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Buffalo Bills Review: Week 2

These Bills took the phrase "Squish the Fish" quite literally! The Defense was dominant in Week 2 against Miami.

These Bills took the phrase “Squish the Fish” quite literally! The Defense was dominant in Week 2 against Miami.

Good Stuff

The Bills were dominant on Sunday. I predicted as much, but it was nice to see it actually happen. The defense was stifling, only giving up ten points (and that, aided by questionable calls by the officials) to a team who scored 33 points one week earlier!

Special teams was also dominant: punt block, kick return TD, punts downed inside the 20-yard-line, and 17 points from the kicker! CJ Spiller was named the AFC Special Teams player of the week (Dan Carpenter received that honor in Week One!).

The offense is not half-bad, either, with EJ Manuel leading the league in completion percentage of passes of 20 yards or more in the air. (Yes, leading the league!) Sammy Watkins was wide open much of the day, and looked very worth the trade up to get him. (He was also named Rookie of the Week for Week 2!)

Another good thing about this Bills team is the way they respond. In the Bears game, whenever Chicago would come back to tie up the score, the Bills had an answer. Miami scored two times in the second half to get within six points of the Bills, but both times the Bills answered to extend their lead. (The second time they never looked back.)

This all happened on a day when Ralph Wilson Jr. was immortalized on his Wall of Fame in gold letters, Jim Kelly received a 90-second standing ovation, and every Buffalo football fan was euphoric from the news that a local family (with loads of cash) will be buying the team and keeping them here forever! (Or close to it…)

It was a GOOD week.

Bad Stuff

The Bills were dominant for the whole game, but they still had some trouble scoring in the Red Zone. The plays were there (two passes that could have, should have, gone for scores were missed or dropped). It will happen, but settling for field goals will not work against better offensive teams.

The only other bad might be injuries, but the good news there is that the Bills are one of the healthiest teams in the NFL so far this season. (When was the last time we said that?!) Sammy Watkins looks hurt every time he touches the ball, but he’s still making lots of plays. So it’s not that bad, right?

The Refs deserve honorable mention here with many questionable calls on the Dolphins only scoring drive. But… we won. So who cares?

Newsy Stuff


The nominees for the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class were announced this week. More than a hundred names from football’s near and distant past, and several of them have ties to the Buffalo Bills. All-time favorites like Cornelius “Biscuit” Bennett, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker and Fred Smerlas made the list, as did the late Kent Hull, who does not receive as much credit as perhaps he should for the success of those Bills teams of the 1990s. (Maybe he now will?)

Here are the nominees with Buffalo connections:

  • LB Cornelius Bennett
  • C Kent Hull
  • HC Chuck Knox
  • HC Lou Saban
  • NT Fred Smerlas
  • LB Chris Spielman
  • LB Darryl Talley
  • ST Steve Tasker
  • CB Troy Vincent
  • NT Ted Washington

In other news:

  1. The Bills are favored by 2.5 points over the “apparent favorite” Chargers. Due to their much greater success over the recent past, as well as last week’s win over Seattle (by 9 points) most are picking the visiting Chargers to win over the also-undefeated Buffalo Bills. But Las Vegas had them as 1-point favorites to start the week, and that has only increased all week, to the 2.5-point spread here on Friday night.
  2. The Chargers lost their starting RB Ryan Matthews for a few weeks, and have a list of players who were limited or did not practice this week that include several starters on the offensive line. The Bills on the other hand will be missing only two or three players this week, and have been relatively injury-free so far this season. That’s a welcome change from the past decade, or so, where it seems Buffalo generally has the worst of the injury bug in the whole of the NFL!

Crazy Stuff

Speaking of injuries… how crazy is it that Eric Wood was once thought of as injury-prone, but now we don’t give him a second thought as the rock, the core of the Bills rather solid offensive line? Crazy!

And how about all the hullaballoo regarding the ineptitude of the Bills starting QB before this season. Calls for EJ Manuel‘s head (or at least his position on the roster) were frequently and vociferously shouted wherever they might be heard. But after two weeks of arguably much more than “game management” (see stat above, and his 7.8 yards/attempt) Manuel has almost completely silenced his critics—after just two weeks! Crazy!

Up Next: San Diego Chargers

369px-San_Diego_Chargers_logo.svgThe Chargers just beat the Seahawks. (Yes, those Seahawks.) It took a nearly-perfect game from their offense, but it worked, and they won. Can they do that here? They were 5-3 on the road last year, including many wins in the Eastern US. And they won a playoff game in Cincy. They’re not afraid of the eastern time zone.

The Chargers will definitely be a challenge. Philip Rivers has a greater than two to one touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio over his career, and I believe last year threw 32 TDs to only 11 INTs. That’s impressive. He is definitely no Jay Cutler (who is happy to share the ball with his opponents). But the bottom line from my view of their win last week: they were nearly flawless. Seattle didn’t play badly, San Diego made every play they had a chance to make. That does not happen every week. It really can’t.

This game is important. Later in the year, we might be kicking ourselves if we don’t get this win at home against a team we will likely be battling for a wild card spot. (Unless we win our division of course!)

Buffalo’s defense, at home, with a mistake-free offense… (the Chargers apparently have a very good run defense, so it will be interesting to see what Buffalo’s very good run offense can do against them) the Bills have a great chance of taking advantage of this September game on their home field and finishing with the victory, going 3-0 for the second time since 2011.

(More on the differences between 2011 and 2014 next week, if in fact my prediction is accurate…)

Bills Win: 31-27

This may be a weekly series of very short reviews of the Buffalo Bills 2014 season, game by game. Or it may not. Stay tuned!

Articles Current Bills

Buffalo Bills Review: Week 1

Fred Jackson Stiff Arm
This may be the start of a weekly series of very short reviews of the Buffalo Bills 2014 season, game by game. Or it may not. Stay tuned!

