In this week's installment of Around the AFC East, Brian G. from Buffalo Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings, discusses the Lee Evans-Trent Edwards connection.
Premier wide receiver Lee Evans had a bit of a disappointing year in 2007. Considering his previous public support of J.P. Losman as the starter, do you think Evans and quarterback Trent Edwards will connect well enough for him to rebound this season? How will Evans be affected by the addition of rookie wide receiver James Hardy?
Buffalo Rumblings: First, to address the quarterback issue - there's been this belief among Bills fans that because Evans was supportive of the team starting Losman, there was bad blood between Evans and Edwards. That's just not the case. Evans and Losman came into the league together (both were first-round picks in 2004) and are friends, so why wouldn't Evans want the guy who had tossed him 82 balls the year before to start? Evans and Edwards are fine - in fact, in the month before training camp starts, the two plan to meet to work out together and work on timing and chemistry.
Evans' statistics were disappointing in 2007, but the only chance he has at a "rebound" year is if Edwards makes strides as the team's starter and he's not facing double coverage every play. Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish are very solid working out of the slot, but they did nothing to keep coverage off of Evans last season. Often times, Edwards had nowhere to go, so he'd dump the ball off to one of the team's mediocre tight ends or RB Fred Jackson. The man you mentioned - rookie WR James Hardy - holds the key to whether or not Evans puts up better numbers in '08. Time will tell, but Edwards seems on the up and up and Hardy is impossible to defend in the red zone. I'd place a bet on Evans having much better numbers, though I wouldn't go so far as to say he'd match his 2006 production.
My take: If Trent Edwards has the arm strength to take advantage of Evans' speed and the confidence to stretch the field - and doesn't succumb to the comfort of dumping it off - they'll most definitely be a duo to contend with. This is especially true if opposing teams begin to buy Hardy as a real threat and abandon the double-teaming of Evans.
Thanks to Brian G. and be sure to head over to Buffalo Rumblings to see my response to his PatsPulpit question.