Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman seems to be taking a what-have-I-got-to-lose? approach to Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Losman, who is replacing injured rookie Trent Edwards, said he was calm and confident about returning to the starting lineup this week.
"It seems like I'm more confident than ever and ready to go," Losman said after Wednesday's practice. "I'm just more comfortable, for some reason. I seem just more relaxed and kind of like, 'I've seen a lot here in the last, not just years, but last couple of weeks, the last couple of months.' And I'm prepared to handle any situation that is thrown at me."
The fact Losman does not appear to be worried about the long-term implications of his performance could be a good sign for the Bills this week. Losman was at his best the second half of last season when he took an unbridled, aggressive attitude onto the field.
Yet there's no doubt Losman can make things more complicated for Bills coach Dick Jauron this week.
Jauron last week declared Edwards the team's starting quarterback. The coach did not back off that statement when he was initially asked about it Wednesday. Yet Jauron did leave the door open for keeping Losman in the lineup beyond this week.
"Performance is always judged at every position every week, and then decisions are made," Jauron said. "And that's the way it will always be."
What if Losman lights up a Bengals defense that is ranked 31st in the NFL and also leads the Bills to a third straight victory?
If Losman is great, there will be at least a little more pressure on Jauron to keep Losman on the field, regardless of the fact the team has made it clear it would like Edwards to be its quarterback for the long term.
Receiver Lee Evans is the one veteran who has been outspoken in his support for Losman to regain the starting job. Evans is among a group of veterans who would like to see Losman play. Losman is a well-liked player in the locker room.
On the other hand, several players have acknowledged privately they think Edwards is worthy of the job because of the way he has moved the chains and kept the offense on the field.
For now, there does not seem to be a widespread division in the locker room like in the famed Doug Flutie-Rob Johnson controversy.
"I think a lot of players are behind either J.P. or Trent," said one veteran who asked not to be identified. "We just want to win. I also think along with that, a lot of those players also feel bad for J.P. that he lost his job."
"You feel bad for him, but it's a business," said receiver Josh Reed. "Those guys up there who are making the decisions may have felt like the decision they made was the best one. But it's always a good feeling knowing you have two good quarterbacks and whoever's number is called they can do the job."
"J.P. has to step in, and he's been down this road before," Reed said. "It's nothing he hasn't seen. He's going to take it as a challenge. He's fighting for a job. He's going to make sure he lays it all on the line."
Of course, if Losman plays great and the Bills win, it's a good problem for Jauron to face.
A win would get the Bills to 4-4 and a little closer to the playoff race. And it also probably would further boost Losman's trade value after the season.
"I see the opportunity in front of me personally," Losman said. "But our whole team right now is in a good situation to try to get a big win this week."
The Bengals' defense is allowing opposing passers to complete 66.2 percent of their passes and compile a passer rating of 100.6.
"Yeah, it is big," Evans said of Losman's chance. "It's certainly another opportunity for him to come out and prove himself and prove why he deserved to be where he was at the beginning of the season."
Does Losman see Sunday's game as a final opportunity to prove himself?
"Who knows?" he said. "A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about something completely different than now. The situation changes. I did tell you guys that we had a lot of football left. A lot can happen in the next couple of weeks. A lot can happen for the rest of the season. So you've just got to play it out and let the dust clear."
Losman said he is determined not to get caught up in the long-term implications of his play.
"What am I going to do to help our team win this game?" he said. "As simple as that sounds, that's the approach I have to take this week. And I can't think about anything else because it is a distraction. Our teammates don't want it. The quarterback doesn't want it. We just want to play and focus on exactly what we want to do."