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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buffalo Bills 2010 Analysis and Preview

Last Years Record            6-10
Wins: Bucs, Jets, Pathers, Dolphins, Colts, Chiefs
Losses: Patriots (2x), Saints, Dolphins, Browns, Texans, Titans, Jaguars, Jets, Falcons
Biggest Playmaker            Jairus Byrd
FS, Oregon, Drafted #42, 2nd year
Jairus Byrd had a standout rookie season bringing in 9 interceptions, while only starting 11 games.  He was the one real bright spot for a team that struggled all year.
Impact Player            Lee Evans
WR, Wisconsin, Drafted #13, 7th year
Lee Evans had a tough year last year, but what do you expect when you have 3 different starting quarterbacks, a coach fired in the middle of the season, and Terrell Owens as your other receiver?  Lee has been an impact player for the Bills even though he has never had stability or a great offense around him.
Biggest Free Agent Addition            Andra Davis
ILB, Florida, Drafted #141 , 9th year
With the Bills switching to the 3-4 defensive scheme this year they needed some veteran help at linebacker.  Andra will fit in nicely at ILB alongside Paul Posluszny.  Andra is a consistent player who is good for 90+ tackles a year and will help the Bill’s smoothly transition into their new defense. 
Biggest Offseason Loss            Terrell Owens
WR, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Drafted #89, 15th year
Some may see losing Terrell Owens as addition by subtraction, but the fact of the matter is that Terrell led the Bills in both receptions and receiving yards.  Couple that with the fact that they lost their number 3 receiver in Josh Reed and you are looking at a very thin receiving core.
Biggest Draft Steal            Alex Carrington
DE, Arkansas St. Drafted #72, Rookie
At 6’5” 285 lbs. Alex will be a perfect fit as a defensive end in the 3-4.  He is solid against the run and will be able contribute right away.
Biggest Draft Reach            C.J. Spiller
RB, Clemson, Drafted #9, Rookie
C.J. Spiller was one of my favorite players in the draft, extremely versatile, a playmaker, and he could be drafted by any team and help out right away.  With that being said, this was still a bad pick.  The Bill’s do not have a very good team and there is not a lot of depth at many positions.  They already have Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, two good backs, and their biggest needs were at Quarterback and Offensive line. 
Offseason Grade            D-
Last year the Bill’s luckily went 6-10, they had no true number one QB and a poor offensive line.  They had a chance to draft Jimmy Clausen, but ended up unthinkably passing on him twice and not selecting a QB until the 7th round.  They let up 46 sacks last year and lost some lineman, yet did not pick up an offensive lineman until the 5th round.  They are switching to the 3-4 defense this year and instead of going out and getting a true nose tackle they are switching Kyle Williams, a guy that has only been a 3-technique DT, to nose tackle.  Basically this offseason they did not address any of their biggest needs.  It would be very hard to envision the Bills having a better season then last year.
X-Factor            QB Position
The biggest question is who is going to step up and emerge as the Bill’s starting QB.  The Bills have Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, and rookie Levi Brown on their roster, all unproven starters.
Name You Should Know            Aaron Schobel
DE/OLB, TCU, Drafted #46, 10th year
Aaron has had a very good career in Buffalo, posting over eight sacks six times in his career and is one of those players that can really turn it on in some games.  He would probably be more recognized if he wasn’t playing in Buffalo.  It will be interesting to see how Aaron transitions from defensive end, which he has played his whole career, to the OLB position in the 3-4.
Rising Star            Jairus Byrd
FS, Oregon, Drafted #42, 2nd year
It is rare to see a rookie defensive back come in and make such an impact on defense in his first year.   Especially a guy like Jarius who was a 2nd round pick, undervalued because of a poor combine (ran only a 4.60 in the 40) and only started because of injuries.  It will be fun to watch Jairus develop in the coming years.
Offensive Outlook            D
This is a QB driven league and not having a true number one QB, or at least a guy they can develop and build a team around, is a huge mistake.  They do have 3 very good running backs, so they have some possibilities on offense.
Defensive Outlook            C+
They have some good young talent on their defense, but switching to the 3-4 is a tough transition especially without the right personnel.  I think the biggest mistake they are making is not getting a true nose tackle.  There is a reason that guys like Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton, Aubrayo Fraklin, and Kris Jenkins are so coveted, because the position is very difficult to play.  You cannot just throw a guy in there for the first time and expect him to succeed.  
Special Teams Outlook            A-
They just drafted in one of the best college special teams players in a long time, in C.J. Spiller. The return game should be very exciting to watch with him back there.  P Brian Moorman, and K Rian Lindell are two of the best at their positions after considering they have to play in the brutal weather in Buffalo.
Projected 2010 Record            4-12
I think that a projection of 4-12 is very generous.  The only way I can see them winning more games than they did in 2009 is if Ryan Fitpatrick or Trent Edwards has a great year, and the defense transitions well into their new scheme.  In another division they may be able to squeak out some more wins, but they are playing in potentially the toughest division in the NFL, and will have to play the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins twice.  I think they would be lucky to go 1-5 against them.   

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