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Three most important players on the Buffalo Bills defense in 2011

Disclaimer:  First I took a look at the offensive side of the ball and now I’m ranking the order of importance to the Bills’ defense in order to make them a very good or great defense, not necessarily who the best player is.  On that note, let the debate begin.

 

3.  Kyle Williams: On a defense that ranked last against the run and 23rd overall Kyle Williams was by far and away the most consistent and best player on the field for the Bills. Williams was fifth on the team and tackles and sadly led the team with 5.5 sacks.  For an interior defensive linemen that is more credit to Williams.  Pro Football focus named Kyle Williamsthe defensive player of the year in 2010 and Williams continued play and development is going to be crucial for the Bills in 2011.

Not to minimize his importance for the team, but for the Bills to drastically improve on defense it needs to come from other sources not named Kyle Williams.  Williams’ effort and consistency should be a given and he will provide stability in the middle of the defense.  Williams needs to get more help from the rest of his front seven counterparts if the Bills intend to compete in a loaded AFC East. 
 

 2.  Marcell Dareus: The difference between 1 and 2 is so minute for me, but to maintain the integrity of the list I went with Dareus only because of his youth and inexperience that their reliance on him will be slightly less. I have Dareus rated above Williams because the need to have him improve the league’s worst ranked rush defense cannot be overstated.  Dareus lined up next to Williams will hopefully force opponents to commit at least three blockers to the tandem and free up space for the linebackers.  His ability to control the point of attack and penetrate gaps are essential for this team’s success.   

Dareus’ versatility to play multiple positions along the defensive line when the Bills play a three or four-man front will go a long way in improving the defense.  If Dareus is able to take some of the focus off of Kyle Williams and force teams to be honest in their gap assignments then the defensive line will go from a point of weakness on this team to possibly one of its strengths.   You hate to place so much importance on a rookie, especially in a lockout shortened off-season, but Dareus was a top 3 selection for the purpose of coming in immediately and making an impact.  How big that impact is and its importance cannot be underestimated. 

 

1.  Shawne Merriman:  The only thing worse than putting so much importance on a rookie is displacing it to an oft-injured former superstar, right?  The Bills were tied for the fourth fewest sacks in the league in 2010 and were led by the aforementioned Kyle Williams (5.5 sacks).  In a 3-4 defense the interior linemen should not have that distinction.  Merriman has 43.5 career sacks in 60 games and posted double digit sack totals in 2005-2007 with a career high 17 sacks in 2006.  Injuries have crippled his production in most of the past three seasons and his ability to rehab from the injury sustained on his first practice day as a Buffalo Bill is the most important development for the Buffalo Bills.  Even if Arthur Moats continues his progression as a playmaker on the outside, there is no denying that a great defense needs multiple playermakers. 

Merriman has the potential to resurrect his career at only 27 years old and entering what is normally considered your prime playing years he should be motivated to capitalize on these two years in Buffalo for a lucrative final contract.  A lack of a consistent pass rush has hurt the Bills for the better part of the last decade and improving upon that should have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the Buffalo Bills defense. 

 So, who is the most important component of the Bills defense?  Williams, Dareus or Merriman?  Or someone else?  For the Bills to be successful, they really need all three of these positions to consistently produce in 2011.

Twitter: @brianbund

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Three most important Buffalo Bills offensive players

The Buffalo Bills showed a lot of promise on offense last year and because of that progression the team was able to focus their efforts on defense in the 2011 draft.  Still, the Bills ranked 25th in total offense and 28th in points per game (17.7).  The continued evolution of the Bills’ offense under Chan Gailey is going to be one of the more important and fun questions to watch develop this season.  Let’s take a look at the three most important pieces to that progress:

 

3. I’m going a different direction to start here by not singling out one player, but instead, a position.  Whoever ends up being the starting right tackle for the Buffalo Bills this year is going to have a huge part in their success.  When I look around the entire offense there really aren’t that many positions that leave you completely worried.  The skill positions are actually very strong and even though Fitzpatrick’s performance is a big part of the equation, we basically saw last season what the team should expect to get out of him.  The right tackle position is a total question mark amongst an offensive line that I’m becoming more and more comfortable with.

