2009 Buffalo Bills: Will They Break the 7-9 Curse?

Mike BurnsContributor IMay 7, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 28:  Trent Edwards #5 of the Buffalo Bills waits to walk on the field before the game against the New England Patriots on December 28, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Last year, we saw a Buffalo Bills team come out of the gate swinging. A 4-0 record, including three come-from-behind victories against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams, left the fans feeling that this was our year.

But after beating the San Diego Chargers to improve to 5-1, the Bills collapsed to finish the season 7-9. Buffalo had only one significant win in the last 10 games of the year against the Denver Broncos in which the Bills rallied to win 30-23.

Head coach Dick Jauron, coming off three consectutive 7-9 seasons, will have to improve this year or the Bills will have no choice but to let him go. He has to step up greatly in managing this team on the field and off.

The Bills lead the league in offseason arrests with Marshawn Lynch, Ko Simpson, and Donte Whitner. Time to take the gloves off and take control before it gets any worse.

With three new faces on the offensive line—wide receiver Terrell Owens, and running backs Dominic Rhodes and Fred Jackson—the Bills have added depth to an offense that has not been seen since the Super Bowl teams of the '90s.

Quarterback Trent Edwards also has to stay focused. When he is, he plays like one of the best quarterbacks in the game; when he makes a mistake and loses that focus, it shows in his performance.

While he is still young, in today's NFL there is no time to develop a starting quarterback.  The Bills have provided Edwards with the weapons he needs, now he has to show that he knows how to use them.

With the 11th pick in the draft, the Bills drafted defensive end Aaron Maybin from Penn State, who should help strengthen what was a non-existent pass rush.

This defense has shown signs of greatness over the last two seasons, but struggles with consistency at times and needs to stay healthy. Leodis McKelvin starting this year will also be a huge boost to a weak secondary.

Special teams has been the Bills biggest threat for the past few seasons. Brian Moorman is arguably the best and most consistant punter in the league. No one lands the ball inside the 20-yard line like he does.

Roscoe Parrish, Terrance McGee, and McKelvin are all dangerous returning kicks and could score on any return.

The biggest weakness on this team is the coaching staff, as evidenced by poor execution of their game plans in the second half of the 2008 season. Jauron has to step up and take control of this team. The habit of practicing without pads during the week leading up to the game does not help.

In this day and age with players becoming instant millionaires, they need a strong leader to keep them focused and on track.

If the Bills can stay healthy, focused, and out of the judicial system, they will contend in what could be the toughest division in the NFL.