This is my look at the off-season. I understand many might not agree with me but there are some that do. And although I am one fan with his opinion I think the Bills have had a productive off-season thus far. Granted there are still holes, and still some team needs, that I will get into in another entry. I wanted to voice my opinion, it may be through rose-colored glasses, but the off-season was not as bad as many (National Media included) make it out to be.
After reading multiple doomsday posts on the Message Board and reading a lot of National Media Critics of the Buffalo Bills off-season I want to voice my opinion. First I will talk about the loss of some key players: Clements, Fletcher, Spikes, Clements and then the additions. I understand some might not agree or may have more to add, but hopefully if you do not agree with something I write, you will reply with your opinion. I will not get into the holes left by these players because I will talk about them later in a post before the draft.
First I will talk about Nate Clements, as this is one of the more fueled debates on the boards and in the Media. I like many did not like seeing Nate leave the Bills. This move fueled the continue talk that the Bills are a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Although in terms of Nate that argument might have some juice, I think it was a cost vs reward issue that had Nate leave to bigger (80 mil) maybe not better situation. The bottom-line is that many knew Nate was gone, especially with Asante Samual being franchised that he had very limited competition and was going to get that big payday. I would have loved to see him in Buffalo but not at the price, and I am not talking about the 8 years 80 mil (because we all know he will not see all that) but more in regards to the 23 mil that was guaranteed. So the issue was do we keep Nate, a shut down corner, on a Cover-2 Defense or fix the Oline finally. Now Nate is a player that became expendable because of the system we now run. Marv and company knew this, which is why Youboty was drafted last year. Nate leaving does hurt the Defense, but not in a way that I do not think they can overcome with Ashton. I still want to say thank you Nate.
Second Flecther, who I like many will admit he was the heart of this defense. But the question must be asked does a 32 year old MLB that does not fit a Cover-2 system need to be the heart of the defense or is it time to move on. I like the front office think it is time to move on. Now this caught a lot of flack from the fans and media alike, but Joey Porter is out of Pitt, why because he does not fit the system even if he was more of a playmaker than Fletch. Like Nate this move hurt the hearts of the fans because they are both classy players. But again we needed the extra money for the Oline and for future extensions of Lee and JP. The age, the non-system fit, Crowell's play and the fact that this years draft is very deep in LB talent made Fletch expendable. But I do want to say thank you Fletch you should have had many Pro-Bowls.
Third one I want to talk about is Spikes. I was hoping you could have made it back from that injury, and who knows you still may. But I did not think you liked the direction the team was going, so we dealt you to a team that may give you the chance for that Ring this year. Again another aging LB that does not fit the system, again with a major cap hit. Now I do not like comparing players to players from a different position, but I am going to here as an analogy. Daunte Culpepper and TKO were similar situations. Does the front office think that a team that is young and improving should put the hopes in a player that may or may not be able to come back from a major injury? If that answer was yes TKO would still be on this team. But obviously the FO did not want to put all their eggs in that basket, so instead dealt him for some help at DT. And like Fletch the play of Ellison and the depth at the position in the draft made TKO expendable. But like the first two I want to thank you TKO for your time here.
The last major off-season move was McGahee. Now I do not want to turn this into a McGahee bashing section but I will say I was happy to see him leave. McGahee's best season came when he was trying to take Henry's spot. Once he earned that spot he turned into cost mode. Now many will say it was the offensive line, and I will say that may have something to do with his play. But let me ask was that offensive line any better when he played like he did when he wanted the number one spot? In my opinion it was about the same. So to get the picks that we got for him was a nice trade. Now the bashing of the city and the team-mates showed no class from this guy, and I for one am not that type of person, so Thank You Willis for your time on the field. But with all the other stuff that came with you I am happy to see you gone.
Ok now on to the additions. First I will talk about the Oline together in one segment because that is how I think an Oline should be talked about (As a Unit) not one player. Derrick Dockery from what I have read about him and from the little I seen him play he finally came into is own some last year. It seems to me like he continually is improving from year to year. He is big and athletic and finally should solidify our revolving door at LG. I have no worries with him and Peters playing next to each other that our left side will be good for years. Langston Walker, IMO was brought in to initially play RT, but now seeing Pennington come back in very good shape I think there is going to be some very good competition for that place. Which I would not mind if Butler, Pennington beat out Walker at RT, so he would end up playing RG (I think he is better there). But he is a talent that has underachieved in his career, and not being in a better situation (compared to Raiders) maybe that talent will be realized. I mean heck look at what the "phenom" Gallery has done in Oakland so far. Whittle again more quality depth and competition. If you look at the line now we finally have some quality depth and competition for McNally to work with. This will only help JP and our running game as well. Not to mention Marv said he was going to work hard on the Oline and managed to do it in one day.
The last outside player that was brought in was Darwin Walker. From reading about him is a classic 3 tech tackle. He gets a lot of penetration and plays pretty good against the run. But what I really like about this signing is it brings in a Vet to help our young DTs develop as well as give you a true 4 man rotation. I also think this trade tells you a lot where McCargo will be playing. I see the rotation now being Trip/Walker at the 3 and McCargo and Williams at the 1.
So while we created some hole on the team this off season we finally (on paper) have fixed the biggest one of the Offensive line. The two other glaring holes of LB and RB look for them to be addressed in the draft but the question is how. I will talk about that later in another post.
Thanks for reading