Would you like to see a stronger Demetrius Bell or upgrade at that position? Absolutely.  Would you like the right guard position solidified moving into the season?  Who wouldn’t? The point is that Bell showed some significant signs of progress in 2010 and with increased weight training should make another leap in the 2011 season. The Bills need to try and solidify the right tackle position in a big way from both a passing and ground attack position. As Bell continues to improve teams will study tape and develop games plans to attack the right side.  If Chris Hairston or Erik Pears or Mansfield Wrotto can become at least an adequate right tackle the Bills will have a relatively balanced offensive lineup. 

A balanced lineup doesn’t mean they are explosive or that there is not room for potential upgrades.  What it does mean is if you can minimize your glaring weaknesses that it makes it more difficult for opposing teams to game plan.  That in turn should allow Ryan Fitzpatrick to have more versatility when handling the offense and thus improve his play. If the Bills can have this offensive line group improve on last year’s performance and continue to grow, it will play a huge role in this team’s success in 2011.

 

2. The same case as above could be made for Eric Wood.  As Buffalo Rumbling’s points out that the offensive line’s identity starts and ends with the center.  Wood has dealt with some injury issues since entering the league in 2009.  Last season, Wood made the switch to his more natural center position and it is widely assumed he’ll have those duties for the entire 2011 season.  In a division of 3-4 defenses the center position plays an integral part to an offense’s success.  Facing opponents like Vince Wilfork, it is primarily the center’s obligation to try and handle that match-up.  If the center is unable to win that battle and a guard is called upon to double team the nose tackle it plays immediately into the defensive coordinator’s hands.

Wood had his struggles during the 2010 season against Jacksonville and Baltimore, but also excelled at times in those games and throughout the season.  A full offseason and film study at the center position should allow Wood to continue to improve and at just 25 definitely still has room to grow.  Whether or not Wood can progress into a stud center remains to be seen, but his development at the position over the next 3-4 years is going to be crucial for the Bills development and that starts in 2011.

1. The most popular answer to this question is going to be Ryan Fitzpatrick.  After a 3,000 yard, 23 TD season in 14 starts fans are eager to see how Fitzpatrick handles the play calling responsibilities for a full year.  Fitzpatrick’s play was a catalyst for the team’s improved play in the second half of the season and will remain the driving force behind their offensive success in 2011.

 

The NFL is a quarterback’s league and having quality play come from the game’s most important position is one of the main driving forces for success.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is and will continue to remain the most important offensive player for the Bills in the 2011 season.  Can he improve upon his 58% completion percentage?  Can he minimize the untimely interception (See Baltimore game)? Can he continue to spread the ball around effectively and utilize all the weapons the Bills have?  If Fitzpatrick is able to do these things throughout the entire 2011 season the Bills are going to be in a much better position to succeed.  Ryan Fitzpatrick’s success will dictate the level of success the Bills have as a whole.

 

Who do you think the most important player on the Bills offense?

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A poor man’s look at the state of the Bills roster

With the NFL Draft less than a week I thought I would take a look at the Bills position by position and try to sum up where they are and hopefully how that will impact them in 2011.  With the current labor situation it is unknown as to what level free agency will play in addressing these needs which would typically help more in the short-term than developing a younger player.  Looking at this current state of the Bills I don’t think they are as far away as some from being a legitimate playoff team, however competing for a Super Bowl there are lacking the game changing talents.  Here is a look at the state of the Bills roster:

Offense

Quarterback

 Most Bills fans were happy with the Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment  and after the first two games for Trent Edwards it was imperative the team needed to head a different direction.  Fitzpatrick played for most of the remaining 14 games on the schedule after Edwards’ release and threw for 3,000 yards, 23 TD and 15 INT.  Over the course of a full season those numbers would have been roughly 3,400 yards, 26TDs and 16 INTs.  Fitzpatrick was also just 14 yards away from being the second leading rusher on the team with 269 yards.  The Bills had the 24th ranked passing attack in terms of passing yards.

