I Hate It When I Am Right :)

It is time for all you JP lovers to go back to season 1 of the BBR and listen to my comments on JP…

My question: Can we stick a fork in this guy and call him done?

Personally, I think JP should bench himself. He put himself on notice this week and performed horribly. Again no one on this team played well (except A-Train and Roscoe), but that does not take JP off the hook. From the int’s, bad throws to wide open receivers, and the fumble JP better be done in Buffalo. I was fine with throwing the NE game away, but not the Jags game. Against a playoff bound team JP needed to shine or at least not lose the game. His turnovers costed us dearly…

10-21 that is JP’s record in Buffalo. Throw away every other stat. The only one that matters is wins and losses. Enough said.

Geeky Stuff Website Updates

Technical Difficulties

I just thought I would post a note here that we are experiencing hopefully TEMPORARY technical difficulties here. Apparently, the entire audio catalog of the Buffalo Bills Review has been deleted. This week’s show is up, and ready to download, but I am in the process of re-uploading the previous three shows, and hopefully restoring the full directory ASAP. Yikes. I was told that this hosting company just instantly deletes suspect directories containing only audio files! What??!?

Sorry for the inconvenience. The archives should be fully restored shortly.

-The Management.

Family Sports


NFL FootballThis season I have been asked to join a panel of “experts” in predicting the outcome of each week’s NFL games. So far I am in second place, behind my Buffalo Bills Review partner, Dave Drake, and another guy who are tied for first.

This week, after hearing the boys subtly add their voice to the discussion of my picks each week, I decided to let them in on it! So I made up little sheets for them to each make their picks and we’ll see who ends up with the best record by the end of the season. 🙂 (Actually, you might be surprised… there’s a good chance they will!)

It’s fun to see how excited they are about it 🙂

Even funnier was seeing how Alex changed a couple of his picks after announcing the games he was not going to get right – only to find out he could still change his picks up to kickoff time. 🙂 He’s pretty cute. He now assures us that he will go 16-0 this week.

The big game of course is tonight, where our Bills face the New England Patriots. Ian and I have our Bills winning in the end (good boy, Ian!) and Alex changed that one… which will of course help him go 16-0.

We’ll see!

Go Bills!


Fire Tyke Tolbert

At 5-4 the Buffalo Bills are doing better in 2007 than they have in a long time. Despite complaints about the coaching staff, a rash of injuries and a miserably ineffective offense, somehow this team has a winning record and the second longest winning streak in the league. And I didn’t even mention the quarterback controversy! Unfortunately, in week 11, the Bills face the one team with a longer winning streak, the 9-0 New England Patriots. It’s difficult to say how the Bills will respond as there is literally no history to look at. The Bills have never faced a 9-0 opponent.

However, they have played the New England Patriots plenty and lately it hasn’t been pretty. The Bills have lost 13 of the last 14 and 8 straight. Earlier this season the Patriots beat them 37-7 in Foxboro. In fact, the Patriots have just about walked all over every opponent they faced. Only the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis colts put up a serious fight, but caved in the end. But this is the NFL and anything can happen. Its unlikely, but the Bills could win. They would need everything to go perfectly their way for it to happen, but it could happen. There’s a reason only one team has ever gone undefeated. Whenever a team is good enough to make a serious run for it, some usually underwhelming opponent upsets them. Often it’s the Dolphins themselves, defending the undefeated title despite having a miserable season. This week it’s the Bills who have a shot in front of a national audience.

It will be serious prime time football at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the crowd will be rocking, that’s for sure. This isn’t Monday night, everybody has the day off with nothing to do but tailgate all day. Its going to be a wild scene. Buffalo fans know how to show up for prime time and they demonstrated that earlier this year on Monday Night Football. Sunday night football seems to be getting bigger than Monday Night as ESPN has horribly mishandled the coverage and taken all of the life out of the coverage while NBC has brought in the best commentators and made it about football. The Sunday night games have been generally better match-ups as well which makes one wonder how the league feels about ESPN’s work with Monday night.

