Bills Practice Addition by Subtraction
The Buffalo Bills have made a big step in the right direction.
Did we secure Fred Taylor for a Marshawn Lynch insurance policy? No.
Did we make a run at one of the several big name receivers who are available? No.
We cut Robert Royal and Derrick Dockery.
Although the Bills are depleted at both positions, this was the first positive step of the off-season.
It is also a counter to the "consistency" policy that the organization cited when retaining Dick Jauron.
It turns out consistently poor performance can, in fact, be ground for pink slips at One Bills Drive.
Robert Royal has been a symbol of what has plagued the team through the past two seasons. Making a solid gain, but alas, fumbling the ball just as fans begin to think the tight end position might not be so bad.
Royal, along with Dockery came to the team via the Washington Redskins. With Chris Cooley in the fold Royal was expendable.
When the tight end arrived on the scene, it seemed as though his athleticism could be the answer to fans' prayers.
Excluding one good season by Jay Riemersma, it had been since the days of Pete Metzelaars since the Bills had a viable threat at the position.
Unfortunately it seemed the mental aspect of the game continuously eluded Royal. A key drop, fumble, and mix in the occasional personal foul after a third down conversion and you could sum up Royal's tenure with the Bills.
Derrick Dockery was the sure thing. The marquee free agent signing. Finally, in Marv Levy, there was management in place that understood the key to winning football games lies in the trenches.
Dockery was coming off of a very good year with the Redskins, prompting Buffalo to extend the largest offer for a guard. When he was paired with Langston Walker, Bills fans were to be transported back to the days of Will Woolford and Keith "house" Ballard.
With these pieces in place we were on our way.
Unfortunately, as often happens in sports, the player (Dockery) signs the big deal and struggles to produce. An average year in '07-'08 was partially hidden by outstanding play by his neighbor at tackle, Jason Peters.
When Peters signed late and seemed unprepared and out of shape early on, it brought the spotlight to Dockery, who at this point slightly resembled a turn-style.
It is possible that the poor performance by both lineman are closely related, but to be sure changes had to be made. Surprisingly it was Dockery, and his large cap hit, was the casualty.
Hopefully, this marks the change in philosophy desperately needed in Western New York.
Mediocrity will now not be tolerated in Orchard Park.
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