Good Stuff

The 2014 Buffalo Bills did not impress in their extended preseason preview. EJ Manuel looked mediocre at best, the starting offense couldn’t score, there were rumors of turmoil between the head coach and nearly everyone in the organization, and outsiders questioned whether the defense could withstand offseason losses (Byrd, Alonso, and Pettine).

That’s why the overtime win in Chicago Sunday was even more impressive. We saw good things. EJ Manuel was definitely competent. Not just completions, but looking off defenders. He ran in a score. He threw another. He threw down the field, just missing Sammy Watkins deep down the left sideline. His receivers helped. His offensive line helped, allowing only one sack. The running backs were all as good as we thought they would be.

Best of all, as Kyle Williams said this week, this team was resilient. Bad calls by the referees, mistakes by teammates, letting leads slip away, several unproductive offensive series in a row—none of that daunted this team who came up with big plays in all phases when it mattered. And they won.

Quick honorable mention in the Good Stuff for P Colton Schmidt. Who? Exactly! This “new guy” came in and had a net average of 43.2 yards/punt on the day, downed 4 inside the 20. He was amazing, actually. (Second honorable mentions go to the rest of the special teams: big FGs by Dan “Nailed It” Carpenter, many booming kickoffs by Jordan Gay, and a fantastic (and fun) DOUBLE tackle (took out two guys!) by Marcus Easley.)

Bad Stuff

Honestly (and strangely) there was not much “bad stuff”. You could say EJ’s one interception, but they still won the game. Fred Jackson muffed a punt, but picked it right back up. The defense allowed 41% conversion on third downs—Chicago got lots of first downs, and plenty of yards—but, the Bills won the game.

One thing that qualified as “Bad” in this game was the calls be the refs. Many PIs that should have been non-calls. And the strangest one of all was the holding penalty that was called back. Huh? Yes. That’s what Kyle Williams said. (He had a lot to say!) The ref threw the flag (at Williams’ back) and then they decided, nah… let’s not call it. That gave the Bears life, and sent the game to OT. Yikes.

Kim & Terry Pegula - Bills and Sabres Owners

Newsy Stuff

You already know the news this week! The Bills have a new owner! Her name is Kim Pegula! Well, OK, it’s Kim & Terry Pegula. I keep reading that Kim will be more than a little involved in the business operation of the team (maybe the primary person?) so, that’s interesting. The Pegulas are most beloved by Buffalo sports fans for their swooping in and purchasing the Buffalo Sabres two years ago, and resuscitating that team. Billions of dollars, a deep, lifetime love of Buffalo sports, and a commitment to win the Stanley Cup (and now the Lombardi Trophy) will do that to a sports fan base!

In other news: the Bills were ranked near the bottom of most Power Rankings prior to Week 1, but after their road win in Chicago (and looking pretty decent as they did the winning) they have moved up in most polls to the high teens. Not a bad jump! Let’s see what happens after week 2 and the home opener against Miami!

Crazy Stuff

When Terry Pegula, life-long Sabres fan, became the owner of that same team, he began bringing in famous names from the team’s past to help run the organization. Former coach, Ted Nolan, is back coaching the team. Beloved Hall of Fame center, Pat Lafontaine, was brought in to run hockey operations.

Wouldn’t it be crazy if… he did the same thing with the Bills?

Jim Kelly—as he regains his health—is given a more active role with the franchise. Bill Polian is brought back to build another dynasty. Players like Jim Haslett, Fred Smerlas, and Darryl Talley bring some of their fire back the Bills on the sidelines and elsewhere.

It’s not actually that crazy…

Up Next: Miami Dolphins (Home Opener!)

dolphins-logoOK, so we have a new owner… check. We have a greatly revamped stadium, hosting its first regular season game and crowd… check. We have perhaps the all-time favorite Bill scheduled to make his first appearance at a game since being declared cancer-free (for the second time), maybe even leading the team onto the field… check!

The Bills will also be honoring deceased former owner, Ralph Wilson, at the game, and, oh yeah… they’re pretty pumped up from that solid win last week on the road!

The Dolphins don’t stand a chance!

The Bills beat the Fins twice last year, both times with third-string QB, Thad Lewis. For some reason, Buffalo’s defense always seems to easily handle Miami QB, Ryan Tannehill. With all the emotion and enthusiasm and excitement coursing through the veins of the Bills defense in the home opener Sunday, I expect lots of pressure, several sacks, and a few takeaways. The Bills running game always excels against Miami, too, and with nearly 200 yards against the Bears last week, they are primed for another great showing against the Dolphins this weekend.

Really. It shouldn’t even be close.

Buffalo Wins: 34-7

Go Bills!

Current Bills Draft News Players

A Review of the 2009 Buffalo Bills Draft Class

After a weekend that saw some pretty bold moves by their division rival, the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills lone first-day trade to move up to the second round to pick Andy Levitre seems a bit lackluster. Time will tell, of course, how the brazen moves by the Jets will pan out on the field, but with a glut of wide receivers, and nine picks heading into the weekend, it seemed the Bills might be a bit bigger wheelers and dealers.

Instead, the Bills were somewhat predictable, and their typical completely unpredictable selves.

Aaron Maybin’s name had been thrown out there as a possible first round pick for the Bills. So that was not too much of a surprise. But most felt that OT was one of the more glaring, pressing needs for the team, and they didn’t draft a single player who was primarily an offensive tackle.

On the other hand, the Bills have a core of four really solid CBs on their roster, yet they chose to spend their first pick in the second round, and their fifth round selections on more cornerbacks? Really?

They did address the TE position by landing a fairly highly rated player in Shawn Nelson, but must not have found who they were looking for at LB, as the only player they found at that position actually played safety in college.

Well, let’s take a look at each guy the Bills added, and their potential fit with this roster.

1 – DE Aaron Maybin – Penn State

At the scouting combine, defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, hinted that the Bills might not necessarily be looking for a starter at defensive end, but more likely a pass rushing specialist. He emphasized that the NFL game is very specialized nowadays, so you can afford to spend draft picks on specialty players.