With everything that went right about this experiment and solidifying the position to at least a capable level, many fans and analysts wonder if Fitzpatrick can be a quarterback who elevates his team to a playoff caliber team.  I’m off the belief that he is capable of helping lead the Bills to the playoffs, but not capable of propelling them to a championship unless the rest of the talent on the team is upgraded tremendously.  He completed only 58% of his passes and made some timely poor decisions that exhibit his limited physical talents, but over the long haul Fitzpatrick is a guy you want on your team and can hopefully serve as the starter for the next year or two and then is willing to relinquish the role to a younger guy and stay on as a backup for almost as long as he is willing. 

Brian Brohm is a restricted free agent this year and Levi Brown is still under contract.  The Bills could look to bring in someone to remove Brohm and hopefully upgrade the backup position.  If they draft a young quarterback then that will potentially fill that spot as well.

That being said the Bills are going to address this position at some point through the draft albeit this year or next, but if Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are available the Bills will have a lot of gut checking to do in determining whether either is a franchise quarterback.  My gut says Newton is gone and that the Bills pass on Gabbert to improve the defense.  Depending who’s available early in round 2 they could address this, but I think the Bills live with Fitz 1 more season before properly addressing the position.  If Newton is available it becomes a 50/50 proposition in my opinion. 

Running Back

 The Bills ranked 18th in rushing last year and after finally trading Marshawn Lynch, the Bills gave the overwhelming percentage of carries to Fred Jackson (61%) for 927 yards.  He added 31 catches out of the backfield for 215 yards and combined for 7TDs.  CJ Spiller was never fully incorporated into the offense averaging 3.8 yards/rush and adding 24 catches.  The labor situation hurts players like Spiller who would have had an opportunity to get into their first full offseason working with coaches on the playbook and technique.  I expect Spiller to be a much better contributor to the team in 2012 with Fred Jackson still carrying the bulk of the work. The depth chart also lists Quinton Ganther and Jehuu Caulcrick where the Bills could look to add another runner in the late rounds or undrafted FA if the current labor situations clears up how those will be handled.

Wide Reciever

 The 2010 receiving core was one of the brightest spots for the Bills with the emergence of Stevie Johnson and play of undrafted free agents David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt.  Additionally, Roscoe Parrish before his injury provided the Bills with a slot presence and emerged into a role that both he and fans were hoping.  Lee Evans had a statistically down year and injuries sidelined him to end the year, but with him and Stevie Johnson the Bills appear to have a legitimate 1-2 punch at the position.  With the addition of Nelson, Parrish and others the Bills depth at this position appears strong for the future and should not be a point of emphasis , although as last year’s CJ Spiller pick demonstrated anything is possible. Roscoe Parrish and Stevie Johnson both have contracts that are expiring in 2012 and you would have to imagine that with emergence of Donald Jones the Bills may let Parrish walk while working out a deal to sign Johnson.

Tight End – The current depth chart the Bills have listed is David Martin, Jonathan Stupar, Scott Chandler and Mike Caussin.  The Bills have lacked a pass catching tight end this century and in a league filled with players at this position asked to do virtually everything the Bills will be well served to finally nail a pick for this position after several have not panned out.  The position combined for 23 caught balls in 2010 and 187 yards.  For perspective the Patriots two-head monster of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combined for 87 catches and over 1100 yards. This is a position of need for the Bills any way you slice it. 

Many mock drafts having the Bills selecting Lance Kendricks in the 3rd round out of Wisconsin, but many Bills fans would like to see them select Kyle Rudolph out of Notre Dame if he’s still available in round 2.

Offensive Line

 Demetrius Bell made significant strides at LT for the Bills in 2010 and will hopefully continue his progress in 2011 along with the continued development of interior linemen Andy Levitre and Eric Wood.  Many people believe that Wood will slide to his more natural position of center and  mid-season addition Kraig Urbik could provide the Bills with an interior line that would be young and have several seasons under their belt.  The improved play of this unit could ultimately determine the Bills success in 2011 with improved run blocking and providing Ryan Fitzpatrick with the appropriate time to attack teams downfield.   At RT right now it would appear that Mansfield Wrotto would be slotted to start, but If the Bills choose to address this position in round 2 they would hopefully get someone who could step in and compete for that spot. 

