Buffalo Bills: Will a Decade of Bills Mediocrity End?
Buffalo has been hungry for the taste of championship glory since the Marv Levy, "Hurry Up Offense" era which lead to four straight Super Bowl appearances. A steady stream of disappointing seasons followed, culminating in the oft-bemused Music City Miracle play that produced a questionable call ending the Bills 1999 season.
A new era of irrelevance began for the Buffalo Bills, who have failed to make the playoffs for nearly a decade since.
All of this heartache seems to be a thing of the past, because in the offseason, the Bills made arguably the biggest splash in the free agent market by signing future Hall-of-Famer, Terrell Owens.
In addition to signing an elite wide receiver, in the hopes of giving more weapons to the young QB Trent Edwards, the Bills are coming off an incredibly hopeful season where they looked unstoppable for the first six games: they torched the league to start off 5-1.
Of course, that all ended when Edwards went down with a concussion and the Bills had to turn the reigns over to the infamous J.P Losman, going on to end the season watching the playoffs from home yet again.
All things considered, there are reasons to remain optimistic for the 2009-2010 season. Having an elite receiver to open up the passing attack may have a carry-over effect for the two-headed rushing attack of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, and the playoffs are a realistic expectation—not a distant fantasy of a bygone era.
Adding a young talented pass rusher in Aaron Maybin will create a defense to stack up against the reviled Patriots. Just remember how Michael Strahan and company gave Tom Brady fits two years ago in the Super Bowl and then savor the thought of the panic this will create for the Patsies in a game where Maybin and Schobel penetrate into the backfield on both sides, which will be a welcome change for a team that ranked 28th in sacks in 2008-2009.
With Lynch missing action for the first three weeks of the season, it will be interesting to see if Fred Jackson can carry the load with the help of Dominic Rhodes. Even with the passing game opening up the run, it will be tempting for opposing defenses to lay back into a nickel or dime formation and force the Bills to beat them on the ground.
Questions surrounding Edward's ability to throw deep will also cause concern because Bills fans know that he is a consistent "Dink and Dunk" passer who rarely takes risks. If he can get the ball to Terrell Owens and Lee Evans on deep routes consistently, it will make all the difference for a passing offense that ranked 22nd last season.
Then there are the so-called personality conflicts that may arise with the addition of Terrell Owens. If Edwards fails to get him the ball, will he break ranks and start a conflict that may split the locker room irreparably?
All of these questions can be answered within the first few weeks of the season. As the saying goes, winning is the best deodorant, and if the Bills can start off hot like they did last season, it will only follow that for the 2009-2010 season fans can get the proverbial "popcorn ready" while the playoffs come to Buffalo for the first time since Flutie's Mullet.
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