And that is just what the Bills did.

The Bills anticipate Maybin being a third down/passing situation specialist, coming in to add some pressure on the quarterback—something the Bills have been pretty bad at for a few years now. They’re hoping to get 10 sacks or so out of Maybin, plus having a healthy Aaron Schobel back (plus Stroud and Williams in the middle, as well as a healthy rotation of other players on the D-line). They see Maybin as a “piece of the puzzle.”

They needed pass-rushing help on the defensive line, and they are hopeful they found it in Maybin, a player they had their eyes on at the top of the draft.

Read more on Aaron Maybin at

1 – C Eric Wood – Louisville

This one was perplexing. OT Michael Oher—a great story, and most feel a great player, at a position the Bills really need—was still available only a few picks earlier. The Bills could have moved up to get him. OT Eben Britton was still available. Lots of tackles were still available. Instead, the Bills draft a player listed as a center, which is a position they already addressed (first signing, I believe?) in free agency with Geoff Hangartner. Very strange move indeed.

Can look at this a few ways. First, Eric Wood is a very good, solid lineman. He will be a good player. We could use more good offensive linemen, to be sure. So, perhaps he was just the best option available. The Bills were definitely looking to get some more help at guard, but not necessarily center. So, it’s still perplexing.

Maybe Hangartner was not their first choice as a center? Competition is always good… maybe they just wanted to make sure they had two guys they could count on to push each other at the center position? Maybe.

If you take the Bills at their word, they just really liked Wood, and they like the fact that he’s both a center and a guard. At 6’4″ 310, he’s a pretty big fella. They intend to play him at guard (presumably left guard, vacated by the released Derrick Dockery) but really like that they can use him at center if they need to.

OK, I buy it.

My favorite part about Eric Wood (besides the fact that he’s from Cincinnati, land of my genealogical roots) is the following quote:

“It’s all about flipping the switch when you go out on the field,” said Wood. “You can do things on the football field that are severely illegal on the streets. I just kind of flip that switch and try to take it to people on the field. I’m a finisher. The fun part is knocking people down and punishing the guy you’re going against. That’s the joy of football to me.”

Read more on Eric Wood at

2 – CB Jairus Byrd – Oregon

OK, I’ll admit it. This one floored me. At least as much as when they chose Donte Whitner at the 8th spot overall. The jury is still out (at least a little) on our friend Donte. Perhaps most evident in the fact that they are moving him to a different position this year, to see if that’s a better fit. I’ll admit it turned out better than I thought, but a CB?? With their second round pick???

If you read my previous articles you’ll see that CB was specifically one of the positions that I said would be a “shocking” choice should the Bills choose to go that way. Well, they did, and I was.

Upon reading further, I discovered that they intend to use this college cornerback as a safety on their roster. That put my mind a bit more at ease as the safety position is a bit more in flux. But still, what about the left tackle?

The thing I like so far is that he is a playmaker. Had 17 INTs in his college career. The Bills are looking for playmakers, and I guess they feel they found one in Byrd.

Read more on Jairus Byrd at

2 – OL Andy Levitre – Oregon

In their most exciting move of the draft, the Bills traded their third round pick and one of their fourth round picks to move back into the second round at pick #51 and selected… an offensive lineman! Good move!

And, he’s even listed as a G/T! (That is almost like drafting a tackle!)

The Bills obviously like this guy as they gave up two picks to get him. He has decent size, 6’3″ 305. (But more suited to playing guard in the NFL.)

And what I’m noticing even more is that they are really into this “two for one” concept. So far, the Bills have drafted a CB who is a S, a C who is a G, and now a T who is a G (and a T). (Perhaps they feel the more letters they can list next to a player’s name, the better he will be?)

Read more on Andy Levitre at

day TWO

4 – TE Shawn Nelson – Southern Miss

Most are rating this pick one of (if not the) best values of the 2009 draft class for the Bills. Nelson was projected to go in the second or third round, so the Bills being able to land him late in the 4th round was quite a good deal. Especially considering the vacancy they apparently had at TE by releasing last year’s starter, Robert Royal.

Nelson is a pass-catching TE whom Bills scouts say should be able to help the passing game immediately. He’s got good size at 6’5″ 240, but needs work on his blocking. The Bills were really lacking a TE in the passing game, though, so Nelson seems like a pretty good fit. Good pick up at round four.

Read more on Shawn Nelson at

5 – S Nic Harris – Oklahoma

And, here they go again. Now, as I said earlier, I expected the Bills would look to add a safety at some point in this draft. So, that part is not unexpected. BUT, adding their second S is pretty unexpected.

Until you remember this is the “Year of the Utility Player”.

This college safety is projected to play linebacker in the NFL, and that’s just what the Bills intend to do with him. Linebacker is a position of need for the Bills, so again, this seems to be a good fit for their needs. But why are they drafting these guys who have more experience at a different position than the Bills plan to use them in? Perplexing.

Harris has speed, smarts, and is a good tackler. The Bills are counting on him also being a quick study at his new position. Don’t expect him to be the other starting LB opposite Kawika Mitchell, but he has enough upside to add some depth to the unit.

Read more on Nic Harris at

6 – CB Cary Harris – Souther Cal

OK, this is getting weird. Not only are the Bills drafting players who are not experienced at their positions (hoping they’ll “pick up” the position they want them to play) they are also STILL DRAFTING DEFENSIVE BACKS! I really don’t understand this pick.

First of all, this Harris (unrelated to the previous Harris, as far as I know) is only 5’11” 187. Do we need another smurf on the team?? Second… he’s a cornerback!!! He doesn’t have great speed, there are questions about his “durability”… I honestly don’t know what he has, or why we picked him when we already have Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Ashton Youboty, Reggie Corner, Drayton Florence, and now even Jairus Byrd from earlier in the draft.

