Buffalo Bills: Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for 2012
Owner Ralph Wilson has not been shy about throwing money around this offseason. He made the biggest splash in free agency outside of Peyton Manning when he paid Mario Williams a boatload of money to get after Tom Brady and the rest of the quarterbacks on the Bills' schedule.
Wilson also locked up running back Fred Jackson and wide receiver Stevie Johnson to contract extensions, this after locking up starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a long-term deal last year. It's clear that this set of "triplets," if you will, along with Williams and fellow free agent acquisition defensive end Mark Anderson, is expected to bring some big-time return-on-investment starting in 2012.
Not everything is looking forward in Buffalo, however, and that concerns me a bit. Any team bringing in Dave Wannstedt to coordinate its defense is a tad concerning. His scheme was successful in the 1990s with the Dallas Cowboys, and he has pretty much fallen out of favor since then around the NFL.
The one positive in this regard is that the Bills should have the personnel to run it.
The scheme requires the front four to get to the quarterback without blitzing (hence the Williams and Anderson pick-ups) and for the corners to play a bunch of press-man at the line. Rookie first-round pick Stephon Gilmore and fellow corner Aaron Williams should be up to the task, though Williams needs to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2011.
Of course, none of this means anything if the Bills don't get the version of Ryan Fitzpatrick they saw in the first half of 2011—not the one who finished the season. I tend to think we'll see the former.
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