The Bills appear to have a solid group coming together on the line, but no true dominant player at any of the positions.  The starting five appears to be somewhat set, especially given the current labor situation.  The Bills need depth across the line given the slate of injuries that 2010 brought and if possible could be well served to address any potential upgrades at any position, most notably along the right side.

Defense

Defensive line

Kyle Williams is fresh off his Pro Bowl appearance and was arguably the Bills best player.  Many questioned his ability to play in the middle of the 3-4 and he answered most of those questions.  Williams had 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss while finishing fifth on the team with 77 tackles. Dwan Edwards was a solid contributor at the end spot and should be the opening day starter again for the Bills.  With the release of Marcus Stroud the Bills appear to be going in a different direction with either second year man Alex Carrington or possibly Spencer Johnson.  Additionally, second year NT Torell Troup will be looking for even more time this year and with the Bills employing multiple fronts.  All of these players should see significant playing time.

Many analysts look at the Bills defensive line as their biggest priority.  Having allowed the most yards in the league hardly nullifies this opinion, but it is hard for me to believe that Buddy Nix and company are going to take a defensive line player just for the sake of it.  The team drafted one in each the second and third round in 2010.  If they see a player they truly believe is a game changer they are going to take that person regardless of position. 

Line Backer

If, and they say they will, the Bills continue to use a 3-4 front they need to get substantially more production from the line backing group.  Consisting mostly of some combination of Paul Pozluszny, Reggie Torbor, Andra Davis, Keith Ellison, Akin Ayodele and Chris Kelsay along with late season bloomer Arthur ‘don’t cross the’ Moats the unit as a whole lacked any big play potential.  Ayodele and Ellison are likely to leave or added back for depth.  Many believe that Pozluszny coming back is more of a formality and given the state of the group it would be important to bring him back.  Pozluszny is not the game changing Ray Lewis/Patrick Willis type middle linebacker but he’s a responsible player that at this point the unit needs desparately.

The in season trade of Shawne Merriman remains the extreme variable for this team.  At his height, Merriman was one of the most feared and punishing players in the NFL and at only 26 years old the Bills hope that he can heal from several seasons of injuries and regain even a high fraction of his old self.  The contract extension to Chris Kelsay still remains to be seen how it plays out, but last season in the 3-4 Kelsay appeared lost in coverage assignments or incapable of executing them.  The contract extension and re-signing Merriman tied up a decent amount of money to the outside players and along with Moats it would appear that the Bills have limited options to upgrade unless they do it with the third pick. 

At this point many of the draft analyst (both professional and amateur) believe the Bills will take Von Miller out of Texas A&M as an attempt to upgrade their edge pass rush.  Miller played in the Senior Bowl with Chan Gailey and was a consensus winner out of the week he spent there.  In addition, unlike many of the top draft prospects (Newton, Fairly, Bowers, etc) Miller was able to put together 17 and 11 sack seasons playing in the Big 12.  People constantly point to his explosiveness off the edge which should allow the Bills to generate some pass rush while most still point to his ability to drop into coverage as an additional strength.  The main concern for Bills fans appears to be the size he possesses at 6’3” 243lbs which he should be able to add onto.  In my honest opinion the Bills draft choice at #3 comes down to Dareus, Newton or Miller for the Bills.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) for the Bills the two teams in front of them may have made up their mind for them.

As much time as was spent on the outside linebacker position the Bills will most likely utilize the Pozluszny and Davis combination heading into the 2011 season, but will probably take a 2nd to 5th round pick on another linebacker that can hopefully play in the middle of that group.  If the Bills can find and use outside playmakers in their 3-4 front than players like Pozluszny should flourish.