“He’s an ultra competitive kid. He really paid his dues playing in a big time conference,” said Bills scout Rashaan Curry. “He started over 30 games and is a really competitive kid. He’s probably average size, but he’s of a tougher brand”

Ooohh… That’s why.

Read more on Cary Harris at

7 – DB Ellis Lankster – West Virginia

OK, at this point, it’s either a really bad joke, or, the Bills staff knows something we don’t know about the current group of DBs on our roster. Regardless, with their final pick of the draft, the Bills selected another defensive back. That makes four. (The Bills are calling it three, but that’s because they are counting Nic Harris as a LB already. Even though he’s not yet.)

Are they planning to not renew Terrence McGee’s contract? Is McKelvin a bust? Youboty? I know Dick Jauron was a defensive back, but… enough already!

This selection is as baffling as the previous one in that Lankster is 5’9″ 191 pounds, and they are going to ask him to cover guys like Randy Moss. Nice.

Read more on Ellis Lankster at

One thing that I did consistently see in all of the selections the Bills made (at least, their scouts’ reports about the selections) is that they were looking for smart players, with good instincts who are also good tacklers. And, throw in a competitive mean streak as well. That seemed to be how they described most of the guys. They were not too concerned with the “measurables” as they call them. They just wanted good football players, whatever position.

If I had to grade this draft, just based on finding players to fill positions of need, I’d give it a C- at best. At best.

I hope I’m wrong, and these players turn out to be just what the Bills need. I like Wood. I didn’t at first, since he’s listed as a center, but I think he’s a good fit. I think I like Maybin… will have to see him play at the NFL level. And I like Shawn Nelson. I think he’ll help the offense right away from the sounds of it.

Overall, even though Trent Dilfer says the Bills were big draft winners, I don’t see it. I don’t like taking guys who didn’t play the position, hoping they’ll work into it. I don’t like not getting another OT. I don’t like taking four DBs (mostly CBs!) when you already have 5 on your roster, four who are pretty good (one unknown). Mostly, unfortunately, I don’t like it.

Time will tell, of course. And, I can’t wait to see it all actually play out on the field.

Rookie mini-camp this weekend, then some more OTAs… training camp will be here before you know it!

Bring it on!

Current Bills Draft Offseason Players Transactions

Draft Weekend Is Coming: Assessing the Buffalo Bills Defense

Continuing from the previous article where we looked at the Buffalo Bills offense, position by position, where they are solid, as well as where their biggest needs are … let’s take a look at the defense.

The defensive line has been much maligned over the past seasons for lack of pass rush (and previously, a lack of run stopping) and still remains one of the biggest questions on the team. This will almost definitely be a position the Bills address in the draft, especially since they did not address it in free agency.

Aaron Schobel will return after missing most of 2008 with a foot injury. He did not need surgery to repair it, so he should be ready to go when the team comes back together for training camp. He has been a solid pass rusher in the past, but production has tailed off since his Pro Bowl season in 2006. He will be 32 years old this season, so age along with returning from a fairly serious injury mean there are probably more questions surrounding Schobel than answers.

After Schobel, the Bills have a few average-to-good DEs. Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney are often maligned for not getting enough pass rush pressure, and are mostly deserving of that criticism. Chris Ellis was a third round pick last year who did have some special teams success, but perhaps wasn’t as noticeable as the coaches may have liked on defense. But he figures to be a factor on the 2009 team.

Then there’s a list of guys who so far have only been mediocre at best. Ryan Neill has the added advantage of being the team’s long snapper, then we find Corey Mace, Bryan Copeland, and Marcus Smith. Certainly none of those guys would make the Bills’ brass think, “Boy, we’re set at defensive end!!”

It would be quite surprising, even shocking, if the Bills do not address the DE position specifically in the 2009 draft.

The middle of the line has a couple bright spots. First, the Bills signed big man Marcus Stroud to a nice contract extension this offseason. He is happy to be here, and definitely is a presence in the middle, even if he doesn’t have the stats. He is a player the opposing team must account for. His DT partner is Kyle Williams. Williams has that “motor that never stops” and just seems to make things happen. He’s still a little undersized, but he’s produced pretty well for the Bills since joining the team in 2006.

After the starters there is John McCargo, who was traded to the Colts last season, then sent back! He’s got talent, but doesn’t seem like it’s ever worked out for him. Not really counting on him for much in 2009 accordingly. Spencer Johnson is the other DT on the roster. Johnson came over in free agency last season, along with Stroud, and is a solid backup.

As with the DE position though, the Bills are definitely in need of help on the defensive line. If they draft an interior defensive lineman, it will be to add depth, and will likely mean they have given up on McCargo. (They may have already done that, as demonstrated by trading him away last season.) Either way, the Bills may choose to add two defensive lineman in this draft. DE and DT.

But, no doubt about it, there will be a defensive lineman added this weekend.

The Bills were pursuing a veteran linebacker in free agency this offseason. It doesn’t seem like they landed the guy they really wanted yet, which could mean that we’ll see a LB among the 2009 Bills’ draft class.

2007 starter, Angelo Crowell, signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after missing all of 2008 with a nagging injury. He was a promising young player, and already was a loss to the Bills defense in 2008. There are a few options to fill his spot. After the other two starting LBs: Kawika Mitchell and MLB Paul Posluszny, the Bills have some solid depth in newly re-signed Keith Ellison, and Alvin Bowen who missed all of his rookie season last year with an injury. Ellison has lots of experience as a starter, and Bowen has some great athleticism and potential.

Add John DiGiorgio, Blake Costanzo, and even John Corto and Marcus Buggs to the mix as mainly special teams contributors, and you have a position where the Bills seem to be fairly solid.

So why were they courting so many LBs in free agency?

They did sign MLB Pat Thomas from the Kansas City Chiefs. Not an earth shattering announcement, but does show that there is a perceived need there. The real need is for a clear starter opposite Kawika Mitchell at OLB. Will that be Bowen? It will not likely be Ellison, unless nothing else pans out. Might the Bills spend a draft pick on another OLB? It’s either that, or they may make a trade for an outside linebacker, or pick someone up after the draft weekend is over.

