The Buffalo Bills will have one of the top offenses in the NFL this year for the first time since the Jim Kelly and Co. They have all the players that will set them up to be one of the best this year. At QB they have Trent Edwards. A third round pick last year, he surprised everyone with his play last year and he was selected to NFL's all-rookie team. He brought the Bills to within a second of beating the Dallas Cowboys in Buffalo's first Monday Night game in years. Of the eight games he started and played from start to finish, he went 4-4 with seven TD's compared to five INT's. By comparison JP Losman threw just three TD's to six INT's in six starts which he went and went 2-4. (I took out the first Patriots game and second Jets game as each starter had to leave due to an injury during that game). However in this upcoming season where Edwards is the clear starter, and new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert who will open up the playbook for Trent it is safe to say, his numbers will vastly go up. Edwards is smart, efficient, does not lock in on one receiver and very rarely tries to force passes that are just not there. He will have many weapons on offense and all but two played with Trent last year. They will be Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, Lee Evans, James Hardy, Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish, either Steve Johnson or Justin Jenkins and Robert Royal on offense. I would say that is pretty good list of players to give the ball to.
At RB there will be the return of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson who were huge for Buffalo last year. Lynch will be a top 10 running back in the NFL this year and will hopefully force defenders to play close to the line which will open up the passing game. Lynch in his rookie year finished 11th in rushing yards just four yards behind 10th place Thomas Jones. And less than 100 behind Fred Taylor and Willis McGahee. He was also tied for 11th again in rushing TDs with the running back who just got a brand new contract Brian Westbrook. Both running backs were only rookies last year and should be even better than this year. Lynch averaged four yards a carry last year and Jackson a stunning 5.2. Lynch also finished eighth in the league in yards per game with 85.8. Both running backs are capable of catching the ball out of the backfield and gaining yards after the catch. They are both one of the best at holding onto the ball and refusing to let go as they combined for only one fumble last year. The Bills will have one of the best 2-back systems and they are both only entering their second year.
The Wide Receiver group should be one of the best groups in the AFC this year with the addition of the very tall James Hardy at 6-5. Since the departure of Eric Moulds, Lee Evans has been double covered repeatedly without any concern about any of the other receivers out there. There have also been reports coming out of Bills training camp that Evans will no longer only go deep. There will be many routes that will hopefully set Evans up for the ever important yards after the catch. Cornerbacks no longer will be able to guess Evans is just going deep and be right. James Hardy will command attention at his huge size which will free up Evans to beat out his defender and not have to worry about the second guy as well. Josh Reed will return to be the slot receiver which he does very well. He is often forgotten about as evidenced by his 11.3 average. Although he was not able to find the endzone last year. There is also speedster Roscoe Parrish returning who only scored one TD but it came against the New England Patriots on Sunday night football. Hopefully in his fourth year he will become more Devin Hesteresque and become that threat downfield. Who the fifth receiver will be remains to be seen but the two front runners appear to be 2nd year receiver Justin Jenkins and seventh round pick Steve Johnson from Kentucky. Although the Bills might go with six receivers and have Jenkins on special teams and Johnson as the fifth receiver on offense. Turk Schonert has stated that the Bills will no longer just go deep and instead will have crossing routes and will emphasize the yards after the catch and try to utilize their speed in the best way. Although it will appear conservative by making the short pass, the idea is that the receivers will have enough space to go downfield quickly.
Tight end will be an interesting position to watch this year for the Bills. There are currently six tight ends on the team for training camp. Robert Royal will most likely be the number one tight end again for Buffalo. Although it is unclear who will be the others. The Bills will need to use their tight ends more effectively in the passing game. They can block very well but currently there is not a tight end like Jason Witten, or Antonio Gates, or Jeremy Shockey who is a passing threat everytime. The Bills must use them to help them finish in the red zone which to say the least was an Achilles heel of the Bills last year on offense. If the Bills can use their tight ends more successfully as passing threats in the red zone and get into the end zone more often the Bills will be one of the higher scoring teams in the league.
Their offensive line after years of ineptitude, their line appears to be solid now. They have Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker at the guards, Melvin Fowler at center, and Brad Butler and Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters. Although Peters is currently holding out of camp for the demand of new contract. Dockery and Walker both appeared to be very good additions to line last year and appear to be the guards this team needed. This unit improved vastly last year and hopefully Peters will come back will be even better. The Bills offense was ok last year with the changing of the quarterback every few games and the Bills unable to get to the passing game going and their lack of red zone scoring. However those problems seem to resolved with the drafting of Hardy giving the Edwards a large target to throw at. They also have some big tight ends now who will help them in short yardage plays. Assuming the Bills can get Jason Peters in camp the o-line will continue to be good and become even better than last year.
All in all this will lead to Buffalo having one of the best offenses. I predict a 10-6 season for the Bills this year if Peters plays this year.
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