Buffalo Bills Review interviews boisterous, fan-favorite, tough-guy LB Darryl Talley. Discussion of Super Bowl days, the Hall of Fame, and more.
Originally posted 11/1/2005
Buffalo Bills Review interviews boisterous, fan-favorite, tough-guy LB Darryl Talley. Discussion of Super Bowl days, the Hall of Fame, and more.
Originally posted 11/1/2005
Buffalo Bills Review interviews former Bills WR, Don Beebe, known for his ridiculous speed, and never-say-die tenacity embodied in the play in Super Bowl XXVII, where he ran down Leon Lett from behind and saved one touchdown from being scored in a very lopsided loss.
Originally posted 9/27/2005
Buffalo Bills Review interviews former Buffalo Bills QB, Frank Reich, who still hold the record for biggest comeback in NFL history!
Originally posted 11/26/2005
Perhaps you have already heard that BuffaloBills.com is accepting your nominations for the greatest Buffalo Bills players of all time. Position by position. You name your players for the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo Bills. Above are my picks for the offense. Some tough choices actually. (Notice that not many from this current team are in that line-up…)
Maybe we’ll even do an off-season show discussing who we think would make the all-time team from the first 50 seasons? We’ll see.
For now you can play along here. Pretty cool website the buffalobills.com boys have put together. Have fun voting!
Following two straight fourth-quarter comebacks, the Buffalo Bills are alone atop the AFC East. All by themselves. That has not happened since week 13 of the 1996 NFL season. That is a long time.
We’ve heard the stats. The Bills are off to their fastest start since 1992. Not since that season has a Bills team started 3-0. And this week with the Bills facing the team who is arguably off to the worst start of all 32 NFL teams in 2008, most consider it a foregone conclusion that the Bills will be 4-0.
The last time the Bills started a season 4-0 was also 1992. Go back another year to find the last time a Bills team started the season with a 5-0 record. They lost their sixth game that year – the year after “Wide Right” – but went on to amass a 10-1 record, cruising to the AFC East crown and eventually, the AFC title.
But let’s go back just a couple years. 1988. The Bills were coming out of relative obscurity. Back to back 2-14 seasons, followed by a 4-12 season (which saw the arrival of new – and equally obscure – head coach, Marv Levy) followed by a meager 7-8 season. They had not made the playoffs for six straight seasons, but there seemed to be reason for hope.
A very talented young team was being put together. Largely around stars like Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and even Andre Reed (from tiny Kutztown State university) and a rookie RB from Oklahoma State, Thurman Thomas. A blockbuster trade had brought LB Cornelius Bennett to town, inspiring more hope from the Buffalo faithful. There was certainly potential…
But it had been so long since there had been a real winner in Buffalo.
All of a sudden though, the wins began coming. 1-0. 2-0. 3-0. People began wondering about this “surprising” team from Buffalo. Robb Riddick kept jumping over the pile for a goal-line TD. Butch Rolle continued to fool everyone as Kelly would fake the handoff and toss the ball to a wide open (little used) TE. (Didn’t they watch the film? If Butch was on the field, he was going to get the TD!) A pretty solid offensive line, a QB who was showing he could will his team to win, a budding receiving star, and a scrappy defense – even a kicker who never missed. (32-33 FGs on the season, including an OT game winner that gave the Bills their first AFC East title in many long years.)
This team came out of nowhere to go 11-1, and grab the AFC East from their other four unsuspecting division rivals. And the rest of the NFL.
Flash forward to 2008.
This young, confident Bills team, being built around a young QB, a scrappy defense, a few solid veteran additions, a talented young RB – and even a kicker who never misses – has gotten out of the gates quickly. 1-0 after a blowout. 2-0 with a tough win on the road against a playoff contender. 3-0 following a sloppy performance, turned gutsy comeback. It looks like the sky is the limit for this young team, and it almost looks like we’re 20 years in the past… ready to do it all again!
And the thing that gives me more confidence about that is watching our QB manage his offense.
If you take a look around our division – which the Bills currently lead by one game – who else would you rather have at QB in the crunch? Now that Tom Brady is gone, the starting four AFC East QBs are: Edwards, Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, and Matt Cassel. Cassel has looked quite pedestrian, Favre has seemed at best out of step, and Pennington is… Pennington.
