|Bills QB Losman eager to prove he's arrived as NFL starter|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2007 11:55|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -From Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, to the media and to Buffalo Bills fans, quarterback J.P. Losman has heard from all kinds of people.|
They're all telling him how important it is to prove this season he belongs as an NFL starter.
And guess what? Losman shares their concerns.
``I think one of the best things I've said all year was, `It's going to be interesting to see how good I've gotten,''' Losman said. ``I've been working on some things. And I'm anxious to see if I can actually do these things now.''
It starts Sunday, when the Bills host Denver and Losman opens his third straight season as Buffalo's starter.
``Of course, I was saying the same thing last year, too,'' Losman added. ``So until it happens, these are the questions ... that I'm not going to answer any more because there's no point in answering them. It's time to show it.''
For Losman, the second of Buffalo's two 2004 first-round picks, it's been a down-then-up process, beginning with his second year when he quarterback was given the No. 1 job in February but was then benched twice during the season.
Last year was a season of marked improvement. The Tulane product won a three-way competition out of training camp and, after struggling to open the year, found his groove down the stretch.
Besides helping the Bills win five of their last nine games, Losman finally began showing signs that he has big-play potential.
Losman had 12 of his 19 touchdown passes over the final seven games, and produced two last-minute, come-from-behind victories. He finished 11th among NFL quarterbacks with an 84.9 passer rating, and ninth with a 62.5 completion percentage.
Yet, questions remain because Losman hasn't shown consistency over an entire season.
So the Bills continue waiting for someone to solidify the position that has gone through numerous changes - from Todd Collins to Rob Johnson, Doug Flutie to Drew Bledsoe, and even Alex Van Pelt for a spell - since Kelly retired after the 1996 season.
Today, even Kelly is hoping Losman delivers.
``This is his year to show whether he's going to be the quarterback of the future or a guy that's just going to be here and move on to another team,'' Kelly said. ``I hope he does well. He's a good kid.''
That much is obvious off the field when Losman has been embraced by the Buffalo community, in part because the Southern California native has made the city his year-round home. Losman has been active in community projects, including one last weekend that drew more than 1,000 people to a citywide cleanup he organized.
``I'm really happy with all the work we're doing, but the message we're sending is even more important,'' Losman said. ``Buffalo is a great, beautiful city. We all need to take pride in it.''
Losman would raise his stature more if he helps the Bills clean up their losing image after seven seasons without earning a playoff berth.
Another reason this season is critical is the contract status of Losman. After this season he has one year remaining on his contract and a strong performance could lead to a long-term deal next summer.
It is also clear Losman is suddenly being pushed by rookie Trent Edwards, the Bills third-round draft pick, who will be the team's backup after enjoying a solid preseason.
Unfazed, Losman understands there's only one thing in his control.
``Am I going to look back scratching my head, saying, `Damn, how come I couldn't do that?''' Losman said. ``Or am I going to look back and know that, whatever the outcome, I have that inner peace? And that's what I'm going for because then I'll know if I did my job.''
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