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Time for Bills to start scouting their next quarterback

Get ready for a collection of explanations why the Bills slogged through all of August and the start of September without a respectable offense. The explanations will arrive like this: "It's just the preseason -- T.O. was hurt -- we had to find out about our new players -- we'll be all right in the regular season."

The facts are that this team lost eight of its last 10 games a year ago and did not score a touchdown in three of the last five. In the last three sorry exhibitions when the regulars were on the field it did not score a touchdown. Do you detect a pattern? That unhappy fact is unlikely to be altered by a change of offensive coordinators.

In the last few years the organization has been deluding itself about a lot of things and now we seem to have the biggest delusion of all: That the Bills can win with Trent Edwards as their quarterback. In fact the Bills do not have a viable quarterback at all.

Did anyone find it curious that Edwards did not play at all in the final exhibition against Detroit at the Ralph? Considering his futility in the previous two games wouldn't it seem obvious that he could at least use a couple of live series to pull himself together? Instead it seemed that the coaches wanted to keep him out of sight.

I have a suggestion for the organization. College football broke out this weekend. It is the year of the quarterback. There are at least three, maybe as many as five, who will be persons of intense interest at draft time 2010.

The best known finished 1-2-3 in voting for the 2008 Heisman Trophy. The Bills' deep thinkers, no matter who they turn out to be, should be getting ready right now to identify the quarterback who might eventually lead them out of the football graveyard in which they have been wandering for the last decade.

Here's the lineup:

*Sam Bradford, Oklahoma. He has the size, should have the experience and definitely has the arm. Question to be resolved: Was it him or the system and supporting cast? The Sooners lost most of last year's offensive line and top receivers so the hope for more team success is pinned to Bradford.

*Colt McCoy, Texas. The favorite for the 2009 Heisman has a strong supporting cast and the drive to win the national championship and a trophy many thought should have been his in 2008. Question to be resolved: Would he be like too many Longhorn stars -- and Notre Damers -- who come into the pros and find the NFL an anticlimax after the huge deal of playing for their legendary college teams?

*Tim Tebow, Florida. He was the 2007 Heisman winner and drew the most first-place votes a year ago yet finished third. He's the reason the Gators are favored to win the 2009 national championship. A great leader of sterling character, he has the size, intelligence, strength and admiration of his teammates to pull it off. Question to be resolved: Does he have enough arm to be a starting quarterback in the NFL? Since last season he's been under special tutelage to improve his delivery of the football.

*Jevon Snead, Mississippi. Transferred from Florida when Tebow stood in his way. Improved dramatically at midseason last year when he stopped trying to force the ball. Question to be resolved: Ole Miss has the stuff to challenge the SEC's best. Is Snead up to it? His pro future may depend upon it.

*Jimmy Clauson, Notre Dame. He's a junior and may not turn pro until 2010. Question to be resolved: Is he as polished as he looked in his 400-yard Hula Bowl performance or is he more a product of Charlie Weis' offensive direction than a future star?

The Bills should start compiling page one of their draft book today.

Larry Felser, former News columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.

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