AFC East: 2 up, 2 down

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Two becomes a common theme here in free agency. It’s been two days since the beginning of the Free Agency frenzy in the NFL. And when analyzing the teams in the AFC East it’s a long yawnnnn. It’s 2 teams up, 2 down. Honestly, what are the Bills doing right now? They have yet to address any of their many, many gaping holes on their roster, sorry, Manny Lawson. The Bills are still incredibly weak at QB, WR, TE, OG, LB, DB and S. They have plenty of money to spend, but it seems like they have more limited options as the days go by. NFL Network even discussed the possibility of Tim Tebow going to Buffalo. I hope we’re not that desperate…..yet.

At the beginning of day 3 in free agency, here is the state of the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills: Ah, the Bills, with a whole new coaching staff and approach from top to bottom…and nothing has changed. So far in free agency it seems the Bills main priority and perhaps, only priority was to re-sign Leodis McKelvin? A former first round disappointment who can now count on an expanded role with the defense and $7.5 million guaranteed…for what? The Bills biggest name set to become a free agent was S Jairus Byrd. The team and Byrd’s agent failed to come to an agreement, so the Bills tagged him as their franchise player. The next big fish was OG Andy Levitre. It appeared that the Bills and Levitre never even came close to a deal. Levitre eventually took $46 million to play in Tennessee. The Titans can now claim to have Buffalo’s two best free agents in Levitre and S George Wilson. That is a lot of money to paid a guard, but losing Levitre in no way makes their O Line better or equal to what is was last year. And apparently they didn’t have a backup plan for losing him, as his own backup Chad Rinehart bolted for San Diego yesterday. The Bills brass has simply created another hole at guard to add to their many other holes on a roster that has the looks of a 4-12 team today. As for rumors, we’re not even hearing the Bills names out there. Take a run at Greg Jennings maybe? How about even Bart Scott or Charles Woodson? I wouldn’t even be against Brian Urlacher in the middle of the defense for a year to provide some leadership for the youngsters. Dustin Keller? Come on, anyone Bills, let’s not resort to Tebow.

New York Jets: Even Bills fans can laugh at the Jets offseason so far. They lost their starting running back Shonn Greene to the money hungry Titans as well. Their top safeties Yeremiah Bell jumped ship to Arizona and LaRon Landry, who could have been a good fit in Buffalo went to Indianapolis. TE Dustin Keller is highly unlikely to return. Bart Scott and Calvin Pace are all but gone as well. How do the Jets respond? By signing QB David Garrard to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting position. Damn these must be sad times for Jets fans. Garrard has been out of football since 2010. I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better option than both Garrard and Sanchez. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the best player on their team, DB Darrelle Revis is all but on his way to Tampa Bay. Time to rebuild for Gang Green. Rex Ryan’s days have to be numbered.

New England Patriots: I’ll be one of the few people to not be hard on the Patriots so far in free agency well, because they’re the Patriots. We’ve seen them have bad offseasons, lose Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel before and still come back strong. They still have Brady and Belichick and that’s usually all that matters. They took a big hit yesterday when WR Wes Welker left for Denver, or did they? They quickly replaced him with similar, but younger WR Danny Amendola from St. Louis. Amendola got a long term deal and will most likely assume Welker’s role as the focal point of the slot passing game. Welker should have another great year with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but I think we all can agree that his best days are behind him. His drops in crucial moments were also alarming as his time wore down in NE. The Pats could also lose receivers Julian Edelman and Deion Branch to free agency. But, they still have Amendola, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez and the best TE in the game, Rob Gronkowski. An already weak pass defense took a hit as DB Patrick Chung left, but look for the team to try hard to re-sign Aqib Talib. All is still calm in Patriot nation, at least for now.

Miami Dolphins: The south beach natives are the two day free agent winners so far in the AFC East. They signed two prized free agents in WR Mike Wallace and LB Danell Ellerbe. They locked up WR Brian Hartline and backup QB Matt Moore as well. It will be fun to watch Ryan Tannehill progress this season. Will he become Aaron Rodgers? Not likely, but he should be a solid QB for many years to come especially now with Wallace at his disposal. The team did lose some significant players though. RB Reggie Bush left for Detroit and Anthony Fasano signed in Kansas City. They had Rams receiver Brandon Gibson in for a visit yesterday. That would give Tannehill yet another weapon to help develop his deep ball.
Miami is rising, but New England remains on the top until further notice. As for the Bills and Jets… here’s to hoping the next two days are better than the previous two.

Fitz Tragic

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Fitz Tragic
Flutie mania came and went. We Billieved in Bledsoe. Captain Checkdown fizzled fast. And now the end of another era in Bills QB history, FitzMagic is over. It’s been 17 long years since Jim Kelly left and once again we are back at square one: still trying to find a franchise QB.

After getting past all of his shortcomings; Bills fans may come to find a shocking revelation: Fitzpatrick just may have been our best QB in the last 13 years. Que Metallica “Sad But True!”