Secondary

 It appears, but is not final that Donte Whitner will most likely not be back with the Buffalo Bills in 2011.  The Bills re-signed George Wilson to a 3-year extension that along with Jairus Byrd should solidify the Bills starting safeties. Bryan Scott provides depth at the SS position, but the Bills will most likely need to add someone through free agency to help back up Byrd although If needed Wilson can play both positions.  The Bills only had 11 INTs four came from safeties, five from corners and two from linebackers.   If the Bills are to improve on defense in 2011 they need to generate more turnovers in the passing game.  Some of this can be attributed to the lack of pass rush (27 total sacks) and last ranked run defense that put additional pressure on the secondary in certain situations, however as a unit they need to improve on that total regardless of what happens in front of them. 

Corner should be an interesting position to watch for the Bills this offseason in the draft and into the season.  Drayton Florence provided the Bills with an up and down campaign with 3 INTs including one returned for a touchdown.  However, his and Leodis McKelvin’s inability to consistently match up with opposing wide receivers cost the Bills.  Much like the Bills offensive line where there are some respectable pieces this group lacks a star quality player despite having two first round picks (Terrence McGee and McKelvin) that can shut down opposing teams top threat and make game changing plays on a routine basis.  I mentioned above that I felt like the Bills are in a three-man race for their third pick, however not knowing how they actually evaluate the talent the wild card in this case is Patrick Peterson.  Many believe he is the single greatest talent in this draft and that it is team needs at the top that is driving down his draft position.  Peterson only had seven career INTs at LSU but most of this is attributed to the fact that opposing teams refused to throw the ball his way and at 6’2” and 219lbs he is a big, big corner that still ran a 4.34- 40 .  He’s a talent that may be too tough to pass on, especially If the players the Bills really wanted go 1-2.

Summation:  The Bills have a lot of high quality role players, but in many of the key positions lack that big play talent that can change the course of the game on any snap.  The Bills need to nail the 3rd pick and find a game changing talent regardless of the position.  If, IF the Bills stay at the third selection I think they will take one of four plays mentioned before, but there is a growing hope among fans that the Bills may be able to move down between 5-11 in the draft and still potentially obtain one of these types of talents as well as build depth across this year’s draft.  The biggest problem with trading down this year is the inability to include players so teams trying to make a big jump to #3 may need to forfeit future draft picks which may not be the worst thing for the Bills to still get a very good player in the top ten as well as an additional 1st round pick in 2012.

I will follow up with several scenarios I think could play out for the Bills to include two options that I’m most hoping for.

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Delayed Reactions

Alright I apologize for the hiatus, but the last 5 days have been a whirl, a great one at that.  Although yesterday’s game was far from what I was hoping for as a cap of the weekend.  The Bills are not good, they may not even be that close to being a good team and in my opinion it starts with their coach and here are my thoughts on the game:

 

Ever since the word of extension for Dick Jauron came out this team has been beyond sloppy.  Terrible clock management, bad penalties, turning the ball over and changing how they call plays.  Not to mention Dick Jauron’s “even temperament” is fucking annoying to me and no one on this team ever has any emotion on the sideline and barely does in the game.  I hope the 49ers don’t want Singletary, because I’ll take him right now.

 

3 trips to the red zone and another drive that started on SF 25 and we got 3 points?  Ridiculous.  Rian Lindell is Monday’s bum, but we should’ve been better than that against the 3rd worst scoring defense.

 

Above mentioned drive that started on the SF 25 was a 3 and out and we didn’t give the ball to our best player.

 

How in the world does Marshawn Lynch only end up with 16 carries?  Seriously, someone try to put a legitimate answer together on that one.  He was an absolute beast and we give him the ball 16 times. I don’t get it.

 

If I read one thing about JP Losman, I’m going to throw up. Yeah he played alright, but we all know he’s out at the end of the year.  Trent Edwards is making silly stupid mistakes a lot like Eli Manning did in his first couple years, problem is the Bills are way worse than those Giants teams.

 

Rian Lindell should not be a Bill next year, I’m sorry.  He has not made one clutch kick in his career in Buffalo outside that Washington kick and a handful of big misses.  Spend that money elsewhere.

