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  All Spotlights • J.P. Losman Player Page • BUF Projections • QB Projections • QB Rankings • BUF Team Report  
Spotlight - QB J.P. Losman, Buffalo Bills

Jason Wood's mug

Jason Wood's Thoughts

I can understand why J.P. Losman isn't being given much attention in redraft leagues this year. After all, this is his first season at the helm after being sidelined as a rookie with an injury. He takes over for Drew Bledsoe, who despite his years of experience only managed 3,000 yards and 20 TDs in this offense a year ago.

But if your league is like many of mine, nearly every starting NFL QB has "value" and will be drafted, so let's be sure we're not discounting Losman without fully assessing his strengths and weaknesses.

As we've already established, inexperience is his chief risk. He played well enough to warrant a first round grade coming out of college, but did so at Tulane with admittedly sub par offensive cast mates and against inferior competition. Last year, he had the season to digest the playbook but couldn't participate in practice for most of the year as he recovered.

The offensive line should be a strength, provided the team finds an adequate replacement for LT Jonas Jennings, who left for San Francisco in free agency. Currently, the team has veteran free agent Mike Gandy slotted at the spot. Gandy is part of an entirely new left side of the line along with LG Bennie Anderson. Another option, should Gandy falter, is moving center Trey Teague to LT allowing promising rookies Justin Geisinger or Duke Preston a shot at center.

Losman is not without offensive options...

...WRs Eric Moulds, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, Sam Aiken and Josh Reed form one of the deepest units in the AFC
...RB Willis McGahee should not only keep defenses "honest" but the coaching staff expects him to play a prominent role in the passing game as an outlet
...Losman is ultra-mobile and should be able to not only avoid the pass rush, but make plays by breaking containment from time to time

Positives

  • Losman has a cadre of weapons at receiver, most notably Moulds, Evans and rookie Roscoe Parrish
  • Willis McGahee should not only provide the team with offensive balance, but his presence should allow Losman to use play action with great efficiency
  • With the running game expected to flourish, and a top 5 defense, Losman won't be asked to win too many games on his own

Negatives

  • Losman is a first year starter and was limited a year ago due to injury, so growing pains are inevitable
  • The left side of the Bills line has been revamped, and any unexpected falloff would curtail Losman's upside
  • With the running game expected to flourish, and a top 5 defense, Losman won't be asked to win too many games on his own

Final Thoughts

When you clear the decks and look as Losman's situation, it doesn't look as grave as some are predicting. That said, you can't ignore two things. One, he is a 1st year starter and that's going to translate into inconsistent performance at best, struggles at worst. Two, the team quietly added veteran Kelly Holcomb as the backup. With the Bills defense and running game in place, don't think the Bills coaching staff will sit idly by and let Losman flounder completely. I'm sure they WANT him to play the full season, but they could have an itchy trigger finger if it looks like he's the reason they're not getting off to a strong start.


Marc Levin's mug

Marc Levin's Thoughts

I have to admit, before I started this player spotlight, I knew very little about QB J.P. Losman, but after reading up on him and scouring the news reports, I have developed a good feeling about him. Not a “he’s a guy I have to have” feeling, but maybe I won’t continue to rank him at or near the bottom of my QB rankings. I will say that he definitely holds much more value in a dynasty league than in a redraft league. It is simply hard to see a lot of steady fantasy production out of Losman in 2005.

First, he has to overcome inexperience. He threw a grand total of 5 passes as a rookie in 2004, but he now is the unquestioned starter heading into 2005. The team has, essentially, re-written the playbook to accommodate Losman’s skills – which include great mobility and a strong arm. Those are two skills last year’s starter, Drew Bledsoe, did not have. His success or failure will ultimately come down to decision-making – even though plays are being written for him, he still must execute them and read defenses. No amount of practice will give a barometer for how Losman will handle an NFL defense in game-time situations.

Second, for fantasy purposes, he must overcome a run-first philosophy on his team. Third, the Buffalo defense is strong – very strong – meaning low scoring affairs and games in which field position, and not the QB’s arm, will decide the day. That said, the run-first mentality and the strong defense were existent in Buffalo in 2004. The team ran off 6 straight victories before losing their final game, and the team averaged 38 points per game while doing so. Most of those games were Buffalo blowouts. Quite impressive.

However, the 2005 Buffalo schedule boasts some significantly more difficult pass defenses than the team faced during that run. The AFC East – at least the Patriots and the Jets – will again sport tough pass defenses. Also, Losman drew difficult assignments against Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Denver and Carolina. There are a few games that could become shootouts – Oakland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, New Orleans – but, overall, Buffalo drew a difficult pass defense schedule.

Finally, the offensive line, while a solid run blocking unit, has gone through some offseason change that has left the critical tackle positions unsettled. If Losman lacks the time to let the play develop, he is likely in for a long season. And if he gets injured or plays extremely poorly, backup QB Kelly Holcomb is a veteran with big play ability who could be called upon sooner rather than later if the team begins to lose games.

There are two major positives going for Losman. He has an excellent receiving corps with WRs Eric Moulds, Lee Evans, and Josh Reed. And, he would not be particularly costly in a fantasy draft. Footballguys currently has him ranked as the QB29 - he may even go undrafted. In all, if you hope for big things from Losman in 2005, there are a ton of factors working against him. He may shine in spots, but his best value is in dynasty leagues or in leagues where you may start two quarterbacks.

Positives

  • 1-2-3 receiver punch of Moulds, Evans, and Reed is one of the league’s best.
  • Excellent run game support means he will not have all the pressure young QBs often face.
  • The team is re-writing some of the offensive playbook to suit Losman’s style of play and he has reportedly been an astute and dedicated student.

Negatives

  • Inexperience, inexperience, inexperience.
  • Can the team wait for Losman to gain that experience or will they be forced to call on Holcomb before the season I sunk?
  • Last year’s 461 pass attempts v. 483 rushing attempts indicates a run-first team, and the strength of the Bills’ defense means that there could be very few games where Losman is called on to put up big numbers in order to win the game.
  • The Bills face a number of very strong pass defenses in the AFC East and against Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Denver, and Carolina.

Final Thoughts

Losman has very limited projected fantasy value, with just as limited potential upside. While Losman could break out this year, he is more likely to be stifled by some tough pass defenses and will often be hurried too much to make the right play. While his receiving corps is excellent, and he has great talent around him, this offense will need some time to gel under Losman, and his 2005 fantasy outlook is limited. If you normally carry three QBs, taking a chance on Losman late is not a bad idea. But, I truly believe his 2005 fantasy outlook is nowhere near as bright as his dynasty fantasy outlook.


Quotations from the Message Board Thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

Footballhead:
The Bills used to be in a division where the D was a strength, with Miami and possibly NE downgrading in that department; and with McGahee being the primary threat on this offense, I suspect JP will turn a few heads around

Pony Boy:
Losman walks into an ideal situation for a young QB. He has a team that can win with D - the #2 D overall last season, being equally as good against the run as they are against the pass, a decent running game sitting on the verge of being very good, and 2 very athletic talented WRs in Moulds & Evans.


J.P. Losman Projections

SOURCEPYDPTDINTRSHYDRSHTD
Jason Wood245015162501
Marc Levin314018193232
Message Board Consensus312520142081



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