The Buffalo Bills didn't sign former Williamsville South and UB quarterback Joe Licata after his rookie camp tryout, but he's going to get another NFL shot.
Licata is set to work out for the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, a source said late Saturday night. While 15 other quarterbacks were drafted and nine more signed with teams as undrafted free agents, Licata is still waiting for his opportunity. Buffalo, for now, seems content heading into camp with three quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel and Cardale Jones. Taylor is the starter, Manuel the entrenched back-up and Jones the project.
During the one practice of rookie camp open to reporters, Jones took virtually all competitive reps at QB with Licata standing by.
Possibly, Licata gets a more realistic chance at a 90-man roster and practice squad spot in Cincinnati where the Bengals currently have Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron as the clear 1-2 with Keith Wenning and Matt Johnson behind them. Wenning spent most of last season on Cincinnati's practice squad. In his four seasons with the Bulls, Licata threw for 9,485 yards with 76 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. Going into the draft, he knew other passers had stronger arms, better size and/or more mobility, but Licata was aiming to impress coaches with his football IQ through OTA's, minicamp and training camp.
Several times before the draft, Licata repeated that he just wanted "a fair chance."
“People get infatuated with arm strength but what makes the greats great is anticipation and accuracy,” Licata said then. “And I think that’s my greatest strength on the field. People want measurables. People want the 6-5 guy who can run a 4.6 and throw the ball through a wall. But there’s not a lot of guys who can think the game too.
“It’s about anticipating things and seeing things.
“There’s plenty of ways to play quarterback. It comes down to getting a fair chance and making the most of it.”
For Licata, the key is standing out at the white board as much as any throw on the field in Cincinnati.
"I think I can talk with the best of them," Licata said before the draft. "I live, breathe, everything is football. I love it. I love to sit in the meeting room and talk with those guys. I’m certain in my abilities. I know what I can do. I’ve never had a question about learning an offense and seeing the way things break down and knowing the answers to the test. That’s what playing quarterback is about. You get a study guide — which is the film — and then you go take the test on Sundays in the NFL. It’s ‘how well have you prepared?’ It’s like going to school again.”
Maybe Cincinnati, with Dalton as a mentor of sorts, is the right fit. Monday will be a crucial job interview for Licata.