks.
"I think it's going to be something that boils down to Nall as the No. 1 and (Kelly) Holcomb as the backup," he said. "If you went through the locker room and people were honest, (there would be) a lot of people who aren't sold on Losman as a leader."
When asked if Losman could still win the support of Levy and teammates in the coming weeks, the source painted the situation as "doubtful."
"The biggest advocates of (Losman as a starter) are gone, but he's still a guy who has trade value," he said. "If Nall ends up being the starter and Holcomb is a solid backup you can rely on, why would you have Losman sitting at the bottom (of the depth chart) when you can still get something out there for him?"
The advocates that were mentioned are ex-general manager Tom Donahoe and ex-head coach Mike Mularkey. Interestingly, Mularkey is now the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins – a team that is actively seeking a backup quarterback and exploring a possible trade for the Detroit Lions' Joey Harrington. However, the Dolphins also are looking for a veteran backup who has a generous amount of starting experience, and Losman doesn't seem to fit the profile.
If there is any inclination to move Losman, the Bills haven't shown it publicly – outside of bringing Nall in to vie for starting honors. New head coach Dick Jauron has been supportive and complimentary of Losman so far, and said Tuesday he's hoping Nall's acquisition will spur some healthy competition.
"(Losman has) had two years now to develop," Jauron said. "He had to play a lot last year. It was thrown on him early. It was a difficult situation to be in for a young guy. So he's got a real chance (to improve in his third year). He's got all that physical talent. He can run. He's got a strong arm. He's a smart guy. He's not afraid to work. He's got a lot of upside to him. We've got to give him a chance to get it out. Hopefully those other guys competing will force the hand a little bit and make them all better."
"(Nall) obviously doesn't have a lot of playing time. But when he's played he's performed well. He's been accurate with the football. He's a good decision maker. He's got experience. We're not teaching the guy how to play. All he has to do is transfer information. He should be able to step up and compete. He's got good size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds). I like his size – his height in the pocket. I like his demeanor. I like the way he handled himself in interviews. He's a very competitive guy. He believes he can be a starter and should be a starter."
OTHER MEETINGS CHATTER
Speaking of Buffalo, word in scouting circles is that the Bills are not targeting Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with the No. 8 selection in the draft. That's a surprise for those who thought he was a natural fit for Buffalo's pick (including yours truly). Apparently, Ngata doesn't fit Buffalo's plans in the Cover 2 defense. One scouting source indicated Tuesday that USC offensive tackle Winston Justice could be the Bills' true target in the first round.
Frank assessments of the top-three quarterback prospects have been scarce. All three – Texas' Vince Young, USC's Matt Leinart and Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler – have drawn praise and criticism at various points in the last two months, particularly Young and Cutler, but it's been rare to hear any on-the-record concerns about the trio from head coaches. Until Tuesday, that is.
Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick had interesting things to say about all three – a surprising development considering the Ravens have scheduled a personal workout with Young and could end up having Cutler still on the board at the 13th overall pick. At one point, Billick likened Cutler's evaluation to that of Kyle Boller – the big-armed Cal product who saw his stock jump during predraft evaluations, but has since struggled to take command of Baltimore's offense. Interestingly, the Boller comparison is one you hear often from Cutler's critics.
Billick's overall thoughts on the trio:
"You knew Leinart is a given in terms of the evaluation," he said. "Is he going to be a great NFL quarterback? He'll be a roll of the dice. It's a pretty good roll. You like what you see. I can't imagine why he wouldn't do well.
"Cutler is kind of like Kyle. There is some apprehension in some of the things around him. You admire him for doing things with less than a stellar cast around him. But are you giving him too much dispensation for things that didn't go well? You dismiss some of those losses (in college) by saying, 'It's just Vanderbilt. What a great kid – he overcame all of these things.'
"With Young, you knew we were going to beat him up (in evaluations). He was just too good to be true. The problem that I see personally is I don't know who you compare him to. I think that makes people uncomfortable. Leinart looks like a lot of good pocket quarterbacks. … Young is a different breed. He really doesn't fit into that (Michael) Vick category. He has the size, the accuracy and the throwing action. He's a spectacular talent but he doesn't look like anybody. So that tends to make us all nervous. He gets downgraded for that.