However it happens, I don’t think the Bills are satisfied with their current roster of LBs.

The Bills lost last year’s starting CB Jabari Greer to the New Orleans Saints in free agency this offseason. They were prepared for such an event, and signed San Diego free agent CB Drayton Florence. Florence will be a solid depth player, as CB is perhaps one of the positions where the Bills are the most talented.

By the end of last season, the starters were Terrence McGee and rookie Leodis McKelvin. Both players are very talented. Solid starters. And, many seem to forget, before he was injured again last season, Ashton Youboty was having a very good season. He’s a very solid nickel back. Add the promising play of Reggie Corner to that crew, and it would be at least a little surprising if the Bills draft a CB in 2009.

Safety is a bit different. Donte Whitner is officially moving to free safety, a position he played toward the end of last season. Bryan Scott did well at strong safety – and is a bigger guy, better fit there – so he is slated to be the starter at that position. The Bills may be shopping last year’s starter FS Ko Simpson, so he may or may not return. After those three, there are some special teams standouts who also add valuable depth to the defensive backfield: George Wilson and John Wendling.

Just as with the cornerbacks, it would be a little surprising if the Bills drafted a safety. But with some shifting of positions and a possible trade… there is a possibility that the bills would add defensive backfield help, perhaps in the later rounds.

Special teams remains one of the strengths of the Buffalo Bills. From the special teams coach of the year, Bobby April, to great return guys like McKelvin, McGee and Parrish (and apparently Jackson as well!) to perhaps the most consistently good player on the team, punter Brian Moorman. Kicker Rian Lindell is no slouch, either. This unit is solid, and will likely remain mostly the same. As opposed to the 2008 offseason, they did not see a massive overhaul of their players. Most of the unit are returning, which should be a very good thing for the Bills and their fans.

Final Thoughts
The Buffalo Bills still have lots of questions. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the team after the signing of future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens. The other additions should add to the success of the team, too. And, they do have the #11 pick in the draft, which could be a really good player.

Overall, if the Bills didn’t trade any of their nine picks, I’d see the Bills taking three offensive linemen, two defensive lineman, a linebacker, a tight end, and two more guys at any position as special teams players. The Bills will likely make some draft day trades, however, so they won’t use all nine of those picks this year.

However it all shakes out, it promises to be an exciting year of Buffalo Bills football!

Is it August yet??

Current Bills Draft Offseason Players

Draft Weekend Is Coming: Assessing the Buffalo Bills Offense

With only two days until the clock actually starts ticking on the Buffalo Bills 2009 draft, I wanted to take a look position by position at who the 2009 Bills are shaping up to be. We have all heard the experts predicting whom they believe the Buffalo Bills will select in the draft, what holes they need to fill, and even possible trades. And they could be right. But let’s look through the roster and see just where the Bills may be looking to improve.

Potential Trades
Let’s get this out of the way first. There are a few players whose names are being mentioned as possible draft day trade fodder. Roscoe Parrish is a big one. When Terrell Owens joined the club, there was a possibility that Parrish was on the outside of the bubble looking in. While he is incredibly productive on special teams (league-leader in punt return average in 2007, second in 2008) and consistently provides good field position for the offense, his production on offense hasn’t been what the Bills had hoped. (It’s interesting to note, by the way, that #1 on the list for average yards per punt return was Buffalo’s Fred Jackson with 16.6 yards/return as compared to Roscoe’s 15.3/return. He did that on only a third of the returns that Parrish had, however.)

So, the Bills could potentially move Parrish, but I would think if they did it would be for a pretty good price. He may be near the edge of the bubble as a WR for this team, but I recall a Wall of Fame Buffalo Bill WR who consistently made the team for his contributions on special teams, despite being at the edge of the bubble for his offensive production…

Another player named in possible trades is Ko Simpson, who has lost his starting FS job to the recently-shifted SS Donte Whitner. Simpson is a good player, but was a bit small for the defensive scheme the Bills want to run.

And of course, we all know that Buffalo’s prima donna OT, Jason Peters, was traded for three draft picks from the Philadelphia Eagles. The picks were not as high as I thought they might get for a “two-time Pro Bowler”, but in my estimation, it’s a good move. The Bills can use the two picks this year to add depth, or potentially package them to make a move on draft day.

It might be an interesting weekend just in the wheeling and dealing alone!

J.P. Losman is finally not part of the equation at QB for the Bills, so they went out and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bengals’ starter last season (when Carson Palmer was injured most of the season). Interesting move, but perhaps Fitzpatrick is a similar player to Edwards, so there is consistency there should Edwards go down with an injury. I had thought they would add a QB with more experience, as there were many out there, but Fitzpatrick it is.

Gibran Hamdan will be returning, and Matt Baker is still on the roster somewhere. Will the Bills pursue a QB in the draft? Probably not. But I do still like Drew Willy, quarterback of the University at Buffalo Bulls in 2008. Would be a cool local story, and he definitely has skills. The Bills wouldn’t take him till very late, and I’d imagine he’d be gone before that.

Marshawn Lynch is apparently appealing his three-week suspension, but the Bills are counting on not having their star running back for the first part of the season. They made a move to ensure some stability there by finally signing the veteran RB they have been seeking since the start of Free Agency. Being turned down by Fred Taylor and Kevin Jones (likely among other candidates) they finally were able to procure the services of Dominic Rhodes. Rhodes will probably occupy the third spot on the depth chart, but will get lots more playing time in the absence of Lynch to start the season.

Fred Jackson is also a bit of a question as he is unhappy with his contract negotiations. He is restricted free agent, I believe, and they are still crunching numbers to get him a new contract. The Bills need to pay the man. He has turned into a super reliable compliment to Lynch, and well, they just need to pay their players!

