During the offseason all you heard was how the Bills would be last in the league. I usually stick up for them greatly, in areas that I think show the kind of team that they are. I will in no doubt criticize the team for a wrongdoing and show why they are such a horrible team. All I can say from the Bills game this Sunday is wow, and I do not mean that in a good way.
The run defense last year for the Bills was horrid. Teams (especially the Jets) ran all over the Bills and received first down after first down. Most of that was blamed on the Tampa-2 style defense, in which, if you miss one gap, you let a run go for 15 yards and/or a touchdown. However, if you play it perfectly, you can stop a run behind the line of scrimmage every play. The Bills moved to the 3-4 this season to improve pressure on the QB and most of all to stop the run. In the 3-4 if one person makes a mistake, the next guy can make the stop. More mistakes equals less problems, though you still don't want to make mistakes (obviously). Well in this Sunday's game, I noticed the Bills were missing their gap responsibilities left and right. Not only was the first one making a mistake, but the second and 3rd was also as well. On top of that, missed tackles were also allowing 3rd downs conversions on a play that should have been stopped. Chris Kelsay missed a tackle on the line, and allowed the 3rd down conversion. If I am not mistaken (which I do not think I am, but correct me if I am wrong) turned into a touchdown 2 or 3 plays later.
This season, I predict that the Bills will have an adequate amount of sacks, but they will not get the quarterback pressures and hurries that you need to have a good pass rush and good defense. The pressure was a no show early in the game (1st and 2nd quarter) and Chad Henne even fell down, and had about 5 seconds before he got touched. Then later, he fell and got back up before anyone closed in on him. To be a good defense you need to have at least adequate pressure, you cannot let someone have time to throw, which is one reason the secondary had not been that great in the preseason. Good receivers eventually lose the corner, and you are just a second away from allowing the big play. The sacks will be very misleading this season.
I am as big a fan as anyone when it comes to Poz. I also think he has the heart and instincts to be a great linebacker. Problem is he cannot stay healthy. His rookie season he broke his arm, his 2nd he played full season, his 3rd he broke his arm again, but only one side of his forearm not both sides. Now this season he hurt his leg/knee. I think he is a great player, and would really be one of the best at the position if he could just stay on the field. Most injuries are just freak accidents. People get unlucky and it ruins careers. I am not saying that his injury is career threatening, but how much longer can you trust a player to be you middle linebacker in the 3-4? You can't trust if he will be in game in and game out. If he plays the rest of the season I think he will be fine, but if he gets injured again I just don't know what will happen to him.
The secondary is truly what everyone has said all offseason (unless you count Madden 11). During the offseason it was hailed as the strong point of the defense. However, in the preseason they looked lost as they allowed some plays to be made. Against the Dolphins they were not 100% consistent, but they buckled down when needed to and made Chad Henne go 0-11 in the 3rd quarter. Most of that was from the play of Leodis Mckelvin, in the 3rd quarter.
In his rookie season Mckelvin was behind Jabari Greer. Greer then became injured and Mckelvin was starting alongside Mcgee the rest of the season. He played well enough to have hope for next season. The next season Mckelvin broke his leg and went on IR. Now back for his third season, some were hoping he would reclaim his starting role. He is physically gifted with blazing speed and though he does not have great hands, he will bat passes down. He was beat out by Drayton Florence for the starting role and did not look good in the preseason. However, against the Dolphins Mckelvin started to show what he has to offer. He was all over the field batting down passes and not allowing the easy receptions. I said it before and I will say it again, Mckelvin skill set is great for the outside cornerback role, while Florence's skill set is great for the nickel/slot cornerback role. Mckelvin's speed allows him to blanket receivers and Florence's allow for big hits and run stops in a 3 wide receiver set. Mckelvin will regain the starting role in the next few weeks.
When the Oakland Raiders allow an Offensive tackle to leave, you know you have a problem. Cornell Green was signed by the Bills in free agency to start at Right tackle. I knew this before the game, but Cornell Green should not be starting, the game only showed me more examples of why. The right side of the line was in constant state of collapse. The Bills could just not hold a consistent pocket. Green was consistently beat by the quicker players and sometimes missed the block completely. In my opinion Meredith should be starting on the right side. He has more upside and is physically stronger and quicker then Green is.
I know overhyped is not the best word as they were expected to still be near the bottom this season, but you at least hoped for improvement. The Bills were expected to pound the ball and have the ground game be their strong point. However, the Bills ran it too little in the Dolphins game. Spiller was near useless, and Fred Jackson and Lynch did not get enough touches. The Bills were constantly throwing it, for an abysmal total offense statistic and next to no offensive output. I do however like the wide receivers a lot. Evans, Parrish, Johnson, and Nelson allow plays to be made. But you simply cannot have a good offense without the offensive line giving you space to make plays.
Roscoe Parrish is way underrated by most people. the concerns about him are his size, that he is too small to take hits. Well his receiving ability and speed are very underrated. Played with a linebacker or even a slower safety, he an burn them. He creates the mismatches of Chan Gailey's offense. And question his toughness, and I will point you to yesterdays play when he went into the slot and made a catch before a monster hit, and what did he do? He got right back up.
I know it didn't take much, but Nelson is a better receiver then Hardy. Nelson was quickly thrown into 4 wide receiver sets in training camp. Being an undrafted free agent, Nelson really did not stand much of a chance, but he showed what he could do. He has great size and good hands. Hardy was injured much of training camp and preseason and Nelson took his role. When Hardy came back he did not have the role anymore, and being the same size Hardy was released. Not that Nelson is the greatest receiver ever, but he at least showed up the to the game with only limited action. He can move the chains, and if the Bills ever get close to the redzone this season (yes that was a poor joke) then he may be the target.
Does this photo look familiar? Because this happened 95% of the game. I know what you are all saying right now "why is he supporting Edwards", the reason is because he actually is more then capable of playing the quarterback position. He is not a great quarterback, or even a slightly above average quarterback. He is an average quarterback on a bad team. He was rushed the entire game, except for the one drive in which the line gave him more then 3 seconds without a hand in his face. He was perfect on that drive and finished it with a touchdown to Roscoe Parrish. If he had reasonable time to throw, then maybe, just maybe he could be the a good quarterback. He is not a mobile quarterback, he is a pocket passer. He can read defenses and he has a good arm. Problem is that his pocket is collapsing at every given second. Also, 3 passes were dropped and one almost led to an interception. I am not saying that he is amazing, but if he had time to throw he would be capable.