"What Leinart and Young have experienced (in college) is totally different than Cutler. That's why I would be concerned with Cutler. He's a good, young man who is intelligent, but he's not really been under the spotlight on a consistent basis. He might not know how this all works."
You have to wonder how long before the San Diego Chargers' situation gets explosive between coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager A.J. Smith. The two sniped at each other in the press shortly after the season ended – gripes that came to a conclusion when team president Dean Spanos had a meeting with the pair and essentially told them to shut their yaps.
But after listening to Schottenheimer, it seems like the fuse is still burning on the relationship.
"It was a helluva meeting," he said of the summit with Smith and Spanos.
Asked what he learned from it, Schottenheimer reiterated what Spanos told the media about San Diego's feuding coach and general manager: "Exactly what (Spanos) said – I don't pay these guys to like one another. I pay them to do their jobs and that's exactly what we're doing."
So has there been any change in the relationship?
"(Smith) has been on the road and I haven't had the occasion to see him except on a couple of occasions."
In other words – no. Which officially makes the Chargers the league's most interesting war room on draft day.
The Kansas City Chiefs' situation with Priest Holmes continues to look ominous.
Clearly, Holmes has seen his days as the Chiefs' dominant runner come to a close. Coach Herman Edwards has officially backed Larry Johnson as his centerpiece in the backfield, but he added that Holmes has been medically cleared to play in 2006. The interesting part of the whole affair? Edwards has no idea what Holmes' future with the team is – because he hasn't spoken to him since their first conversation when Edwards took the job in January.
"At that point, he anticipated coming back," Edwards said of Holmes. "I don't know where it stands at this point. I don't know him as well as other guys. He's kind of that way. We call him the ghost. He's kind of in and out. He kind of reminds me of Curtis Martin in that way. He's taking his time in figuring out what to do. There's no rush. There's no deadline when he has to make a decision, but it's his decision to make."
Asked what kind of role Holmes would have if he did return to the Chiefs, Edwards said he would be a good "change-of-pace" back.
"It would help him because he wouldn't have to carry the load like he has in the past. It's always hard to do, to try to play two running backs. That was the problem we kind of ran into (with the New York Jets) when we had LaMont (Jordan) and Curtis. Curtis was a guy that needed 22, 23 (carries) before he got going. And then you get the question they always ask is why you didn't get the guy in the game. You don't have enough plays. You try to work it out.
"What we started doing with LaMont, the third series, he's going in the game regardless of what happens. We haven't talked about it as a staff but if that comes about, that's what we'd have to do – make a decision that (Holmes is) going into the game in (a specific) part of the game.
One of the more interesting moments on Tuesday was hearing Miami's Nick Saban talk about wearing a University of Texas sweater at Vince Young's pro day last week. Saban didn't realize his former college team – LSU – was slated to play the Longhorns in the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight only three days later. When someone posted a photo of Saban in the Texas gear on the university's website, some of the Tiger alums didn't take it too well.
"There were a few a people in Louisiana that weren't very happy with me having a Texas sweatshirt on, but I just want to make it clear right now that I was cold," Saban said. "I was trying to get warm. I went (in short sleeves) and it wasn't quite as warm (in Austin) as it was in Miami. I should have had better anticipation.
"(I heard from) some LSU people – not directly to me, but through the grapevine. I predicted that, though. I told them when they gave it to me, 'I'll catch some hell in Louisiana.' I didn't know they were going to play in basketball at the time, either. I guess I didn't anticipate a lot of things."
Odds and ends: Saban said Daunte Culpepper officially started his on-field rehabilitation Monday, doing some straight-line running and simulated drops in the pocket. Saban said the Dolphins still haven't set a timetable for when Culpepper will be ready to go full-bore. … Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy downplayed the loss of Edgerrin James, noting "You always find the next person. I just think back to when Marshall (Faulk) left. I know it was the same thing in the city, 'How are we going to replace this guy?' " Added Dungy: "We found Edge and we'll find someone else. It may be a combination of guys. I don't know that just one guy can do all that."
Charles Robinson is the national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send him a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 12:33 pm ES
Re: Meetings Notebook: Bills looking to deal Losman
Interesting article. Thanks for posting it.
Re: Meetings Notebook: Bills looking to deal Losman
Ha. there gonna try and trade up to get leinart,Young,or Cutler.My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild
Re: Meetings Notebook: Bills looking to deal Losman
Good if they do they wont take Ngata