Bills coach Wade Phillips surprised virtually nobody Monday when he announced Doug Flutie will be his starting quarterback.
Phillips since the beginning of training camp refused to officially name a starter and had both Flutie and Rob Johnson listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the team's depth chart.
Most people assumed it would be Flutie, who helped turn the Bills' season around last year and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. Phillips said Johnson would play if the Bills have a big lead and the result is no longer in doubt.
"I'm not jerking the quarterbacks around. I've never done that, and I never will do that," Phillips said. "If a guy has a bad series or something like that, it's not that he's not the quarterback. Doug is going to play. If I get the opportunity to play Rob, then I'll play him."
Flutie started 11 games (including the playoffs) after Johnson was sidelined with a concussion and bruised ribs in separate injuries last season. The two were given roughly the same amount of playing time during the preseason and practice.
Flutie started three of the four preseason games and threw two touchdown passes and one interception. Johnson threw for one TD and two interceptions.
"Both of them were competing," Phillips said. "I thought it was good for us to have both quarterbacks ready and for the team to feel like, which they do, that we can win with either of them."
Flutie completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,711 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 10 regular-season starts last season. He was sacked 12 times. He was rewarded with a new four-year, $22 million contract.
Johnson started the other six games, completing 62 percent of his passes for 910 yards, eight TDs and six interceptions. He was sacked 30 times. He is in the second year of a five-year, $25 million contract.
Right guard Joe Panos was scheduled to undergo more examinations for a bulging disk in his neck after the Bills held an afternoon workout today.
Panos missed the preseason finale Saturday against Pittsburgh but was hoping an epidural would relieve pressure on a nerve that was causing problems in his right arm and shoulder.
He was expected to participate in the Bills' non-contact workout as they get prepared for Indianapolis on Sunday.
"He feels better," Phillips said. "We'll let the doctors analyze all those things, but they felt like that he was going to be able to play."
The Bills spent part of Monday calling the agents for players who will be named to their five-man practice squad.
Three of the players were announced today. They are: fullback Brian Edwards, running back Lennox Gordon and wide receiver Jeremy McDaniel.
Edwards had three carries for 9 yards and Gordon had seven carries for 23 yards in the preseason. McDaniel had eight catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.