Gailey: QB Young has edge to win Bills backup job

Two completions – one deep and another a check-down – went a

long way in providing quarterback Vince Young the edge in the fight

to be the Buffalo Bills’ backup.

Without making any guarantees, coach Chan Gailey announced after

practice Monday that Young has performed well enough in two

preseason games to earn more playing time with the second team

offense heading into this weekend’s preseason game against

Pittsburgh.

”Oh yeah, he’s got the edge or I wouldn’t have given him more

reps,” Gailey said. ”He’s made more things happen, so you’ve got

to give him credit for that.”

Gailey’s announcement came after the Bills (No. 19 in the AP

Pro32) returned from a two-day break following a 36-14 preseason

loss at Minnesota on Friday. Despite the lopsided score, it was a

game in which Young showed how quickly he’s become comfortable with

Gailey’s offense since signing a one-year contract with the Bills

in mid-May.

Young has spent the offseason and training camp competing with

returning backup Tyler Thipgen for the No. 2 job. The loser of the

competition is expected to be cut because the third-string job is

going to receiver/wildcat specialist Brad Smith.

Young took a big step forward after going 8-for-14 for a

team-leading 123 yards passing and engineering a touchdown drive

against Minnesota.

The seventh-year player and two-time Pro Bowl selection opened

the second half by hitting T.J. Graham in stride for a 64-yard

completion. On the next play, Young was credited for changing the

call at the line, and dumping a short pass to halfback Dorin

Dickerson for a 14-yard gain that put Buffalo on the Vikings’

2-yard line.

Tashard Choice scored on a 1-yard run two plays later.

Thigpen, by comparison, hurt his chances by going 8 of 15 for 56

yards, and throwing an interception that was returned for a

touchdown with 3:18 left that put the game out of reach.

Gailey said the test now for Young is to see how he can handle

more responsibility and an expanded game plan.

”It’s definitely good news,” said Young, who has gone from

being the NFL’s 2006 offensive rookie of the year with Tennessee to

being on his third team in three years. ”It’s opportunity, man.

That’s all you can ask for.”

Gailey had even more to announce on an eventful day that began

with the Bills releasing veteran defensive end Shawne Merriman. The

coach said rookie second-round pick Cordy Glenn had won the

starting left tackle job.

Gailey made the decision in part because Chris Hairston will

continue starting at right tackle in place of Erik Pears, who

continues to be sidelined by a nagging groin/hernia injury.

Hairston was expected to compete with Glenn to start on the left

side.

Starting right defensive end Mark Anderson was held out of

practice Monday due to a groin injury that Gailey said has nagged

the player for the past three weeks. Gailey didn’t say how much

time Anderson is expected to miss.

Dickerson missed practice due to a thigh/hip injury, and it’s

uncertain whether the halfback will play against Pittsburgh on

Saturday.

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