Well Bills fans, were already through one quarter of the season, and just like in school, it is time for the quarterly report card. Lets take a look at where the Bills are excelling, and where they could use a little help after class.
Although Trent Edwards progress has been steady, even he has suffered some setbacks the past couple of games. The Raiders and even the lowly Rams were able to put pressure on Edwards and make him look closer to the second year quarterback he is, as opposed to the next Tom Brady.
While his poise in the fourth quarter has been remarkable, and making him look like he could still be the next Brady, he has a ways to go before his game is at a Pro Bowl level.
Jason Peters is still feeling the effects of his holding out, giving up key sacks in the past two weeks, even being benched vs Oakland, which is certainly hurting the passing game. Marshawn Lynch has been held in check as well, and while he has four touchdowns this season, his yardage has been sub-par to say the least.
While a couple of penalties nullified some long runs by Lynch yesterday, and I do think he will have an outstanding second half of the season, Bills fan were probably hoping for more yards from him.
The defense has been solid, if not brilliant so far this season. After losing so many players last season to injury, it seems as if this unit is finally able to live up to the potential that it began to show last season.
Aside from Stephen Jackson, the Bills haven't allowed a team, let alone a single rusher from gaining 100 yards in a game, and even yesterday, the Bills were able to adjust to slow Jackson in the second half. Allowing a little over 15 points a game so far this season, the defense has allowed the Bills to remain competitive until the offensive is able to shut the door.
Jabrari Greer was huge yesterday, coming up with his first INT of the season and a TD on the return. Donte Whitner also got in on the act with his first career sack yesterday. Sure, they have played some below-average offensives, but this has to be encouraging that we have a defense that can shut the door on opposing teams.
Special Teams: B
The special teams is confusing me this year, and I think they get a B more for reputation and for Week One than anything else. After totally baffling Seattle on the fake FG and Parrish returning a kick for a TD, the special teams has been average.
They got beat on a onside kick vs Jacksonville, are near the bottom of the league in return coverage, and have not had a significant play (fake punt, onside, etc.) since Week One.
Part of that may be there hasn't been a need to get too cute, and that is fine with me as long as we are winning. Leodis McCelvin is an intriguing prospect as a returner, but he needs time to develop, and it will probably be a few more weeks before we see him as a consistent threat to run one back, although his returns yesterday were outstanding.
While the Bills are 4-0 and lead the AFC East and are tied for first in the AFC, we need to be a little cautious. Buffalo has yet to beat a quality opponent at full strength, and although the win in Jacksonville was nice, the inability to put away an inferior Raiders and Rams team shows the need to keep getting better.
It is heartening to see the hard work that Dick Jauron has put it to the team finally paying off, and after initially not liking him as a choice for head coach, I'm glad Marv Levy hired him. Looking at the schedule ahead of them I wouldn't be shocked to see them go 12-4 or 13-3 as long as they play up to potential.
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