Edwards on the other hand has been incredibly accurate, completing 67% of his passes – and much higher in the 4th quarters of all three games. In the first game, late in the third quarter, Edwards sealed the victory with a 30 yard bullet to TE Robert Royal to quickly buoy the Bills from a 10 pt lead to a 24 point lead, and victory. In game number two, Edwards rallied a very tired and heat-exhausted Bills team to a 4 point victory from 6 points down on the road against a team who never loses when leading at home heading into the 4th quarter.
And last week, Edwards looked even more determined and capable as the Bills’ field general, picking apart the Raiders secondary in the 4th quarter, leading the Bills to score 17 points – even after the defense gave up a disheartening 84 yard TD catch and run by Johnnie Lee Higgins – giving the Bills the one-point victory at the final whistle.
Folks, what we have in Buffalo is a winning QB.
Cassel is not (yet) a winner. Favre has been, but is not looking like the Favre we have seen the past 16 NFL seasons. Pennington has never been a real winner. Edwards is looking like he is. And he’s only started 12 NFL games! He is now 8-4 as a starter, and perhaps his last three games have been his most impressive.
When Tom Brady went down, I said it was way too early to change your AFC East predictions based solely on the loss of one player. It is a team game. BUT… after Miami’s 38-13 drubbing of the Pats last week, and after two straight 4th quarter come-from-behind victories lead by Edwards, I am reconsidering. It still feels too early, but with a favorable schedule, and a QB who seems to have the confidence and the ability to rally his team to victory (and the apparent lack of that from the rest of the AFC East) I am truly beginning to believe.
I have said it many times actually. I believe this year is going to be much like that 1988 season. The Bills take most of the NFL world by surprise, and just keep winning. All the way to the AFC East title. Maybe – like 20 years ago – all the way to the AFC Championship game.
We can’t know. That is a long way away. It is a long season. But for now, it’s fun to be in this Bills fan time warp. It was a pretty fun 6 years from 1988-1994. Maybe this time around, the Bills can finish it off with a big W. The biggest W this franchise has ever posted.
I don’t think it will happen in 2008… but, you just never know.
Bring on the Rams, and let’s keep this thing rolling!
Hey folks. Quick post here just to recommend some Bills-related reading. Most of these books (pictured above in a cool little widget from Amazon!) have been in my recent reading queue… I’m hoping to read Kevin Everett’s book soon, too.
Great stories from Bills history, good reads, and a fun way to help the off-season pass a bit more quickly!
Click on the book covers above to check out the books at Amazon. For your convenience, here’s a nice bulleted list, too.
(Any recommendations? Leave ’em in the comments!)
With the draft quickly approaching, NFL.com has the “Greatest Draft Class” videos up, and the 1985 Buffalo Bills were #9 on their list. Some fun highlights of Bruce Smith, Andre Reed & Frank Reich. Spotlight on Bill Polian as well, who kind of came out of nowhere to become one of the greatest GMs in football! (Building the 1990 Buffalo Bills, then the Carolina Panthers, and the Indianapolis Colts.)
We don’t have Polian, but I really like our past two drafts, and expect more of the same from this one. Might we say some day that the draft of 2007 was one of the top draft classes? (Marshawn Lynch, Paul Pozluszny, and Trent Edwards?)
Again, can’t embed, so… here ya go!
I found a cool video on NFL.com today featuring our favorite passer-catcher combo, Jim Kelly and Andre Reed. They were number five in a list of greatest passing combos. They were pretty great! This short video has some great highlights from those years. Reed made some just spectacular grabs!
Can’t embed NFL.com videos, so click here to view it at their site.
Emotions are all over the map in Western New York these days. A few are excited by the five-year plan that will have the Buffalo Bills playing three pre-season and five regular season games in Toronto, Canada. More seem to be near paranoid that this signals the end of the nearly fifty years of Bills football in Western New York.
And who can blame them? The Buffalo Bills message boards are replete with frustrated fans following not only each move of the plan named the “Toronto Initiative”, but all of the comments made by the aging Bills’ owner, Ralph Wilson.