The Bills have elected to continue with J.P. Losman despite his unimpressive performance against the winless Dolphins last week. I think this was the right decision under the circumstances. Edwards is coming off an injury, has almost no experience as it is and really hasn’t been that spectacular when he was in. He definitely shows potential, but putting him in at this point sends a pretty strong message that the team is giving up on the playoffs. Edwards will not benefit from getting destroyed by blitzes for the rest of the season. He crumpled under pressure against the Jets. Aside from all that however, Dick Jauron made the right decision for one primary reason. His job is to keep the team focused and confident. The team is coming off a win where they did not play well. By leaving Losman in place, he is able to take advantage of the positive momentum of the win. If he benches Losman, he loses that. The players have been rallying behind Losman in a way that they didn’t when Edwards was in. More so in the Bengals game, but it showed in the 4th quarter against the Dolphins as well.

Losman has really taken an unjust amount of blame for the poor performance of the offense in Miami. The offensive mess was a team effort. Losman threw a perfect pass to the sideline on third down and Josh Reed catches it but steps out of bounds under no pressure. Michael Gaines drops a sure touchdown pass that was perfectly positioned. Marshawn Lynch loses 4 yards on 3rd and 1. And for all the criticism of Losman, did anyone notice that Buffalo’s receivers couldn’t get open against a pathetic group of Miami backups? It’s not Losman’s fault. Dick Jauron realizes that all he does by putting Edwards in right now is guarantee that Losman is out of Buffalo and probably Lee Evans with him. Edwards was less effective than Losman when he was in. He’s a rookie so that’s to be expected, but there really isn’t a strong argument to put him in when you look at the numbers.


J.P. Losman 69 109 820 63.3 7.52 2 3 9 73 80.8

Trent Edwards 80 121 790 66.1 6.53 1 5 9 71 69.9

Edwards has only had one game where he had a high percentage of completions (against the Jets the first time). For some reason everyone seems to think that that has continued, but it hasn’t. Losman has completed roughly the same percentage and gets an extra yard out of each completion on average. Losman has 2 TDs to Edwards’ 1 but both of these are embarrassingly low numbers. Edwards has thrown more interceptions.

So either the Bills have two lousy quarterbacks or something else is wrong with this offense. I happen to think that both Losman and Edwards are quality quarterbacks. Losman has more ability but is not as quick a study as Edwards. They actually compliment each other nicely. They also get along, which is a bonus these days. So where is the real problem with this offense? Its in the receiving.

I don’t think its necessarily that the Bills don’t have enough talent. Certainly it would be nice to have a more reliable 2nd receiver, but between Lee Evans, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish the Bills ought to be able to get more going than this. This is the point where I am going to point my finger at Tyke Tolbert, the Bills receivers’ coach for the last four seasons. Tyke must be a real swell guy to survive the coaching changes and the players apparently like him, but he clearly does not know how to get his players to play. Lee Evans has been slow to get involved in the offense in every season Tolbert has coached him. Light a fire under your star! Are you kidding? What kind of coach tolerates this? Robert Royal doesn’t get his foot in last season on an easy touchdown, now Josh Reed steps out of bounds on an easy out pattern? What exactly IS Tyke teaching his players? Certainly not how to get open against the worst defense in the NFL! The Bills don’t get the most out of their wide receivers and it seems pretty obvious to me why. How did this guy survive the coaching change? He sucked under Mularkey as well.

I’m also on the bandwagon with all the people who think that Steve Fairchild needs to go. He has made some of the least inventive game plans ever. His ability to make adjustments during the game are non-existent and at half time marginal at best. The whole team is being held back by this idiot. It has all been said before. I like Dick Jauron though, he is a defensive minded coach and shouldn’t be blamed for the offensive problems as much as Fairchild who was hired to mastermind the offense. Oops.

