As bad as things are, as hopeless as the playoffs look, as discouraging as Tyrod Taylor's future appears, there should be no thought about having Cardale Jones start at quarterback for any of the Buffalo Bills' final four games.
Rex Ryan already has ruled it out as even a remote possibility, but that hasn't stopped it from being discussed by those outside of the team.
The prevailing theory is, when you have nothing to lose, why not see what the rookie can do?
Count me out of that reasoning.
Putting Jones behind center would accomplish nothing beyond satisfying those who no longer can stand the sight of Taylor doing his part to keep the Bills' passing game at the very bottom of the NFL.
Despite three-plus months of practice and meetings, Jones is every bit as raw as he was in training camp and the preseason. And he was exceptionally raw then. If you think what you've been watching for the last 12 games has been awful, things could, in fact, get worse with Jones behind center. Much worse.
Since the season began, the coaches have not been putting him through any sort of the clinical, fine-tuning work that he received through the offseason and the summer. Not that they did a ton of that, because their efforts were primarily devoted to preparing Taylor, who had the No. 1 job to himself after being a part of a three-way competition before the 2015 season.
In his capacity of taking scout-team reps to help prepare the Bills' defense for each opponent, Jones has run the opponents' plays. Sure, coaches and teammates can talk about liking the progress they have seen in the way he handles himself, but those judgements must be viewed in the context of a quarterback who had all of 11 career starts at Ohio State and still faces a massive NFL learning curve.
If the Bills do, in fact, part ways with Taylor after the season, how viable a candidate is Jones to replace him? At this point, not very. He is a long-term project that is unlikely to be ready to take over in 2017.
If/when the Bills determine that they're going to replace Taylor, they will likely have to do so with someone who has not on the roster at the moment.
There is something else to consider.
The Bills owe Taylor the full shot of 16 games to convince them whether they should pick up the option on his contract extension.
It could be easily argued that that ship has sailed, that Taylor's 12-game performance is enough to say there is no reason to believe he is worth any additional investment. Speculation has already begun the Bills have made the decision to move on from Taylor.
I would agree that his regression since showing some promise a year ago is troubling and it's hard to imagine him doing a whole lot in the next four weeks to paint a different picture.
Nevertheless, if, as Ryan has insisted, the decision on Taylor won't be made until after the season, then it's only fair to allow the entire season to play out.