My Bedroom, NY – Fans felt it, the team felt it, and the media was waiting on it. The buzz. Coming into the season, the Bills had the chance to be something they haven’t been in a long time: a contender.
With a strong mix of young players coming into their own, buoyed by a new group of veterans acquired in the past few offseasons, more and more evidence is pointing towards the Bills' time being now.
The buzz has only increased after convincing wins over Seattle and Jacksonville. Over the first two games, the Bills have shown their cards. The gameplan for both wins was the same: conservative, pass-short offense, a very skilled special-teams unit, and a stop-the-run, dare-you-to-pass defense, which will pounce on any mistake.
Despite the excitement, there is reason for concern.
Trent Edwards has shown what he is: a smart, tough, clutch quarterback. He has also shown what he is not: a top-tier quarterback. This is not a criticism, just an observation. Edwards has only started 10 games in the league, and during stints in both games, he continually checked down early and often telegraphed his passes.
Edwards is good, has shown signs of brilliance, and is going to be great, but he isn’t there yet. It's up to the coaches to recognize his weak spots and elevate his play. The Bills don’t play a truly great defensive mind until Week Nine (Jets) and 10 (Pats), but when they do, it will be interesting to see if Edwards has more trouble.
Of course, by then, hopefully he will have matured and progressed further.
Luckily for Trent, the pass blocking is excellent, because the run blocking is anemic. The team can’t run, and that is going to be a problem as the season wears on and the weather gets worse. Lynch is a workhorse and Jackson is smooth, but the running game is truly pathetic. By Week 10 I expect the team to be 70/30 pass/run.
Jack Del Rio consistently does less with great players than any coach in the league. He is truly a terrible coach. His players consistently underperform, and his teams consistently do just enough to save his job. That being said, after the Bills started the game with a flurry, Del Rio outcoached Dick Jauron for the second and third quarters.
Jauron should be better than this. As fans, we catch ourselves often thinking Jauron should be better. He isn’t terrible, but he should be better. The Bills' offense wasn’t creative, the defense, while statistically probably looked good, it didn’t do enough. Passive aggressiveness is fine for a human being, fine even for a coach, it isn’t fine if players on the team start to take on that identity.
Bobby April is the best special-teams coach in the league. He is the best because he is given a lot of say in personnel decisions, as well as given a lot of practice time. If this hinders depth and practice time on the offense and defense, I don’t know how I feel about that anymore.
There are too many young players who need too much work in regular defensive and offensive drills. Also, if Jon Corto, who forced a special-teams fumble in Week One but made a special teams mental error in Week Two, made the team over a regular player because he is a special-teams ace, he can’t be making penalties.
That being said, it's September and for the first time in a while, nobody is talking Sabres in Buffalo. The Bills' buzz is alive, and the team will get better.