I think the Bills were caught looking in a big way down in Miami but were fortunate enough to pull off the victory. That was actually a big step for J.P. Losman pulling off a strong 4th quarter after a miserable start and actually taking the game from Miami. That win is carrying a lot more momentum for the players than it is for the fans. Nevertheless the Buffalo fans will be in full bloom Sunday night. All odds are against it happening but can’t you just smell upset? Here’s a few crazy reasons to billieve:

1.The Patriots are coming off a BYE but the Bills were clearly thinking about the Patriots last week, so both teams have had two weeks to prepare for this game.

2.Dwayne Wright averaged 6 yards per carry on 6 carries in the first meeting with the Patriots. So even if Marshawn Lynch doesn’t play (it looks like he won’t) the Bills may still be effective on the ground. Hey Mel Kiper thinks that draft pick was as good as the Patriots drafting Brady in the 6th round. Mel’s full of crap, but still.

3. Tom Brady says he’s never played a night game in Buffalo before…

4. The 12th Man.

5. Come on the Bills are just due to upset the Patriots, its been so long. Why not now?

Sometimes the ball bounces your way. Bills 27 Patriots 13. Lots of weirdness and special teams plays make it happen for this tight Bills team.

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What Losman Needs To Do To Reclaim His Starter Status

As of now, J.P. Losman has been handed the reigns while rookie quarterback Trent Edwards recovers from a wrist injury. There is a lot of rumor fueling the quarterback situation in Buffalo. One of those rumors is that Ralph Wilson is the one who said Edwards is to be the starter. If that’s the case, it is entirely possible that Dick Jauron is actually in favor of Losman. A lot of people have been over-reacting to a few comments made by players saying that they don’t know who made the decision at quarterback, indicating somebody in the offices upstairs made the call. I hate to burst the bubble of the Jauron haters, but this is the way a perfectly managed football team is managed. It is ideal for the personnel decisions to be made behind closed doors in such a way that the coach can say, “My job is to coach you guys, their job is to make personnel decisions.” It doesn’t make the coach’s job easier if a player like Lee Evans is holding him responsible for benching his best friend.

The reality is that J.P. Losman threw for over 3000 yards last season and was ranked 11th in the NFL. To say he is completely unproven or incapable of scoring multiple touchdowns or managing the offense is not only a mis-statement, its naive. Losman has done all of these things in the past for the Buffalo Bills. In the two games he played in full this season he faced the best pass defenses in the league and struggled under an ultra-conservative game plan, meant to try to keep the defense (riddled with injuries) off the field. None of this worked out, but all the blame shouldn’t be put on Losman. In reality, Edwards has been even more ineffective at the end of the day. He looks good completing lots of short passes but ultimately hasn’t been scoring or executing plays that gain more than 9.9 yards.

So Losman is handed a start because of Edwards injury. I seriously doubt that Jauron will hold back Losman in an attempt to prove Edwards is his guy, this again is ridiculous. Any suggestion that any football team is hoping for a player to not be successful, or only playing for next year is just stupid. Every team plays to win, every week. Period. Any suggestion otherwise is just silly. Likewise, the suggestions made by the fans and media that the Bills WANT to move out of Buffalo is moronic. Its true that the Buffalo market isn’t the strongest, but if the team really wanted to move, they would just do it. There’s no reason whatsoever to go through any steps leading up to it. If the Buffalo Bills wanted to move to Toronto, they would just move. Toronto has expressed the interest etc. Reality once again shows that the Buffalo Bills make every effort to make the team more viable in its current market. Regardless of what fans may think, the Bills actually sell an awful lot more tickets than many teams in the league, however they have a very large stadium considering the population of the Buffalo area. (Indianapolis seats 30,000 less people than the Ralph) I mention all this because some have actually been foolish enough to suggest that the Bills are favoring Edwards for financial reasons. This is just idiotic at best. There is no way that is the case. Edwards came into favor because he looks more calm in the pocket. Looks can be deceiving however since the results of his play are not impressive.