“I can’t speculate what’s going to happen in the future. But don’t worry. Don’t worry right now,” Wilson said at last week’s press conference in Toronto. This comment, among others, (including Wilson referring to this “Initiative” as a “trial basis”) has led many Bills fans and media pundits to speculate on the Bills future.
With the end of the current 15-year lease of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY coinciding with the end of this “trial” in Toronto, there are many reasons to speculate that the team could well end up north of the Border by 2013. Or even sooner, if Wilson were to die before that time is up, as he has publicly stated that the team will be sold to the highest bidder following his death.
But a closer look at who is saying what reveals that there is much more to be hopeful about for Western New Yorkers. More positive than negative regarding this Toronto Initiative.
First there are comments from the Buffalo Bills themselves. Wilson has repeatedly said – including most of his comments from last week’s press conference – that his intention all along has been to keep this team in Buffalo. “We’ve always been on record saying we were going to try to regionalize our brand north of the border,” said Bills new Chief Operating Officer Russ Brandon. “We think this is another step in keeping our franchise financially viable in the Buffalo marketplace.”
The Bills have already begun to regionalize the team by moving their annual training camp to St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. This has been a big success according to the team. Toronto is merely the “next step” as Brandon says.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (a native Western New Yorker) was asked about the Toronto Initiative in a press conference and responded by saying the Bills “very thoughtfully” put this plan together, and carried it out. He has said the NFL is not looking to expand right now, and said the Bills would play a “limited number of games” in Toronto over the next five years. Granted, five years is a long way off, but his words have to be reassuring to Bills fans. (And it can’t hurt that he is a native of the area, and so, a Bills fan!)
Add to these voices the somewhat public rumors that former Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly has designs on buying the Bills when they become available. Kelly is rumored to be building a team of people – including perhaps former Buffalo Bills Thurman Thomas and Steve Tasker, among others – to purchase the Bills following Wilson’s passing.
Western New York billionaire, and current Buffalo Sabres’ owner, Tom Golisano is one potential investor in Jim Kelly’s plan. This past week Golisano was interviewed during a Sabres’ game and said, “If the situation arises, I would do what I can to try to keep the team in the area.” This again buoyed Buffalo fans hopes that this talk of losing the Buffalo Bills was just that. Talk.
In the end, Wilson is right, we can not know what will happen in the future. But it’s also true that worrying about the future doesn’t change anything either. Bills fans can worry that the team will move (I think that has been a fear of Bills fans since I moved to Buffalo back in 1986!) or listen to the voices of the people who really matter. Sports writers can say what they want, and fearful fans can say what they want, but the people who make the decisions are saying the Bills are staying in Western New York.
And, for now, that’s who I’m going to listen to.
Related Article: 10/25/07 (BBR)
I have been meaning to write many articles this week. A thorough recap of the game this past Sunday against Baltimore, highlighting some of the pretty amazing things I see in our rookie quarterback, Trent Edwards. Another article breaking down the stats on how the Bills truly did shut down Willis McGahee on his first visit to his old stomping grounds—on his birthday no less. And, I have wanted to weigh in on the whole Bills-games-in-Toronto issue.
But I haven’t. And, I won’t.
(Quite) Unfortunately, I do not get paid to write about the Bills, and my work load at the moment seems insurmountable. Tack on the fact that we leave for California in less than 24 hours, and yeah… I’m feeling the pressure!
For that reason, here are a few quick thoughts on all of the above topics.
QB Trent Edwards
It is now official. Trent Edwards is the starting QB for the Buffalo Bills. Not just for this week. For good. Dick Jauron said, “Hopefully we won’t have to make a change there,” in his press conference yesterday. The Bills like what they see in Edwards, and for good reason.
Not only does Trent have a good arm, is very accurate, and can put some zip on the ball, he’s also a very quick learner and very confident in the pocket. His abilities to handle the offensive schemes were showcased when the Bills ran the no-huddle offense for most of the game against Baltimore. The QB has to read the defense, and make the call from some pre-set plays in that situation. And he did a great job with it! His confidence and poise in the pocket are demonstrated by the number of sacks he has taken. Some of the credit goes to the offensive line, but much of it goes to Trent for knowing when to release the ball, and where to put it.
