The Buffalo Bills were an interesting team to watch in 2010.
They were competitive in most of their games, but couldn't pick up more than four wins. However, in six of their 12 losses, they only lost by eight points or less.
So, what does this mean?
It means the Bills were a talented squad, but lacked the ability to finish games. While much of the blame likely falls to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, I feel he did a more than serviceable job. I look more to the defence, who allowed a whopping 425 points. Also, a few of those wins had wide receivers fail to make plays (see Stevie Johnson vs. Pittsburgh).
While I am not going to put Fitzpatrick into the category of elite QBs, or top-level starters, for that matter, I will say the Bills should move forward with him at the helm. He had more touchdowns (23) than interceptions (15) and completed nearly 58 percent of his passes.
Again, not the levels Bills fans may want from their starting QB, but what other options are out there right now? Matt Hasselbeck is likely to re-sign in Seattle, and other than that, it's slim pickins. If Mike Vick leaves Philly, he would be an interesting pickup for the Bills, though.
However, I am going to say the Bills should stick with Fitzpatrick at QB, for now.
But the Bills should go ahead and use the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL draft on Auburn QB Cam Newton.
Who should the Bills have starting at QB in 2011?
We have seen in the past that winning a Heisman (Matt Leinart) and a BCS Championship (Vince Young) doesn't necessarily translate into NFL wins, but they certainly can't hurt. Newton is a talented athlete, and with the proper training and preparation, could develop into a very good NFL starter.
I realize that if the Bills use the high pick on Newton, fans would want to see him on the field right away in September. I am suggesting that they draft him, but keep him on the bench for at least the first half of the season.
Newton is a player in a similar situation to Tim Tebow. He is a great athlete with his legs, but his passing ability isn't where it should be for an NFL quarterback. With a few months of learning from Fitzpatrick and working on his passing rapport with the Bills receivers, Newton could develop into a star in 2012.
This is all reliant on Newton having a good performance at the NFL Combine in March, though.
If he looks good in passing drills, the Bills should have no problem taking him at No. 3. He has the explosive playmaking abilities they lack as a team, and just bringing in a successful winner at QB should lift the spirits of the team around him. Not to mention what bringing in an exciting player at QB would likely do to their lowly attendance rates.
So, to wrap this all up, I think the Bills will be a better team in 2011. While I don't think they are ready for a playoff run, they will be better off playing it out with Fitzpatrick at the helm for at least another year. Bringing in Cam Newton would be a move for the future, but it could have a significant impact on the Bills in 2011 as well.
Just think of the controversy angle. Fitzpatrick's play will likely be elevated due to the presence of Newton.
It would be a risky move for this struggling franchise, but I feel it would pay off in the long run.