Assuming Jackson is signed and happy, the Bills are really strong at RB. Marshawn Lynch (Pro Bowler last season, actually, leading rusher in the Pro Bowl, too!) and Fred Jackson, and now Dominic Rhodes… that’s a pretty good trio. Add the potential Xavier Omon has (but has not shown at the NFL level as of yet) and they even have the hard working Bruce Hall on their roster. I’d be surprised to see the Bills select a RB in the draft at all, but if they did, it would be late.

As I mentioned above, the Bills are chock full at this position. Lee Evans signed a big contract extension last year. Terrell Owens, while only here for a year, well, we know what he is capable of. That’s quite a tandem already. Add in Josh Reed back in the slot where he belongs, and he’s likely even better at being “Mr. First Down”, as we like to call him.

Then you have the aforementioned Roscoe Parrish, with his explosive possibilities, and I haven’t even mentioned James Hardy and Steve Johnson! Hardy, the Bills second-round pick in 2008, is returning from an injury and with a year of NFL experience—he has the tools—should be a contributor on this team. Johnson actually produced more than Hardy last year, so don’t count him out of the mix.

The Bills also have Justin Jenkins, Felton Huggins and CJ Hawthorne on the roster. Jenkins and Huggins are big contributors on special teams coverage units, and decent WRs.

Obviously, not all of these guys will be here when the roster is trimmed down to the final 53. You can’t keep nine receivers on a team. The likely candidates would seem to be the last two I mentioned, but Bobby April may say otherwise. That really lends credence to the Parrish trade rumors.

It will be shocking if the Bills add a WR on draft weekend. I’ll go ahead and say right now… they will not!

For a few years now, Bills fans have been complaining about the tight end position on their team. Perhaps the last player we had at this position that really made any impact was Jay Riemersma, and he played with Doug Flutie… so it’s been a while.

The Bills released last year’s starting TE Robert Royal just as the free agency period opened, so that leaves three TEs on the roster: Derek Schouman, Derek Fine, and (Derek) Jonathan Stupar. (He should be named Derek, apparently…) Fine showed some promise last year, and Shouman is a “fine” special teamer, so those guys will make the roster, but are they impact players? Do they make a difference to this offense?

I don’t know anything about Stupar, so we’ll just assume he’s roster depth at this point, that may not even make the team?

The Bills reportedly tried to make a deal for future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez, but that fell through, with reports saying he just didn’t want to come to Buffalo. His loss.

Now that they have also signed T.O. – who is a bigger WR – do they really need a big play-making TE? Some argue that T.O. was more successful in Dallas because of the great play of Dallas TE Jason Whitten. Another great player can’t hurt, but who’s to say that by adding T.O. to the offensive mix, you don’t automatically free up one of the Dereks to make chain-moving plays across the middle? Defenses have to already cover Evans, Owens, Reed, Lynch, Jackson… that may leave these TEs more open than they have been in the past?

Still, I would not be surprised to see the Bills take a TE in this year’s draft. I don’t think it’s as big a need as some (who think we should spend our #11 pick on a TE) but it couldn’t hurt.

This is probably the biggest question mark on the team. Most people are now focusing on the trade of Peters, and the hole that leaves at what is considered the most important spot on the line, LT. But don’t forget, the Bills released last year’s starting LG, Derrick Dockery, just before free agency began, and they have not attempted to re-sign either of their centers from last year, Melvin Fowler and Duke Preston. That means the entire left side of the line will be different at the start of the 2009 season.

The Bills did re-sign OT Kirk Chambers. They also brought in C Geoff Hangartner from Carolina, and OL Seth McKinney from Cleveland. Not the most sought-after guys, but the Bills are happy with Hangartner for sure.

What does that mean for the whole O-line? At the end of last season, the line left to right was: Jason Peters, Derrick Dockery, Duke Preston, Brad Butler, Langston Walker. Now it looks as though it might be: Langston Walker/Kirk Chambers, Kirk Chambers/Demetrius Bell, Geoff Hangartner, Brad Butler, Demetrius Bell/Kirk Chambers. The only player who remains the same is RG Brad Butler. Every other position has a new player in it. Every one.

That’s not good. There is no doubt the Bills need a larger pool of guys to select from not only for the starters on this unit, but also depth players. This is definitely a position the Bills will address in the draft, and maybe even with the top pick at #11. There are some great players available. Michael Oher, Andre Smith (No, not Big Dre from the BBR!) are two names at the top. But so far every player who has greatness also seems to have some “baggage”.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills go after one of the “big name” OLs, but I’d look for them to add up to 3 guys with their middle to high round picks. They need lots of help at this position, so it may be a “boring” draft of just picking the big, no-name guys. (Who you really need on your team if you want to win!)

Stay Tuned…
That covers the offensive side of the ball, but there’s a whole other side of the team that the Bills will definitely be addressing. In fact, I’d say we’ll see more defensive players selected (other than offensive linemen, really) in the 2009 draft than offensive players.

Will post the remainder of the article tomorrow, the state of the Bills defense.

Current Bills Games

A Game of Inches

Football is a game of inches. Inches turn into feet and feet turn into yards. And yards, of course, turn into what feels like miles.

But it all starts with inches.

Looking back on the Buffalo Bills mid-season slump, it’s easy to see how Bills fans can feel like this team is just plain awful. The turnover difference alone was abysmal. Minus 11 over the six game stretch where they were 1-5. But add to that the apparent ineptitude of the run game, as well as the general lack of production from the offense… and you have some sizable “inches”.

The problem is, from a slightly different perspective, you can see how it really is about the inches.

Take for example, the game against the Jets. If all things were equal – meaning Trent gets injured on play number three of the Cards game, and the Bills are stunned by the Fish, and they remain befuddled by Belichick’s gameplans, and they even lose a very winnable game to the hapless Browns – winning just one game in which they were very competitive, they would be in a tie for first place in the AFC East, instead of two games out. Just by winning that one game.


