C.J. Spiller and 5 Buffalo Bills Who Will Suffer Most from the Lockout
The current lockout is the topic that seemingly every sportswriter wants to talk about yet no sportswriter really wants to deal with.
Fans, in an similar manner, are willing to acknowledge its presence while at the same time trying their best to look past it. In a way it almost seems like everyone expects there to be a football season next year. But will it really be business as usual?
Regrettably, I highly doubt it. After many months away from team-led football, many players will be out of shape. Their absence from OTAs and mini-camps, combined with a compressed off-season, will no doubt be of detriment to the league, fans and players.
The best hope is that after some time away from the game, everyone can have a Michael Vick-type comeback once play resumes. News flash: It took Vick over a year to get back to form. Without delving too much further into the will we or won't we have a football season debate, this article will look at five Buffalo Bills that this lockout will affect the most, no matter how long it is.
1. Aaron Maybin
If your name is Aaron, this will be a challenging offseason for you. More on that later.
However, this is the make or break year for Maybin. Will he get it? Many are skeptical. Yet if ever a player needed all the practices, reps and time around motivated athletes, this is the guy.
2. C.J. Spiller / Marcus Easley
This is kind of cheating here, as there are two players on this slide. But I'll explain. Basically last year was a medical redshirt year for Easley and what for all intents and purposes was a redshirt year for Spiller as well.
Both men enter the season with big-time questions as to whether they can be contributors on the team moving forward, despite hopeful optimism from the coaches.
The writing is on the wall, however, as the Bills have made it clear they will not wait for injured players at the wideout position and that they are disappointed with C.J. Spiller's progress last season.
This shortened offseason will not allow both of these men to get the reps and experience they need to make an impact on the playing field. However, it gives Easley more recovery time, which comes as a wash, because it means other receivers cannot show him up while he sits injured.
3. Aaron Williams
The second Aaron on the Bills also has a steep learning curve, and there will be less time to see where to plug this hybrid corner-safety into the lineup.
The minicamps and preseason would seemingly be the perfect time to gauge his abilities and fit for the defense. It would also give him adequate time to learn several positions, especially if the Bills move him around.
This compressed time frame poses an increased challenge for this Bill, who Buddy Nix is counting on to be a starter.
4. The Unknown Veteran Quarterback
This player dovetails quite nicely with the Williams slide, as the reason Buffalo will bring in a veteran quarterback is because it decided against addressing the position with a pick in the draft.
Many felt that getting a quarterback with their high second-round pick was a solid decision, but the Bills saw a potential starter in Williams and went that route.
Now whoever gets signed will have a short time frame to learn the Bills playbook and prepare for one of the league's toughest divisions and playing climates.
This puts whoever this guy is at a disadvantage because being so far behind the curve will not give him enough time to compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting spot, which also doesn't help Fitzpatrick improve from last year. This is a big-time dilemma.
5. Free Agents Donte Whitner and Paul Posluszny
The general consensus is that most Bills fans want Poz back and would love to see Whitner go.
To me it makes no sense to lose a guy who was a high draft pick for no compensation whatsoever, especially for a team like Buffalo that struggles to attract free agents. That being said, I think it's best for Whitner and the Bills to move on.
This shortened offseason could be a big pain for both Whitner and Poz. They both are likely to miss out on good opportunities elsewhere or miss out on getting the most money the Bills are willing to give them to come back, simply because there is not enough time for them to make the best decision. While I am sure they will both be fine financially, being a free agent in this compressed time frame is not ideal.