Jackson in, Young out as backup QB carousel keeps spinning

Well, that was fun while it lasted. For a brief moment, the Bills had the first and third picks from the 2006 NFL draft on their roster.

For what it’s worth, one is a $100 million superstar and the other was a re-tread that Buddy Nix decided to take a chance on. I’ll let you take a guess which one just got released. On a side note, the 2006 Draft was the one in which the Bills took Donte Whitner at number eight ahead of such players as: Jay Cutler, Haloti Ngata, Chad Greenway, Kamerion Wimbley and Tamba Hali. Oh, the Bills also traded back into the first round for John McCargo that season. Isn’t this fun?

After acquiring Tavaris Jackson from Seattle for an undisclosed draft pick, the Bills chose to part ways with Vince Young after a relatively mediocre preseason from the former University of Texas star. While Young had a seemingly firm grasp on the backup quarterback job, he didn’t have a firm grasp on his place on the Bills roster.

Young enjoyed what was reported to be an adequate training camp and offseason, along with a strong performance against the Vikings in Buffalo’s second preseason game. However, he threw a pair of interceptions against the Steelers on Saturday and certainly didn’t look like he had a very good grasp of the offense.

Young’s lackluster performance against the Steelers looked to be the cherry on top of the sundae for him to be shipped out the door. Young looked lost in his few series against Washington in the first preseason game. Granted, he was playing with the threes and had to rely on his legs behind a patchwork line. However, it was more of the same happy feet and poor decision making on Saturday night. This time, his struggles came at the expense of the Bills and Steelers backups.

Signing Young in the spring time came as a decent reprieve from a pattern of late round prospects getting most of the looks from the Bills. Of course, Young was just above average under center this preseason, which expedited his departure.

Looking at the decision to release him, on the surface, is centered around his game on Saturday. The NFL is a reactionary league and one horrid outing all but black-lists a player for the immediate future. However, Young wasn’t as great as many said. He was good enough against Minnesota to prove he was more deserving than Tyler Thigpen, but that is about it.

Adding Jackson, while simply a lateral move, gives the Bills a bit more security as compared to Young. Neither were necessarily going to blow the doors off, as Young proved, but they are both more than solid backups.

I’ve never been a big fan of Jackson as a starting quarterback, but I’m sure there is a reason that the Bills determined him to be the best option moving forward. I would assume that because Jackson is a more polished passer as compared to Young, who is a more polished runner, makes him a slightly better fit.

Jackson is still highly mobile and can make plays with his feet. In that sense, he is very much the same as Young in a number of ways. However, he is not a dynamic running threat like Young is.  On the whole, you have two very good running quarterbacks with slightly above average passing arms and a varying ability to win games.

When I look at this decision, I see a choice that was made to be in a safer place than the team was a week ago. While Jackson is a very average QB, he is consistently average (leaning towards below average). Meanwhile, Young has the ability to win games and serve as an explosive talent. But his volatile style of play opens him up for truly horrendous games. Perhaps these two are relatively on par in terms of what they offer the Bills but Jackson’s results arrive in a slightly more conservative package.

The Bills say they want to win games and to ensure they’re making their team better. They didn’t get better by making this QB-for-QB swap, they took steps to not end up in a worse spot than where they began.

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