 

Even more out the door is Roscoe Parrish.  For the second time this year he inexcusably fields a punt on the 1.  The 1!!!!!!!!!  What the fuck are they teaching at Miami?  Not to mentioned he blew that touchdown. I don’t care what Tony Boselli says, Roscoe should catch that.  Yes, he’s a good punt returner, but this team needs a receiver first and a returner like 20th.  Not to mention Leodis and Freddy can do a more than sufficient job back there.

 

Ryan Denny is better than Chris Kelsay.

 

We need a pass rushing DE beyond believe.  The defense played an extremely good game and did what they could to help keep this team in the game.  But we need turnovers and turnovers come off pass rushing.  QB fumbles like they did yesterday and it forces them to throw too soon. 

 

Throw in a center in that one.  Duke Preston has played admirably, but isn’t going to cut it and neither is Melvin Fowler.

 

We scored 3 points against San Francisco at home?

 

Game ball easily goes to Marshawn Lynch

 

Goats of the week are Rian Lindell, Roscoe Parrish and Dick Jauron, all of whom I hope are not part of our team next year.

 

Next week, I don’t even care.  Let’s go 6-10 so we can just get draft picks.  This team is infuriating and the coach is infuriating and the whole organization is infuriating.  I’m not giving up as a Bills fan, but they’ve done a number on me this season.  I hope Trent Edwards is healthy to put together a couple games and see where we are.

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Immediate Reactions

Alright, thank god the Bills pulled this out and pulled this Buffalo sports weekend out of its misery.  Let me just say that they scored 54 points.  I don’t care how or what you want to say, that was fun.  We needed that.  They have a mountain to climb, but for today I had fun as a Bills fan.  There was a lot to like out of today’s game and going forward there are things to look for going forward.  Most importantly my wedding weekend is saved with this win.  Here are some of the thoughts from today:

 

Leodis McKelvin is a football player. I thought he had a good cover game against the Browns and he finally was rewarded with 2 INTs and a TD.

Stud two weeks Leodis. Nicely done!

Stud two weeks Leodis. Nicely done!

 

Good bounce back game from Edwards, pushed the ball down field and didn’t make mistakes. He showed mobility and poise in the pocket. It obviously doesn’t take the last month of the table, but let’s be serious. That was a hell of a football game that he played today.

75557858JR015_BUFFALO_BILLS 

 

Did anyone else notice that Mitchell gave Taylor Thigpen a love tap on a potential safety?

 

George Wilson just makes plays when he gets the chance.

 

It was good to see the Bills actually create some turnovers and what a nice stick by Reggie Corner.

 

I love the Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch combo and they were on the field together on the fourth-and-one play. 

 

Maybe it’s just me, but did the Bills run more play action today than they have in the last month?

 

I think we all see how much of an impact that Josh Reed has on this offense.  He finds seems, blocks well on running plays and he’s a great teammate.

 

Good to know that Lee Evans is still a Bill.

 

How good would this Bills defense be with a healthy Aaron Schobel and Angelo Crowell?

 

Thankfully Randy Cross wasn’t calling the game and I could hear the brilliance that is Solomon Wilcox.

 

Another hit out of bounds and an awful call?  I’m beginning to think that Troy Polamalu is right. 

Pansy league

Pansy league

 

On a side note, I think Kansas City has a pretty good team and could develop into a nice team.  I like Dwayne Bowe, Jamal Charles and they have some really good young players on defense.

 

Game Ball:

Leodis McKelvin.  Now if only James Hardy and/or Steve Johnson can develop. I frankly don’t care which one it is.

 

Where this leaves the Bills, I don’t know, but we can all regroup and enjoy Thanksgiving thinking the Bills are still in the race.  But New York dominated Tennessee and that was not something I was hoping to see.  Realistically the Bills need to go at least 5-1 and if they lose it had better be to a NFC team.  Next week brings in the 49ers the day after my wedding and I’m hoping some friends can stick around to watch the game, but I like the Bills at home next weekend to keep this ride going.  30-13 Bills next week with the cross country trip killing San Fran.

