A View from Calico Jack’s – 11/15/2006

When I was in fifth and sixth grades, I was in my school’s chess club (because, as we all know, the football and chess players got all the chicks).

I was OK; probably mediocre. I didn’t really have the commitment or attention span to think through my moves so thoroughly, resulting in won/loss records along the lines of 6-4 or 5-5.

But, I held one distinction. Both years, deep into the season, I faced kids who were undefeated. And in both instances, I dealt those kids their only loss of the year. If I played them 10 times, I would have won…one time. Luckily for me, my one victory came in match number one.

Why the trip down memory lane? Because, for a little bit, I thought that the mediocre (at best) Bills might unexpectedly and inexplicably knock off arguably the best chess players in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts. And, believe me, JP Losman would have really gotten the chicks – they never quite materialized for me in fifth and sixth grade. Or ever since, but that’s another matter.

For the second week in a row, the Bills seemed to have lots of luck on their side. Yes, A-Train racked up more than 100 yards, but the Colts made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Fact is, the Bills could have been losing that game rather than having an opportunity to take a late fourth quarter lead. By that point, fate straightened itself out, and Lindell somehow missed a kick that he, yes, would make 9 times out of 10.

So, where does that leave us? Well, JP isn’t getting any more popular, and going 9 out of 12 for 83 yards isn’t going to change a lot of minds. Adding to the perception problem, Rivers is lighting things up in San Diego, Manning the younger is guiding the Giants toward a playoff run, Big Ben has already won a Super Bowl…and JP is still trying to work things out.

Any potential running back controversy aside (which, in my mind, shouldn’t exist: Willis is the starter when healthy, until he leaves the team as a free agent), my gut tells me that the rest of the season will now become a referendum on next year, and what the Bills will/should do. Prominent in that discussion will be whether JP should indeed earn another opportunity to lead this team.

My feeling is that he’s not actually as bad as he looks. He’s had some decent games and some bad ones. The line has often betrayed him. The fact is, this is his first full season as starter (should have been his second, in my opinion). Unless the Bills attract a great free agent QB – which they won’t – or lose the rest of the game – which they won’t – and get a very-top draft pick that lets them take Brady Quinn, I think JP is the guy again next year.

If they do lose the rest of their games, the team would finish a rather pathetic 3-13.

Same record as that Manning guy on the Colts had in his first year. Wonder how he’ll turn out?