Buffalo Bills “Year in Review”

2012 Buffalo Bills “a year in review”

The Buffalo Bills are once again coming off another sub .500 season as the playoff drought continues.  After being the winners in the off-season and landing prize free agent Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, expectations were flying high.  Many fans went into the season with a play-offs or bust mentality and obviously so were GM Buddy Nix and team president Russ Brandon.  After another dismal 6-10 season Chan Gailey was relieved of his duties and rightfully so.  In Buddy Nix’s eyes he has tremendously improved the overall talent on this team and Gailey proved to be inadequate at getting this team over the hump.  Gailey who also gave long time friend Dave Wannstedt the DC job and his defense fell flat on its face.  One could argue that George Edwards’ defenses were better.  I myself thought Wannstedt was the right man for the job, boy was I wrong.  He installed a basic 43 base and relied on pressure from his front 4 and rarely blitzed or disguised anything he was doing. The QB’s and offenses are too good to let them know what, who, and where you’re coming from, and it was evident in the product on the field.  They played a read and react style of defense, in a time when exotic blitzes and disguised packages seem to be the only thing to slow down the most high powered offenses.

The offense again was average, coming off of a 14th overall rank, the players and the fans thought a top 10 finish was in the air, but they actually went backwards.  The emergence of CJ Spiller as a premier back, another solid 1,000 yards from Stevie Johnson and one of the leagues best offessive lines weren’t enough to mask Ryan FItzpatrick and Chan Gailey’s deficiencies.  Ryan Fitzpatrick proved without a shadow of a doubt he is a bottom third tier QB if not just a solid back up in this league.  He’s wildly inconsistent.  When he’s on he looks like a solid QB when he’s off he looks like JP Losman and Trent Edwards adopted a kid and taught him how to play football.  He misses open receivers far too often and he could never connect of big plays that could have solidified or even won a game for the Bills.  He got worse in the 4th quarter when it mattered most.  I am not letting Gailey off the hook here either.  I know he put us and Fitzpatrick in some very bad situations with his pass happy style.  He constantly relied on Fitzpatrick and didn’t use what he had at his disposal, and that was CJ Spiller.  Gailey came here in 2010 preaching that he wanted a scat back, quick as a water bug, well you wished and you received.  No one knows why he failed to utilize him more and take the pressure off of Fitzpatrick.  He put his coaching career on the shoulders of a 7th round back-up QB, instead of on the legs of a 9th overall pick and future pro-bowler in Spiller and it cost him is job, and ultimately cost him a chance to ever coach in this league again

THE GOOD:

CJ Spiller emerged as a premier RB in this league.  He’s fresh, due to his lack of workload and he’s hungry.  He’s a dynamic multi-threat RB that showed he can run in between the tackles and score from anywhere on the field.  What I also think goes unnoticed is how professional of a guy he is.  Every interview he always talks team first, always about winning and never about his own personal stats.  He truly is and can be the face of this franchise.  I thought the oline as a whole played well and I think we found our left tackle of the future.  Jarius Byrd returned to his pro-bowl form and Stephon Gilmore had a solid rookie campaign.  I believe there are players to build on, with this defense. Darues, Gilmore,  K. Williams, M. Williams, and Byrd.  I think Searcy and Bradham can be break out players next year.

THE BAD:

The bad? Well hard to find enough bad things about a team that lost 10 games and double digit losses in 3 straight years.  The Bills came  out of the gate and fell flat against the New York Jets, and seemingly never recovered.  New DC Dave Wannstendt had no answers and looks as if the game has passed him by.  He tried to play a base 43 and relied on his front 4 for pressure.  Thats all fine and dandy if it works, but Mr. Wannstedt kept with it, even when it wasn’t working.  Madden players make more in game adjustments that he did.  He never got creative, and never tried to fix what wasn’t working.  Instead, he stayed the course and it led him to the unemployment line.  The defense was epically bad this year,  giving up yards and points like like a high school team.  This couldn’t sit well with the front office who spent a majority of the past 3 off-seasons on the defense. Darues, Gilmore, Searcy, Moats, Batten, Troup, Carrington, White, Bradham, Aaron Williams, Shepard, K. Moore, M. Williams, M. Anderson, Barnett,  were all brought in to fix the defense, and it has not happened.  Now looking at those names, I wasn’t expecting a top 5 D, but there’s not reason thoe types of players couldn’t muster a top 20 or even 15 defense.  I’m not omitting the offense here either.  Ryan Fitzpatrick was a turn over machine yet again, and he proved to be what a lot of people thought he was; a back up.  He consistently turned the ball over in inopportune times, he consistently missed on big plays that could have changed the landscape of a game, perhaps the season, he consistently let the Bills down.  The only think Fitzpatrick was consistent at was being bad.  Chan Gailey on the other hand, though he had Montana in his prime.  He consistently put the game on Ryan’s shoulders, when clearly it wasn’t the right thing to do. He avoided using Spiller like any other coach in the league would’ve used him. He took him out in crucial situation and at crucial points in a game, and it backfired, which is why he’s joining his friend Dave Wannstedt in the unemployment line.  This team in my opinion wasnt a 10 or 11 win team, but they should’ve been an 8 or 9 win team. WHich is why Buddy Nix needed to make a change and he did.