Remember that game? The Bills had the ball for fifteen straight minutes. Game minutes, not clock minutes. They moved into the red zone once and, thanks to good pressure from the Jets and a receiver slipping, the ball went the other way for seven points. The next time, thanks to a couple very questionable spots, the Bills could not get a first down deep in the Jets territory. Two long drives, zero points.

Add to that the crazy play by Leon Washington to step out of bounds and then touch the ball that was still IN BOUNDS in order to get the Jets the ball at the 40 rather than inside their own 10. Or, the Bills inability to stop the Jets on the final drive of the 4th quarter where they took off a big chunk of time and posted three more points. (Credit the Jets on that one.)

But for a few key plays, the Bills could have won that game, and been in a much different position than they find themselves in now.

Now they are 0-3 in their division. If they have any hopes of advancing to the playoffs, they will need to win the rest of the games they play in the AFC East. At the New York Jets, “home” against the Dolphins (in Toronto), and then home against the Patriots in the final week of the season. None of those will be easy, but the Bills certainly can compete in each of those games.

If we’re talking inches, don’t forget that the Bills were stunned by Miami’s Ted Ginn Jr. who had the game of his life when they last met. Even with Ginn’s stunning performance, the Bills had clawed back to take a 16-7 lead in the third quarter. But one player – Josh Reed – went down with a serious injury, and the offense began to sputter. One player was hobbled by an injury – Terrance McGee – and that deficiency was exploited… greatly.

But for a few different plays, a different player, a few different calls, an NFL season can look very, very different altogether. Just ask the San Diego Chargers. Losers of four games in the final 26 seconds of those games… they are a pitiful 4-7 this season, but could very well be 8-3. That’s a very big difference.

Every game in the NFL is critical. Wins and losses matter more in football than in any other sport I can think of. With only 16 games per season, and only 6 games total against the other teams in your division, it’s almost essential you win every game! The Bills have been sloppy at points (Miami, Cleveland) and unlucky in others (Arizona, NY Jets) and now they are stuck with a 6-5 record, and still on the outside edge of the proverbial playoff bubble.

Every year, players and fans can look back at “what might have been” but in the end, that really never helps. The Jets game is over, and the Bills lost. The difference is first to last place, from just one game, but you can’t get it back. Now the Bills can only look forward, and hope to win every game they play. 10-6 may not be good enough to make the playoffs this year.

Actually, 11-5 might miss the playoffs!

If the Bills won all the rest of their games – finishing 11-5 – the Jets would lose one, to the Bills, but could win the rest of theirs, to finish 12-4. The Patriots would only be able to finish 11-5, by virtue of of a loss to the Bills, and the Fins could only finish 9-7, again, after a loss to the Bills, and assuming they lose to the Jets in week 17. What could keep the Bills out of the playoffs is if Indy and Baltimore also win the rest of their games, to both go 12-4 and grab the two wild card spots! What a crazy scenario that is!

A better scenario for Bills fans would be for the Jets to lose to the Dolphins, and finish 11-5 at best, and then the Bills would win the division based on the better conference record (would be 8-4). That would send the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999!

But any way you slice it, thanks to this game of inches… the Bills need help. They can’t make the playoffs on their own. They have to do their share (beating all three division opponents at least, and probably Denver, too, if not all five games) but even if they can accomplish that, they won’t be in the playoffs unless other teams falter.

How does it always end up this way?

Somehow, the Bills need to find a way to get on the other side of the ruler. We’re only talking a matter of inches.

Current Bills Games

Open Letter to the Buffalo Bills

To Whom It May Concern
Re: The recent Bills slump
From: A concerned Bills Fan

A recent series of events has led me to compose this letter to you, as it seems you may be in need of some outside guidance. I have been a fan and long-time supporter of your organization, dating back a couple decades now, and though I concede that you have more knowledge and experience in the proverbial “Xs” and “Os” of your profession, I do have a few recommendations that might be worth your consideration, and perhaps would improve the results of your weekly efforts.

First, congratulations on the fantastic beginning to this season. 4-0 is nothing to sneeze at, nor is 5-1 following a superb, complete victory over a very fine football team in the San Diego Chargers. In the first six games, and perhaps that game in particular, what I saw as an outside onlooker seemed to be a never-say-die attitude, and a strong desire (and confidence) on every play and on every series and in every quarter. You looked like winners.

The same can not be said of the past two games.

Every team experiences “slumps.” That is the nature of sport. One team wins, and another loses. The difference between the two is minor in detail, but feels much more “major” on the scoreboard and in the standings. Lately, besides poor execution on a handful of plays (which may or may not have impacted the final score of those games) there has been – to me – a significant shift in attitude.

Mind you, I am not talking about work-ethic or effort put forth on the field each play. I am only talking about the mindset, the “aura”… that apparent confidence and swagger that this team had early in the 2008 season that they were not only good enough to win, and that they could win, but that they were going to win. After a sloppy start in Miami (coupled with a tremendous start by their team) your team – the Bills – seemed to be hesitant, tentative, pushing, and … playing not to lose.

Sometimes, in a slump, no matter how hard you try not to lose, you still lose. In hockey, you can generate all the chances you used to have, but they ring off the goal post, or the goalie stands on his head to make a save he wouldn’t normally make. In baseball, your best hitters grip the bat a little tighter, and end up with stats worse than the guys who are usually at the bottom of your stat sheet. In basketball, even for your best player, the hoop can seemingly shrink to one size smaller than the ball itself.

But every team breaks out of a slump. It usually takes one thing going your way. I honestly thought it might be that ill-advised pass by Brett Favre yesterday. After so many things not going your way, I thought that might turn it around. But, giving credit to them, they put together a drive that finished off the game.

Slumps are very difficult to work yourself out of. Often, that makes it worse. In playing to break out of the slump (read: to not lose) your game gets tighter, your attitude shifts to a negative rather than a confident, positive swagger… and in tightening up, you lose.

