My stance on the NFL as a whole has not changed in the past week: “I am just not that into you”. I thought I would crack, on a vigilant watch for any news or rumors on ESPN.com or ProfootballTalk.com. My browser has only found occasion to contain those IPs after the Bills have made moves and I have sought out the national take. I could care less about who went to the Falcons, Giants or Cowpies have done. I can’t see that changing in the near future.
Due to that fact I anticipate having my worst Fantasy Season ever; I just don’t care to track who is going where like I normally do. At this point on the calendar my draft board is largely set. This year my apathy is displayed by a column of numbers, with barren white next to them. As I do not expect that to change, I will live my cousin Kyle’s annual draft day reality this year: lassitude followed by disgruntlement and a sub par roster.
But my Bills…I have not been able to quit them.
The early days of the 2011 off-season were good news for me. I found Paul Posluzny to be an unmitigated disappointment. If you need a tackle five yards downfield, he is your man. I was happy when he left.
I was even happier he left when I saw his deal. 42 million dollars over 6 years, this is the new reality that cost us a proper offseason? If this is the new NFL in play then maybe my dream of being a punter is not dead in the water. Many Bills fans expressed their concern with his departure on Facebook and other new media: “What were we going to do without Poz?” My first thought was have a middle linebacker that can make a stop at the point of attack.
Drayton Florence resigned at a decent price for a cornerback*. I love his press coverage and although I loathe his excessive-Nate Clements-lite celebrations, he plays with a swagger and makes impact plays. He will be even more valuable next year as I read that the Jets resigned Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress at wideout after the Florence signing. Nice foresight by the Bills, if they can ramp up some pressure this year the corners could get some INTs. They have some skill in the back-end.
Yes, I know about the deals made within the AFC East. The news of those signings are impossible to avoid if you are following the Bills moves, or to the chargin of Bills Country lack of. I am so tired of hearing about Reggie Bush to Miami as a move that the Bills have to match. Have any of these people watched Reggie Bush the last 3 seasons? He is not worth getting your panties in a bunch about, especially since the Phins have no one at QB who scares any fans but their own.
And really, the Pats are the Pats. The reality that Bills fans must live with is that the Pats and Jets are the Red Sox and the Yankees. They will always attract more attention and be able to offer more to players at least in terms of endorsements and lifestyle. At best the Bills can be the Rays: they will have to build through the draft, great scouting and some luck. At least the Bills have a system in place that gives them somewhat equal ground with the heavyweights. As I am happy with the Bills last few drafts (especially the last one); I am hopeful we can follow the Rays lead.
The Bills followed that astute Florence signing with a questionable one: signing former Jets Swiss Army Knife Brad Smith to a 4 year, 15 million dollar deal. I always admired his play and hated when the Bills had to face Smith. That is what has me worried about this deal: Smith was so effective against the last few mediocre Bills squads that I fear it may have clouded Buddy Nix and company’s clear vision of Smith as a player.
I know Chan Gailey has been invoking Kordell Stewart when speaking on Smith and I guess that is promising. But almost 4 million a year for a player who is going to fill roles that could have been filled by someone already on the roster.
Returner: I submit C.J. Spiller and Roscoe Parrish.
Receiver: There is a nice cache of options, both veteran and youngsters. All fit the same bill at, for the most part, lesser salaries.
Wildcat/gimmick QB: Fred Jackson has shown some ability both on the ground and through the air.
While I am sure that Smith, a QB at Missouri, has more skill than Jackson I don’t see the value in the cost to bring him in. I am happy the Bills will not have to face him twice a year, but that is where my joy ends. I would love for him to prove me wrong.
Then the hammer, it came down today and it made me have more than a glimmer of hope for the 2011 Bills. Nick Barnett was signed as middle linebacker for 3 years, 12 million dollars. There is nothing that I do not like about this signing. I have always admired Barnett’s play. I know that he has had some injury issues the past few years, but I think he fits this Bills team’s needs both due to his skill at a need position and his leadership qualities. I have little doubt he is an upgrade from Poz, at almost half the price.
So more than anytime in at least a half a decade I have hope. The Bills have upgraded their roster, they are returning a QB and head coach that are in sync, and like any other season in the NFL: you just never know who the next darkhorse will be. I have my heart on the Bills.
* decent in the realm of 21st century NFL players. I can name 10 other Bills corners from my lifetime that deserve that money more than he does.
Take this prediction for what it is worth, based on my prior predictions…nothing.
This is likely the last game that I will picking the Bills to win this year. They have a rough slate left and the Lions minus Matthew Stafford offer them their best shot at getting one in the W column.
The Bills have some injury issues of their own. Andra Davis is out for the year and that will hurt the run D. Roscoe Parrish went down with a broken wrist last week and is done for the year. It is a shame, this has been his best year by far. I guess those are the breaks you get when in the midst of an 0′fer year.
The Bills are fortunate to face a team that is almost as adept as they are at finding ways to lose. I watched the Lions last week and I was stunned at how many times they shot themselves in the foot with penalties.
Key matchup: The Bills interior against Ndamukong Suh. The guy is a real beast, all respect to Marshawn Lynch. If Suh dominates the Bills could very well be 0-9 after the game. I am hoping that we see 2009 pre leg break Eric Wood in the game tomorrow.
Bills 24 – Lions 17, “Mark it Dude”