Buffalo Bills—a Look to 2008

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Buffalo Bills—a Look to 2008

2007 Record 7-9

Major Personnel Losses:

Sam Aiken (WR), Jerametrius Butler (CB), Michael Gaines (TE), Mario Haggan (LB), Leon Joe (LB), Jim Leonhard (S), Ryan Neufeld (TE), Peerless Price (WR), Josh Stamer (LB), Anthony Thomas (RB), Kiwaukee Thomas (CB), Larry Tripplett (DT), Al Wallace (DE), Jason Webster (CB), Shaud Williams (RB).

Free Agent Signings:

Courtney Anderson (TE), William James (CB), Spencer Johnson (DT), Kawika Mitchell (LB)

Draft Picks:

Round 1: Leodis McKelvin (CB)

Round 2: James Hardy (WR)

Round 3: Chris Ellis (DE)

Round 4: Reggie Corner (CB)

Round 4: Derek Fine (TE)

Round 5: Alvin Bowen (LB)

Round 6: Xavier Omon (RB)

Round 7: Demetrius Bell (OT)

Round 7: Steve Johnson (WR)

Round 7: Kennard Cox (DB)

 

Schedule: (Prediction)

Week 1: Seattle (W)

Week 2: @ Jacksonville (L)

Week 3: Oakland (W)

Week 4: @ St. Louis (W)

Week 5: @ Arizona (L)

Week 6: BYE WEEK

Week 7: San Diego (L)

Week 8: @ Miami (L)

Week 9: NY Jets  (W)

Week 10: @ New England (L)

Week 11: Cleveland (L)

Week 12: @ Kansas City (W)

Week 13: San Francisco (W)

Week 14: Miami (W)

Week 15: @ NY Jets (L)

Week 16: @ Denver (W)

Week 17: New England (L)

Offense:

The Bills' passing game was clearly not their strength in 2007, generating only 2842 total yards as Buffalo rotated between J.P Losman and Trent Edwards. Trent Edwards showed some promise in games against Miami and Washington towards the end of the season; however, there are plenty of question marks regarding his ability to be a game winner at this level.

Some of the blame for the anemic passing game can be shared with the lack of a solid receiving corps. However, for the Bills to improve, Edwards must step up this season.

Buffalo retains their top receivers from 2007, and have added receiver James Hardy from Indiana, which should give Edwards another viable passing option, especially in the red zone.

The highlight of the Buffalo offense last year was the emergence of Marshawn Lynch, the rookie who rushed for 1115 yards on 280 attempts. Provided that all of his offseason drama stays in the offseason, he should be a force again, which should open up the passing game.

Buffalo ranked 15th in rushing yards in the NFL, but couldn’t transfer this success into touchdowns, as they scored an NFL lowest 20 touchdowns on the season. This suggests that their red-zone offense could do with a significant jumpstart, which James Hardy should provide.

Provided that the Bills can settle the contract dispute with Left Tackle Jason Peters and get him onto the field, the Bills should have a solid offensive line to run behind. Between Derrick Dockery, Jason Peters, and Langston Walker the Bills should have time to throw and to open holes to run through.

Despite the fact that it is only his second year in the league, Trent Edwards is facing a lot of pressure going into the 2008 season. He won’t have to dominate games and carry his team, but will need to be efficient enough that teams respect the passing game, and don’t simply key in on the running game.

Defense:

The Buffalo Bills’ defense was nothing spectacular in 2007, and will require some serious performance upgrades if the Bills wish to reach the playoffs. The Bills only got 26 Sacks in 2007, which ranked them 29th in the NFL.

A good pass rush can overcome nearly any offense, as we were all shown by the Giants in the Super Bowl, for the Bills to take the next step; they will need to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and ultimately, more sacks. While the secondary was the weaker part of the defense in 2007, teams were able to gain valuable rushing yards and had far too much time to pass.

The linebacker corps will receive a significant upgrade, with Paul Posluszny returning from injury and free agent signing Kawika Mitchell joining the fray. John DiGiorgio should also provide some much needed depth at MLB, as he showed is ability last year with 112 tackles and two sacks.

The secondary received a much needed boost with the addition of first round draft pick Leodis McKelvin, who is expected to push Jabari Greer for a starting position.

Buffalo returns all of its starting secondary from 2007, and can only hope that the unit performs at a higher level with another year under their belt. Donte Whitner and Terrence McGee were solid performers; however, the Buffalo overall pass defense left much to be desired. McKelvin should provide some help in this regard with his size and intercepting ability.

Outlook

The Bills are a team that is hovering close to the playoffs. However in the AFC, wild card spots are hard to come by. It seems unlikely that the Bills will capture the AFC East title any time soon, and both the AFC South and AFC North both look to have more than one playoff team this year.

The Bills do have a reasonable schedule, but the level of their success is going to depend on Trent Edwards’ growth as a passer in the NFL.

Look for the Bills to post an 8-8 record, and to narrowly miss out on a playoff bid. This young team should gain some valuable experience, and provided that Trent Edwards emerges as a viable NFL quarterback and that the front office can retain the core of this team, they should continue to improve in 2009.

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