This week, please remember that you are basically the same team that started this season. Every team deals with injuries, bad calls (both by your staff and the officiating crew) and other “breaks” that eventually balance out. But you can only control yourself. And mainly, you can only control your attitude. That attitude needs to be shifted back to the quiet confidence that you can – and will – win the game.

We’re back to one game at a time (not three division games, not five crucial conference games, just the game in front of you). There is a big game in six days and you all know you can win it. At least, you used to know that.

This week, work on fundamentals to be sure. Work hard in practice and work to correct mistakes from the past two games. Come up with a great game plan that uses your strengths and exploits their weaknesses. Those things all must be done. But most of all, as a team, remember that you can – and will – win the game when you take the field.

Next chance, 1:00pm on Sunday, November 9th.

Current Bills Games Players

Mr. First Down

Josh Reed, Mr. First DownLast week, as the Bills had (somewhat unimpressively) clawed their way to a 16-7 lead in Miami against a charged-up divisional opponent looking to topple the division leaders, they may have discovered just how much #82 brings to the table.

Over the years, Josh Reed has been much-maligned for his under production. After all, he was the Fred Biletnikoff award winner in 2001. When you are proclaimed the nation’s top receiver coming out of college, certainly much is expected.

But not much was seen. Bills fans did not see the numbers you might expect from such an award winner. In fact, the number that might have stood out the most was the number of times he dropped passes. “Don’t throw it to Reed,” shouted Bills’ faithful, “he’ll drop it!!!”

And indeed he did.

Still, #82 persisted on the Buffalo Bills roster. Bills coaches would consistently laud his superior blocking skills. He was an assett to the team’s run game. (But, shouldn’t a receiver be an asset to the passing game?) They would also say he is a great route runner. (OK, that’s a plus for a receiver, but then you have to also catch the ball!!!) Year after year, training camp would come and go and somehow, someway, Josh Reed continued to make the final roster.

But what happened over the last couple years has definitely swung the balance of many Bills fans allegiance in Reed’s favor.

Reed has become (a name I have dubbed him on the Buffalo Bills Review), Mr. First Down.

When the Bills need a clutch catch, Reed makes it. Reed is the one who gets open, makes the tough grab, fights off the tackles, and gets just enough yards for the first down. First, he often runs routes that get him open beyond the first down markers – something many receivers do not seem to understand. Second, he makes the catch – something he did not seem to previously understand. And third, he often gains tough yards after the catch to ensure he gets the first down.

Perhaps we saw his importance to the Bills offense somewhat amplified last week when, in the second half after the team lost him to an injury, the offense was seemingly incapable of sustaining drives. Thinking back to games earlier this season, many of the 4th quarter come from behind victories involved multiple catches by Mr. First Down to keep the chains moving.

Reed is not a big play (meaning long yardage) receiver. He doesn’t score many touchdowns. But he is an essential part of the Bills offense, and when he misses any time it will take a big effort from his replacements to fill his shoes. I’m not certain James Hardy, Justin Jenkins and all three tight ends can really do that.

They’ll get a chance to give it a try this week. Reed has not practiced this week (in fact, he was wearing an immobilizer boot on the ankle with the strained achilles) and looks very doubtful for the game Sunday.

The once-maligned, under-achieving receiver has become an essential (and greatly missed) piece of the Buffalo Bills offense. Nice job, Josh. You are forever in the mind of this Bills fan… the original…

Mr. First Down.

AFC East Bills History Current Bills

A Good QB Changes Everything

Trent Edwards, Buffalo BillsFollowing 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.

Maybe beyond.

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!

Most statistical data was obtained from Some current stats also found at

AFC East Current Bills Players

Instant Favorites

The Buffalo Bills find themselves in a very interesting position. After only one week of the 2008 NFL season, they are now being tagged by many as the favorite to win the AFC East division crown, by virtue of Tom Brady’s quick and unexpected exit.

Just a week ago, most fans would give the Bills a bit of credit, putting them at second place in a division that clearly belonged to the Patriots. That was a decent acknowledgment of the Bills’ potential, but other than me, I can’t remember anyone saying (publicly) that the Bills even had a chance at the division title. Some have even said that just by adding Favre, the Jets are in the race, and could finish the season in that far away, distant – almost consolation – second place spot.

While, as a Bills fan, I appreciate the collective nod that the media pundits are giving us (as an aside… can we all PLEASE agree that the word is pundit, not PUNDANT or PUNDINT?!!) I would also like to throw out this bit of rational caution.

One man does not a football team make.

Yes, Brady is something like 100-27 in his ridiculously (perhaps illegitimate… video gate?) career as a starter for the Pats. And yes, he has led them to many Super Bowls and division and conference titles. Definitely a key piece of the puzzle. But I think we might want to slow down here a bit before just handing the Bills the title. There is still a lot to prove on their end.

The other piece of this is that the Bills just shellacked the Seahawks, 34-10, in their opener. It was close for a while, but then the wheels fell off in the third quarter for the Seahawks. (Thanks in large part to good play-calling, and execution, from the Bills.) They really looked great on all sides of the ball. Defense and special teams were stellar, and after a slow start offensively, Edwards and gang picked it up and scored 20 points themselves.

So the Bills looked great against one of the top NFC teams (presumably so) and their nemesis, Tom Brady, is now out for the year. (My bold prediction that the Bills would beat the Pats twice this year is looking a little less bold…) And now the Bills are the “favorites”.

All I gotta say is, back to back 7-9 seasons… Dick Jauron has only had one winning season ever… lots of young players… unproven should be the banner over the tunnel entrance to the stadium for the Bills. There are just too many questions to slap them up there at the top.

But I must admit it’s kind of fun, as a long-time Bills fan. Nice to see our team getting some respect again.

They started to earn it this week against Seattle, and it continues next week in Jacksonville. That’s going to be a stiffer test for our run defense, as well as our offense. Jags will be hungry, and we are “UNPROVEN.”

Time to start proving.