One of the more amazing things from Sunday’s game was the FIVE offsides penalties Edwards was able to pull the Ravens into! It could have been six, but the call went against the Bills when Michael Gaines jumped at the same time as the Ravens defender. His cadence was excellent, keeping the Baltimore defense either moving backward by penalty, or at least a little hesitant to jump at the snap.
Add to his very good play for a rookie the fact that the team is now 2-1 when he starts (and could, almost should be 3-0, barring the miracle finish by Dallas) and you have a no-brainer decision. Edwards gives the team the best chance to win now, and most likely in the future.
Good decision by the Bills.
Willis Held In Check
When Willis came out on the Ravens’ first drive of the second half and just started getting huge chunks of yards, I was definitely worried. I thought maybe he or the Ravens had figured out something, and it was going to be a long day. That was every Bills fan’s worst nightmare… Willis running wild on us, leaving with the win.
But he didn’t.
Really, the Bills did a great job stopping McGahee all day. An amazing job, actually. I knew what I saw, and what I saw was a great performance by the Bills defense, and a completely shut down performance by Willis. Well, almost completely.
So late that night I broke down the stats. I wanted to see if I had just imagined that we did shut him down. I did not.
On that one drive to open the third quarter, Willis had 4 carries for 72 yards, including the one TD run of 46 yards where the Bills only had ten guys on the field (but I don’t think the eleventh would have mattered). Willis finished the day with 19 carries for 114 yards. Take away 46 and he has 18 for 68 yards. That’s 3.7 yards/carry. Take away that drive (were the Bills still in the lockeroom or something?) and he has 14 carries for 42 yards! OUCH! That’s 3 YPC.
More stats? The Bills held Willis to 1 yard on 2 receptions (and he also dropped one, that was thrown behind him). The Bills also held him to zero or negative yards on 4 carries. 9 of his remaining 15 carries were for 4 yards or less. Mostly less.
The Bills came into the game having done very well against the Jets runningbacks and the Cowboys runningbacks. They wanted to do the same against Baltimore, who are a run-oriented team. And, they wanted to shut down Willis.
The Move To Toronto
First of all, the Bills are not moving to Toronto. They are merely playing a game or two in Toronto—where many Bills fans reside. All of this speculation is definitely premature, and completely unnecessary. In my opinion, of course.
Here’s what we know. The NFL decided that up to two regular season games per year would be played outside of the US through the 2011 season. Their hope is that each team would be able to participate in that. The Bills stated that they would like to be proactive in that experiment by suggesting that they play a game in very nearby Toronto, which is currently a major region that they draw from.
The Bills have played there before. In 1995 and 1997, the Bills played two preseason games in the Skydome. (They won both!) So they are no strangers to Toronto, and those games did not precipitate a move to Canada. They broaden the region that the Bills cover.
Seven years ago, the Bills made a similar move when they shifted their annual training camp to St. John Fisher College in Rochester. There are many Bills fans in the stadium on Sundays who make the drive from Rochester, and moving training camp to their city only made sense. It gave the Bills more of a presence in Rochester, and likely has won them some more fans.
That is precisely what the Bills are hoping would happen with a regular season game in Toronto each year.
This is not without NFL precedent, either. The Green Bay packers played several games a year in Madison, WI several years ago now. They are also a small-market, regional team, and wanted to have a more regional appeal. It worked just fine, as far as I know.
The Bills are not moving to Toronto. The NFL will not allow that. Ralph Wilson certainly won’t. And I would say, as much as they are able, NY State will not allow it either. But one game in Toronto, even annually, makes a lot of sense for expanding the reach of this small-market team. Bring in more fans, more corporate luxury box buyers… and the Bills remain in Western New York.
The Bills will likely play a pre-season game in 2008 in Toronto. It remains to be seen what the NFL will decide as far as regular season games there. The Bills have crossed a few hurdles, getting approval on the first stages of this plan. Next is the NFL.
Seems like a great plan to me, and I hope they can make it happen. I’d love for them to play a game over here in Rochester, closer to where I live, but we don’t have a facility like the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
So north of the border we go!
(But just for one game.) 🙂