Vet on the hot seat: Trent Edwards

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Edwards Six games into last season, Trent Edwards was headed to the Pro Bowl. He'd guided the Buffalo Bills to a 5-1 record. Fans were thinking division title, especially with Tom Brady gone for the year. By the end of the season, however, Edwards was getting outplayed by Brady's backup.

This will be a critical year for the injury-prone Edwards. The Bills desperately want him to be their franchise quarterback and have surrounded him with enough weapons to make many of his peers envious.

Now it's time for him to prove he's the man to handle the job for the long term.

Edwards isn't the sure thing everybody thought he was evolving into early last season, but the stage is set for him to show what he can do.

While there are other hot-seat candidates in the AFC East -- New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney immediately comes to mind -- Edwards and the Bills form a prime example of a player and a team together at a crossroads.

After the Bills charged to that 5-1 start, they dropped five out of six games in which Edwards threw five touchdowns and eight interceptions, lost two fumbles and was sacked nine times.

The Bills boldly signed receiver Terrell Owens to give defensive backs someone other than Lee Evans to worry about. The Bills have two viable slot receivers in Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish. They signed Dominic Rhodes to round out a backfield that includes Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch and underrated backup Fred Jackson. The Bills drafted soft-handed tight end Shawn Nelson.

The Bills also are installing a no-huddle offense that will emphasize Edwards' best two traits: intelligence and passing accuracy.

The pressure will be on Edwards to make all the right calls and get the ball to his collection playmakers.

There aren't any more excuses.