TEAM NEEDS:

Although the Bills were 6-10 their needs are as substantial as many would like to think.  I have listed the top needs in order accordingly what is needed the most.

  1. QUARTERBACK – Now more than ever the Bills need to address the QB position in this years draft.  I understand there are no sure fire guys in this draft, but we’ve become desperate and we have to take a gamble.  The Bills will never find a QB unless they draft one.  Hopefully they find the right one and can move on from the Jim Kelly hangover that’s lasted 18 years.  I am of the opinion that this years draft lacks true superstars anywhere in the top 10, so this is the perfect year to reach for a QB.  SUre they may not be worth it, but who is?
  2. LINEBACKER – The Bills fro years have had a mediocre LB’ing core and it needs to be addressed.  WIth new DC Pettine planning on running a hybrid type of defense, the Bills must find top tier ILB and at least 1 pass rushing OLB. I know many think we need pass rushers too, but MArio Williams had 5 sacks in 5 games in an attacking 34 front in Houston.  I think Kyle Moore will also excel as a standing up pass rusher.  Kelvin Shepard has been a disappointment since coming here, but I’m eager to see him in an attacking defense, instead of a read and react defense. Mybe it works maybe not, but they still need to addrss ILB in a bad way.
  3. WIDE RECEIVER – I didn’t put this at 2 because I’m expecting them to address this need in free agency. They let Donal Jones and David Nelson walk, so the need is rising like a thermometer in hell.  They need in my opinion a number 1 type WR.  A big tall physical WR in which Stevie Johnson can compliment.  BIlls made it known they for see Stevie on the slot, and its a good fit there, but that means they need 2 outside WR.  Hello FA’cy and draft.  I’m hoping the Bills can steal DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson in round 2

 

Please chime in, and give us your thoughts.  I’ll be adding a 4th need soon which I’m currently debating between secondary and Tight End…

  1. #1 by Tuck on February 21, 2012 - 1:13 am

    A blonde in a tanning booth haha nice job Dave summon it up. I agree with a lot if not all of your points. I do see the need for a deep threat as a big priority on this team. Once teams caught on to Gailey half way through the season we were not able to adjust why? Cause nobody was scared of us bearing them over top. Kendall wright or Floyd could be a real possibility for us. I agree that d line is a proirity and I think you need to address that in fagency due to the college crop // weak//. Expect the unexpected and it all depends on what we do in fagency. We will get some players but won’t break the bank at least I hope we don’t. You pay your players who’ve worked hard for your org and add missing pcs that can grow into that type of player in free agency. I live for this shit go bills

  2. #2 by Frank on February 21, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    I hope we resign Stevie cause now I’m hearing Vincent Jackson is looking around that 12 mill a year range so if we can’t resign Stevie I don’t see us throwing that type of money around to someone else. I would say he’s our biggest priority right now followed by Urbik which I thought had a great under the radar type year. As far as free agency goes I hope we can land a Finnegan or maybe Cliff Avril from Detroit, I think we’ll make a run at Mario Williams but the money may get ridiculous. I love the points you guys make though and I gotta agree I really think injuries killed us especially with having zero depth. I look forward to this year with having all our injured guys back, another draft, free agents and I love the fact all the backups and rookies got the expierience playing. I hope we can add a burner also to this offense but remember we need our Qb to also show he can throw deep which he hasn’t. Is it the fact that we don’t have a burner or do teams stack the box because Fitz can’t throw deep???

    • #3 by fantasymock on February 21, 2012 - 5:23 pm

      Very good point about Fitzy I was going to bring that up, not only do you need a deep threat, your QB was put fear in tot he opposing team too, which his deep ball does not. I call Ftizy deep ball the Helium Ball, it floats like a balloon lol

  3. #4 by fantasymock on February 21, 2012 - 5:12 pm

    @tuck… Yes I agree the more and more i’m reading about the pass rushers the more discouraged i’m getting about one of them at 10. I would not mind a tackle or a WR at 10, but again, I think we are gonna grab a WR in FA’cy, or at least hoping we do and not have to waste that high of a pick on a WR. I also would not mind Courtney Upshaw, the more and more I read about him I like. The guy loves contact, he’s physical and nasty and probably the best all around LB in the draft. He’s good against the run and can rush the passer, maybe not elite in either, but at this point this defense needs all around types of players… I know he isn’t the most athletic guy in the draft, but sometimes guys are just good football players and this guy looks like a ball player…the type of guy any defense needs and wants. Upshaw will not make it past teams like the NYG, Steelers, or Ravens why? cause he is their type of guy…

    With that said I wouldn’t mind although don’t love the idea of a corner at 10 is that Dre Kirkpatrick, another Alabama product, and physically gifted corner, who is stout against the run and likes contact…

  4. #5 by fantasymock on February 21, 2012 - 5:19 pm

    About the WR and the deep threat, I agree we do need one, but at the same time I really think Fitzy’s cracked ribs played a big part in his downfall. Again not having a deep threat definitely hurts, because teams lined up 8 to 10 yards of the LOS and took away the quick slants and outs, but I still think his injury had a lot to do with it. If the BIlls resign Stevie I expect them to go after a Robert Meachum or a Mario Manningham type, someone who can get a deep an make plays. If they do not sign him I expect a Bowe or Vincent Jackson type plus another in the draft or another FA option

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