Fitzpatrick arrived in Buffalo in 2009 as the Bills backup QB, aka the most popular man in town. Just as the case was with Losman, Holcomb, Edwards and hell even Brian Brohm for a short period of time. Fitz had one thing the rest of them didn’t have though: passion. He overcame tremendous odds as a 7th round pick out of the facebook factory known as Harvard. He lacked everything that a starting QB has, except heart. He was a leader who defended teammates non-stop, especially the sometimes idiotic Stevie Johnson. He was a calming voice in the locker room who always blamed himself first.

He had everything you could want in a QB except the arm strength, accuracy and clutch ability. Like an extremely poor man’s Brett Favre. In the end, Fitz gave it his all, it was just never enough.

Don’t get me wrong, there were good times. FitzMagic sprung on the back of memorable last second win vs Oakland in 2011. The home win against New England to snap a dubious streak is the game Fitz should be remembered for in his time as a Bill. He became a Buffalo cult hero during a 5-2 run to start that season. Then he got the money ($59 million), a still mysterious rib injury and everything went downhill from there.
Fitzpatrick joined Kelly as the only Bills QB’s to throw 20+ TD’s in three straight seasons, something that is not to be sneezed at. He threw 80 total touchdowns in the red, white and blue, but it was the untimely interceptions that always seemed to stain his reputation as a journeyman backup. The pick thrown to the Patriots Devin McCourty late last season stands out.

He also did help mold Stevie Johnson into a star. Fellow journeyman, TE Scott Chandler turned his career around with Fitz under center. Fred Jackson burst on to the scene as well as C.J. Spiller. David Nelson caught 60+ passes after going undrafted and Terrell Owens finally seemed to get in a groove with the Bills when Fitz took over for good midway through the 2009 season. The two of them connected in Jacksonville for the longest offensive play in Buffalo Bills history
The good just never seemed to outweigh the bad with Fitzpatrick. Good underneath throws, no deep ball whatsoever. Smart guy, bad football decisions.

But one thing you can never call Fitzpatrick is an underachiever. For his skill set, he was an overachiever, a characteristic too many Bills players have dearly lacked for the last thirteen seasons. Best of luck, Fitz.

Free Agency Preview

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm


When it strikes midnight tonight, the 2013 NFL Season is officially under way, and 4 o’clock on Tuesday, teams will be able to sign free agents to mega over paid contracts to join their respective teams.

The Buffalo Bills will be looking for needed help in a lot of positions. Let’s take a look at four positions we think Buffalo is very thin at, and should consider addressing when 4PM comes on Tuesday, the 12th.

The wide receiver position seems to be a glaring need for the Bills. When you look at the depth chart, after Stevie Johnson, the Bills have Brad Smith, Marcus Easley, and TJ Graham. That’s not exactly putting fear into the opposition.

With Dwayne Bowe resigning in KC, and Brian Hartline with the Dolphins, that makes the position the next man up, meaning that WR’s that were not projected to be a top priority will now be found in bidding wards.

The top WR’s are Greg Jennings, who Stevie Johnson has been trying to recruit. Behind him are Wes Welker, the ever inconsistent, but highly dangerous Mike Wallace, and Danny Amendola, who some scouts think is only successful in the slot.

Donnie Avery had a 60 catch season last year, but doesn’t seem ideal for the Bills.

Definitely keep an eye on Cleveland’s Mohammed Massaquoi, St. Louis’ Brandon Gibson, the Viking’s Jerome Simpson and Braylon Edwards. All seem to be what the Bills are looking for.

Tight End is a position that Buddy Nix has stated he wants to address. Scott Chandler, although productive the past two seasons, is coming off a tough injury, and behind him is next to nothing at the position.

Jared Cook, Fred Davis, Dustin Keller, Anthony Fasano are all options the Bills can explore. Martellus Bennett and Oakland’s Brandon Myers are great options for the Bills, but could be outbid for Myers.

One of, if not, the biggest glaring need for Buffalo is linebacker. Kelvin Sheppard, and Nigel Bradham are question marks, and after cutting Nick Barnett, the Bills have pretty much zero veterans at the position. Baltimore’s Darnell Ellerbe is the big name that will be sure to put Buffalo into a bidding war if they are interested, something they can’t do with a tight cap budget. Connor Barwin, Rey Maualuga, Bradie James, Brian Urlacher, Bart Scott are all options the Bills can explore. Detroit’s Justin Durant would be a huge addition to a weak position for the Bills.

Cornerback is another position the Bills could look to explore. Terrence Mcgee is gone, and Aaron Williams looks so lost out on the field. Aside from Stephon Gilmore, and Leodis McKelvin, the Bills are weak. Ron Brooks was highly inconsistent in his return from injury, and Justin Rogers took a step back after a mediocre 2011 season.

Kyle Arrington, Antoine Cason, Derek Cox, Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie, and the Lions Chris Houston are all big name’s the Bills could look to explore, but should come with a hefty price tag. Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, Mike Jenkins, Quentin Jammer are all options for the Bills who should come cheaper, but in a defense that relies on big play from the defensive backs that Pettine used in New York, and watched Rex Ryan use in Baltimore, this is a position Buffalo should think about investing in.