By: Rob Lazlo
Additions, Departures, Big Questions & Key Match-ups
2009 Record: 6-10
2010 Prediction: 3-13
It’s a reality of every NFL season. For everyone who gets better, someone else is going to get worse – either a little worse or a whole lot. The Bills were pretty bad last year, and I think things go down before they start looking up. Playing in a tough division and with a harder-than-you’d-expect schedule for a last place team, I don’t see how the Bills can match even last year’s dismal 6-10. It’s going to be a long cold season in Buffalo.
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RB CJ Spiller (R), LB Andra Davis (FA), DL Torrell Troup (R), DL Dwan Edwards (FA), OT Cornell Green (FA)
WR Terrell Owens, DE Aaron Schobel, OG Richie Icognito, LB Chris Draft, WR Josh Reed, DE Ryan Denney, OT Jonathan Scott
Bright Spots: One of the few areas where the Bills are set is running back, where they feature CJ Spiller (not pictured), Fred Jackson & Marshawn Lynch
The Big Questions
1. Who’s going to be the quarterback? I don’t know how in the world the Bills emerged from this offseason without doing SOMETHING about the quarterback situation. The presumed starter, Trent Edwards, was not just bad last season, he was JaMarcus Russell bad. He was Cleveland Browns bad. He was Jake Delhomme bad. Another season of Trent Edwards has got to have Bills fans feeling like the team has already given up on 2009. Sitting behind Edwards are Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has career back up written all over him, and Brian Brohm, who is untested and who, I have to believe, if he had shown ANYTHING to the coaches up to now, would already be the starter. So who’s going to be the quarterback? Who cares. Whoever the Bills draft for 2011, or whatever free agent wanders into camp. Who’s going to be the quarterback? Jake Locker, Andrew Luck, Michael Vick or Kyle Orton. Anyone but who they’ve got now.
2. Are there are any areas where the Bills don’t suck? YES! There are two to be exact. The running back corps of rookie CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch is solid. Lynch looked like a feature back two years ago and he’s probably #3 out of that group. Bills fans are way high on Spiller, and they should be, except for the fact that the Bills went and drafted in the one area where they didn’t need help. It could pay off though. Spiller is a bona fide homerun hitter and in an offense unlikely to get much production out of the passing game, a big break-off run or two will be what they need to win. The other area where the Bills match up well is the secondary. The Bills have a very nice safety tandem in Donte Whitner and George Wilson and go legitimately four deep at corner. Buffalo’s defense was #2 against the pass last season and the secondary was a huge part of that (too bad the Bills are switching to a 3-4 this season and will likely get gored all season long as the defense adjusts).
3. What are the biggest weaknesses? Not to beat a dead horse, but QUARTERBACK. Also, receiver. Lee Evans is the only player on the entire roster anyone would worry about covering. The offensive line as a unit isn’t horrible, but the tackle position really is. The line backing corps isn’t bad, but the defensive line is mostly ill suited to the 3-4 and I think the switch is going to take its toll on the Bills LBs this season. There are just too many holes on both sides of the ball to imagine the Bills playing a complete 4 quarter game against any opponent better than, say, the Rams.
Week 3 @New England: The Bills managed to split with the Jets and Dolphins last season and nearly beat New England in the opener. I don‘t think their defense stands a chance against the Jets and Dolphins running games this year, but they might possibly put up enough of a pass defense to slow the Pats down and get a crack at beating them again. Don‘t count on it, but this is likely to be closer than their other divisional games this season.
Week 10 vs. Detroit: Who am I kidding? They’re not going to beat an improving Lions team in Detroit.
Week 14 vs. Cleveland. There are two really bad NFL teams that still need to add a young quarterback. The Bills and the Browns (unless the Browns are at this point sold on Colt McCoy). There are two such quarterbacks in college right now – Jake Locker and Andrew Luck. Let’s assume one of them has, by week 14 of the NFL season, played his way out of the first round. Is someone going to THROW this game? I say YES.