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Immediate Reactions: Cleveland 29 Buffalo 27

Alright, so if that wasn’t another shining example of what life is like as a Bills fan than I don’t know what is.  It’s almost like I started writing about it because of games like that.  I couldn’t do it after the game and just needed to shift through it all and see where to go.  I’m going to try to break it down as much as I can and recap some of my thoughts:

 

Trent Edwards was awful for the first quarter obviously and then they just shut him down.  Still been about 4 weeks (coincidently 4 losses) since we’ve thrown the ball down field.  How much do we miss Josh Reed?

 

I thought Fred Jackson’s fumble hurt more than Edward’s 3 interceptions only because we were finally putting a drive together.

 

Nice game by Steve Johnson, although he had that drop. I like that he’s a little bigger and think he could develop into a solid receiver combination.

 

Buffalo has a running game! Although they were killing him for not hitting the holes hard all the time (which I think comes from playing 9 weeks without having any holes), Marshawn Lynch had a phenomenal game last night.  I don’t understand why we weren’t running off tackle more and they finally did it this game.  You can’t run up the gut against a 3-4 with great NT and they finally did that.

 

Trent Edwards played pretty bad, huh?

 

Marcus Stroud is a man-child and played outstanding as did the defense did as whole. To only give up 6 points on those 3 interceptions was huge, but the big run (anyone else see Braylon Edwards holding Terrence McGee) and long drive is what killed this team.

 

Mitchell and Stroud were outstanding pickups and more importantly we need to start blitzing more as last night showed us.

 

It looks like Terrence McGee is coming back to form? Just as Jabari Greer gets hurt.

 

I thought Leodis McKelvin played a sensational game. Obviously the kick returns were the highlight but I thought he played great in coverage too.

 

Is Lee Evans still a Bill because he was so wide open at times I thought maybe he wasn’t actually a player.

 

Finally a kudos to the Offensive line, I liked that Edwards gave the ball to Duke Preston of the QB sneak and they’re pass protection was great and minus a couple Shaun Rogers plays they were actually run blocking out there.

 

What was with the end of the game play calling?  47-yarders aren’t gimmes and they decided to call 3 dive plays?  I’m ok with running the ball there but most of their success came with running the ball off tackle and they should’ve used that shotgun, off tackle play there.

If I hear Wide Right one more time on ESPN I’m going to blowup the network, seriously.

 

What a way to recap the weekend after the Sabres were embarrassed on Friday and Saturday!  Of course like Jerry Sullivan usually writes, they’ll win this week against KC to get all of our hopes up just enough to keep going. 

You think?

You think?

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Immediate Reactions: New England 20 Buffalo 10

That just solidified what everyone was expecting.  The Bills are an average football team.  Three weeks in a row they have not been able to get a team off the field when they needed to.  19 plays and 9 plus minutes?  Really?  With the Jets blowout and Dolphins game it is an awful looking situation for the Bills. 

 

Two interceptions by Trent Edwards were awful throws and really cost us the game.

 

Offensive line has easily become another downfall of this team.  Pass protection was non existent and Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson did everything they can to make it worthwhile.  I have to wonder if Melvin Fowler is that good because the nose tackle has absolutely destroyed us.  This isn’t a quick fix and at this point in the season there is no improvement so get ready for more of the same.

 

What about the goal to go situation where we run the ball on 2nd down and then Edwards checks to a run on 3rd down.  This team isn’t allowing themselves to succeed.  No play action, no fade route, no chance.  Obviously, the offensive line has no push and throwing the ball there out of the shotgun would open up options.  Edwards has ok mobility, why not utilize it out of the shotgun there the way the Matt Cassel did against us?

 

Obviously, we can’t defend the short passing game. Period.

 

How much does this team miss Angelo Crowell, he was the playmaker on this team creating turnovers and being a leader.  We cannot create turnovers and miss his ability in pass coverage as well.

 

This team is definitely a year away.  I liked that Hardy got the late touchdown and that Reggie Corner made a couple solid plays and Leodis had the nice return.  That’s where we are, taking solace in the development of these young players evolving into next year. 

 

Next week:  Monday Night Football, Bills vs. Brown.  I think the Bills bounce back, regroup against a weak Browns defense and save some face on National television 27-17 Bills.

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