Are Bills worst team in NFL?
Bills could be vying for #1 overall pick
It is now 11 years and counting. The last time the Bills made the playoffs was the 1999 season. Bills fans have to face the fact that this team is still a long ways from playing in the post season again. Even worse is the fact is that the upcoming season may be their worst since the mid-80s and they are in prime contention for the NFLís top draft choice next spring. The Bills immediate and long term future looks very bleak indeed.
Not only is the talent on the field among the weakest in the entire NFL, but Bills owner Ralph Wilson, at 92 years old, isnít getting any younger. He has not made any arrangements for the transfer of ownership after he dies, either to family in his will, or to someone committed to keeping the team in Buffalo. Wilson has insisted that he will be the only owner of the Bills while heís alive. Because of that and his not making any arrangements for the team to stay in Buffalo after he passes on, it is likely that the teamís future will be decided in estate court, where the highest bidder will get the team. That very likely could spell the end of the Bills in Buffalo.
As for the immediate future and the Bills chances of making the playoffs, the Bills will most likely be last in the AFC East this autumn. Both the Jets and Patriots are much stronger than the Bills, and the only team the Bills could finish ahead of are the Miami Dolphins, and thatís a long shot at best.
During the offseason, Wilson had the opportunity to right the sinking ship and finally get the team headed in the right direction. Wilson promised to get a elite head coach, someone like Mike Shanahan, and instead, he hired a couple of Hee-Haw Boys for GM and head coach that were not on anyoneís radar.
First, Wilson hired Buddy Nix to be his new GM. Nixís first job was to get a top name head coach and all he could come up with was Chan Gailey. While Gailey has had some NFL head coaching experience with the Dallas Cowboys, most of his time the past decade has been in the college ranks, mostly as the head coach of Georgia Tech for five years. He was offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, but was let go after 3 preseason games last season. In all, Gailey is no Mike Shanahan, and it was ironic that those two were head coaches on opposite sides in the first preseason game for the Bills and Redskins. Washington trounced the Bills 42-17 and the Bills looked ill-prepared for the game, on both sides of the ball.
Gailey has made Trent Edwards the starter and Edwards played for almost the entire half against the Skins. Edwards, who has been nicknamed "Captain Checkdown" for his continuous checking down on most plays, was horrific in his start. Edwards is not starting quarterback material and showed it against the Skins. Why Gailey has made Edwards the starter has puzzled Bills fans and media.
The Bills won 6 games last year with Dick Jauron. The team hasnít improved any, and in fact has gotten worse. They have lost receiver Terrell Owens and defensive end Aaron Schobel and have not upgraded their offensive line. There were many weaknesses on the team after last season, and Buddy Nix didnít address too many of them during the draft and offseason. In a surprising move, Nix made C.J. Spiller their top pick, another running back. They already had Freddie Jackson and Marshawn Lynch at that position and Nix made the glamorous pick in Spiller when there were more immediate needs. It was reminiscent to Tom Donahoe drafting Willis MacGahee when the Bills already had Travis Henry at running back a few years ago.
If the Bills werenít going to draft a quarterback in the first round, then what excuse did they have of not drafting either Colt McCoy or Jimmy Clausen in the second round when they were available? The Bills passed on those two quarterbacks and didnít draft one until the 7th round when they picked up Levi Brown.
The first preseason game, the Redskins exposed the Bills weaknesses and showed just how far the Bills have to go to make the playoffs. While they didnít address their quarterback issue in the draft, they could have gotten some veteran help in the offseason by picking up wither Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick. Instead, they stood pat and kept Edwards, along with backups Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm. Of the 3, Brohm seems to have the most potential of becoming a quality quarterback. He was the second round pick of the Green Bay Packers. Brohm had a great career at Louisville, and in 2007 led the Cardinals to its first-ever BCS victory, 24-13 over Wake Forest. If Brohm had elected to go into the NFL draft after that season, he was projected to be one of the top first round picks. However, he decided to return to Louisville for his senior season, and that may have hurt his chances to be a top pick the next year. While it is easy to see what kind of quarterbacks Edwards and Fitzpatrick are, the verdict is still out on Brohm.
Gailey should give Brohm extended playing time in the rest of the preseason in order to make the proper decision on who should be the starting quarterback. Brohm his the size (6'-3", 223 lb) and the potential to be a good quarterback. The question is whether he will be given the time by Gailey to prove that.
Quarterback is not the only sore spot on the Bills, and may not be the worst. Offensive line has been weak since the Bills Super Bowl years and the Bills have hardly addressed that issue in the past decade. At receiver, they only have Lee Evans as the go-to guy, and with Owens now with the Bengals, there is an absence of quality pass catchers.
On defense, the Bills are attempting to go to the 3-4, but if their first preseason game is any indication, there is a lot of work to do there. The secondary seemed to be one of the Bills strengths last season, but, just like the rest of the team against the Skins, it got beaten badly.
In conclusion, the Bills will be lucky to win 3 games this year. Even if they do have the misfortune (or fortune) of being dead last in the NFL and having the top overall pick next spring, they are likely to fumble that pick, if their recent history of drafting is any indication.
With Ralph Wilson about to turn 92, Bills fans are fearful that they will never have a playoff team while the team still is in Buffalo. The two men Wilson hired in the offseason to run the team donít seem like they will be able to get the team into the post season before the estate court most likely sends them shuffling out of Buffalo.
Copyright © 2010 Bills Thunder & Rick Anderson, all rights reserved.
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