K mentioned that I should make this a seperate fan post from where I originally placed it in another, so in order to make him happy, I did so. Take a gander, disagree, agree, or anything inbetween, lets hear what people are thinking!
To start, let me say that DJ is a good coach for the players we have now on this team. Turk is showing flashes of becoming a good OC, but this is his first year of calling plays, and we just have to accept the lumps that come with the learning curve of him.
Fewell and April have no such excuses for bad play by their portions of the teams. April will get less crap from me this season than Fewell since we did let 5 of his best players walk this past FA period, and he has kept this team in games the past couple of years at time due to his stellar work with the STs. Fewell, well, people know where I stand regarding him and his keep the CBs 8 yards off the ball on 2 & 5 or 3 & 3 situations. I think he may be the biggest coaching stumbling block we have.
Offensive Perssonel wise, its the lack of a good TE, and C .
TE- Schouman is a decent receiver, who knows what in the world we have in Fine, and well, we all saw why we want to remove Royal from the team entirely on Sunday. When we lost Reed today, it really brought home the desperate need we have regarding a true, real threat of a TE. No, I don’t mean a Witten caliber game changer, more like a real move the chains type, solid pass catching and decent blocking type TE whom teams have to key on regardless of the personnal on the field on 3rd down.
By the way, the loss of Reed CANNOT be understated for this game. Every week Trent looks to Reed to bail him out of messes and the guy just makes the damn play. When Reed went down, Trent’s game went south pretty quickly, and that was because you KNOW he doesn’t trust Royal to make a play unless Trent has no other choice but to throw it to him.
C- Preston wasn’t horrid, nor did Fowler stink up the joint, and now we all know why Preston was pulled late in the game, it was to get Whittle off the field. Still, being able to say “He wasn’t horrid” is NOT how I want to look at a game whether or not it is a win or loss for this position. I want a real C who when Ron from NM looks at the tape he can say, “We honestly didn’t hear much from the C today good or bad” how sad that is the level of play we wish to attain at this position? Until we get a guy who can make the line calls and can handle for most of the time the massive NTs we face thanks to three 3-4 Ds in our division, this will continue to hurt us.
Defense personnel wise I think the issue is lack of a real pass rush DE, starting OLB, and quality LB/DB depth.
DE- Are our ends overpaid for what we get? Yes, is there anyone coming up in FA any better than who we have? Debatable. As it stands we need a pure pass rush DE this offseason. People think that when we say a Pass Rush guy, we need some barn burning DE. That is not completely true, a good pass rush end is fast enough to get by a OT (doesn’t need to have 4.4. speed ya know), strong enough to bull rush as needed and fight through double teams, and smart enough to make adjustments on the fly. Needless to say that is a tough set of skills to pick up anywhere, but we need to find some varation of this type of player who can be an impact next year.
OLB starter- Thanks to the Crowell mess, we have Ellison who is a solid backup OLB, but no full time starter, playing full time. Not a good situation, and alot will be talked about here and at ODB about how to fill this hole in the offseason. It may be a FA or a draft pick, but we need Ellison where he belongs, on STs full time and backing up Kawika and the new starter which is his strength. Until that is fixed, we will have struggles in the LB corp, though so far we have covered that up pretty well so far.
LB/DB Depth- Well, this is an area we thought was completely covered at the start of the season, and it was until these past 2 weeks. The lose of DiGi to injury hurt the LB corp today, they looked tired by the end of the game since most of them played the whole game. When DiGi and Bowen get healthy and our new OLB allows Ellison to return to his comfort area, our depth will be OK, but we may want to think of a 7th guy to keep around if we continue to be injury prone there.
Our DB depth which looked good at the start of the season with McGee, Youbuty, Corner, McKelvin, and Greer is now reeling. The fact that we have kept 5 safeties helps a little, but while Scott is a decent cover player, he can’t keep up with the Ted Ginns of the world. Simpson looks to have regressed slightly since his injury. Two days ago on Cheech’s run for a TD, Simpson stopped his feet and tried to shoulder Half Baked away from the endzone instead of moving forward aggressively to try and either stick him or slow him up for tackling help. He didn’t do that and there went up 6 points in the Phins favor. Some of this can be masked/repaired with improved coverage schemes, but it sure seemed today that Fewell was afraid to run McKelvin out there even though he couldn’t play worse than the hobbled McGee. And I must then ask this question, if he is so afraid of playing McKelvin, why the hell did we draft him?
I have a feeling that Bills fans had better be ready for a roller coaster ride the rest of the season. I still believe that a 9-7 or 10-6 record will be in the offering for us without a lot of trouble this year due to the slide of the traditional powers, and we earn a playoff berth. I feel we are a year, and a real TE, C, and OLB with a pass rush specialist if we can find one away from being a consistent threat to the AFC in general for a yearly playoff spot. If I had my druthers, Fewell would be gone as well and replaced by a DC like one of the Ryans or Ron Rivera, or even Ron Meeks of the Colts, imagine if he had Stroud and Mitchell to work with instead of just Freeney and Brittle Man Bob Sanders?