But back to Losman, who may very well be starting for the next two weeks as Edwards hasn’t even been able to practice and may not even be active this week with an injury to his throwing wrist. Losman finally has the opportunity to play in a game with a functional offense against a defense that isn’t tops in the league. This is the type of game where Losman is likely to hook up with Lee Evans for several big plays. Since the Bills now have a functional offensive line, Bills fans will also be surprised when Losman hits his tight ends throughout the game. Losman has been criticized for not throwing to his tight ends enough. Realistically however, you can expect Losman to throw to a tight end who is not running a pattern. Losman hit Robert Royal regualrly late in the season in 2006 when the team was able to release a tight end into the pattern. Prior to that it almost never happened so it wasn’t like Losman was missing open tight ends, they just weren’t in the picture. Losman’s first pass last week when he came in late in the Jets game went to TE Derek Schouman for a decent gain.

One of the things Losman must do in the Bengals game is prove to his team and the fans that he can hit receivers for the short gain as well as he can throw the deep ball. Everyone knows that Losman can throw deep strikes to Lee Evans as well as, if not better than, anyone in the league. The big but has been in the short game. Losman often has games where he just doesn’t seem to have a good feel for the “touch” on the ball in the short game. Marshawn Lynch should make this less of a factor. The Bengals soft defense should make for a fun day for Marshawn Lynch. Losman should be in a lot fewer obvious passing downs.

To put numbers on it, in order to make a strong statement that he should be the starter, Losman needs to have a 300 yard plus performance, but that performance must not be built solely on 3-4 big completions from Lee Evans. 300 yards made up from several deep bombs will keep the controversy brewing. 300 yards spread around the field to running backs, tight ends and wide outs with the deep bomb mixed in once or twice will start to win him support. That alone won’t get him his starting job back.

Losman also needs to score. Not just field goals but touchdowns. Multiple touchdowns is something Edwards has not been able to produce. If Losman can score 3 touchdowns and add a few field goal drives, it will be hard to bench him. The Bills have not been able to score all season. I don’t think they necessarily have to even be passing touchdowns. If Lynch runs for two and Losman throws for one, I think Losman gets the job. There are other factors that would also make a strong statement.

The Bills so far this season have been horrible on third downs, converting around 25% regardless of which quarterback is in. If Losman can bring that up to about 50% or better it goes a long way. Edwards has been touted for his accuracy and high completion percentage, but actually is only 66% to Losman’s 64%. If Losman can complete a high percentage of his passes (70+%) it will also work very well in his favor. First downs have been hard coming as well so the more the better. Time of possession is always good, but not critical to Losman’s future. Losman is a quick strike type of passer.

The most important thing for Losman is that he avoid that “Happy Feet” look that he has been known to get in the pocket. It often results in a big loss sack when he shoudl just throw the ball away. Edwards has been praised for his poise (So Poised he was like a statue against the Jets and paid the price), there fore Losman needs to permanently ditch the “happy feet” look. For all the poise, Edwards hasn’t put up better numbers than Losman, so if Losman can look good while he plays it will help set a lot of minds at ease. Based on his interviews this week, he seems pretty calm.

Losman will be under tremendous pressure to play well both for his career (whether he remains in Buffalo or not his performance on Sunday will effect his salary next year) and for the team. If the Bills lose this one the odds drop significantly for the team making the playoffs. This team was 2 seconds away from being 5-2 so they feel they are underrated. That takes the pressure off, but it also means that if they want to contend they have to beat 2-5 teams. If they beat Cincinnati and Miami, lose to New England, they are 5-5 with six games remaining. Those six teams are Jacksonville, Washington, Miami, Cleveland, NY Giants and Philadelphia. At this point the Bills could easily beat Miami and Philadelphia but the other four games will be tough. Jacksonville and Washington are on the road, the Giants are hot, and Cleveland is playing better than Buffalo at this point in the season. The Bills would have to win two of those to have a shot at a Wild Card. If the Bills lose to the Bengals they would need 3. It becomes far fetched at that point but not impossible.