I get a ton of email and a ton of tweets asking about the Buffalo Bills and football in general that I just don't have time to get to. With the 0-5 Bills on a bye week, I thought it'd be a nice time to drag out a few of the more often-posed questions to me in a krytime-style mind dump of a mailbag post. Questions are paraphrased.
At what point do you think Brian Brohm will play?
That's sort of a trick question, and as many times and ways as I've been asked, there's never any delineation between Brohm getting garbage time reps and Brohm becoming the nominal starter. Brohm could literally play any week in which the Bills are getting blown out and Chan Gailey feels like tinkerin'. The possibility exists that Gailey makes a permanent switch to Brohm if the Bills keep losing and they get to the last six or eight games on the schedule, but with the way Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing right now, I don't consider that option overly likely.
Are you ready to admit you were wrong about Aaron Maybin?
First - yes, some of y'all can get a little aggressive when you ask questions; that's cool. I assume those of you phrasing the question this way refer to my preference of Maybin over Brian Orakpo (goodbye, sane comments section) in April of 2009. While I think it's ridiculous to call a 22-year-old kid a bust, I am ready to admit that Maybin's might be the most disappointing Bills story to date this season. He is clearly in Gailey's doghouse, and might not see the light of day for a while. The fact that the team would rather play Arthur Moats and Antonio Coleman at outside linebacker instead of Maybin is cause for serious concern.
Why do you defend Tom Modrak when our draft record is so bad?
I'm thinking perhaps some of you miss the true intent of my comments here when I reply to any thread mentioning Modrak. Most of those are calling for his firing, or apportioning him a significant chunk of blame for the team's misfortunes over the past decade. I've attempted, and obviously failed, to make my stance on the Modrak issue perfectly clear: I can't get myself to care either way if he stays or goes, but it's ridiculous to lay the problems of the franchise at his feet. Admit it: anyone calling for Modrak's head is simply looking for a cathartic release, because when it boils down to it, the only thing he's ever been in Buffalo is a scout. He's never called the shots. If you want to argue that the Bills need to gut their scouting staff, and in doing so Modrak needs to go, that's fine. Singling him out has always just struck me as petty and odd, and that's why I reply the way I do.
Which college quarterback is your favorite?
Andrew Luck is everyone's favorite at the moment, and with good reason - his game is remarkably polished for someone his age, and his feel for the game of football is impeccable. He's going to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL for a long time. Jake Locker is a close second, Christian Ponder a distant third, and Ryan Mallett just behind him. (Can of worms OPENED!) Locker's physical tools are tremendous enough to make him the No. 1 overall pick if Luck stays at Stanford, even if his college production has always left us wanting more. I like Ponder's intangibles more than Mallett's raw tools - but before you accuse me of being a "Mallett hater," whatever the hell that means, just know that I wouldn't mind at all if the Bills decided to build around him. I think he's got a good shot to be a solid player. He's just not anywhere close to being worthy of a Top 5 pick. Only Luck and Locker are in that territory.
Do you think the Bills will trade [insert player name]?
Maybe a half-dozen player names have filled those brackets, and my answer is the same every time: no. Buddy Nix does not strike me as a GM that makes calls assessing the value and availability of his players, and I don't see a single player on this roster that other teams will be calling about. In the unlikely event that another team were to call inquiring about a player, I think Nix would listen, but he'd need to do far more than hear a guy out to make a move.
Why do the Bills play the 4-3 so much?
The short answer is they don't. They did it a bit against Jacksonville, though considering the way Chris Kelsay plays linebacker, I'd call it more of a 5-2. If you're referencing a particular alignment from the first four games, you're likely seeing a nickel or dime package, and in most cases, the Bills don't have three linebackers behind their four down linemen. But to answer what I believe to be the true spirit of the question, the Bills use four down linemen in sub-packages just like every other 3-4 team in the NFL. Quite frankly, they don't have the athleticism in their front seven to do much else; once they get some talent, particularly at outside linebacker, you'll see a lot more variety in their nickel and dime rush packages.
Do you think the team has any linebackers worth keeping?
Kelsay certainly isn't going anywhere any time soon, and Buffalo is so horrendous on the inside that I think they almost have to try to re-sign Paul Posluszny, as he's their best athlete there. Aside from Arthur Moats, a guy that I'm quite high on at outside linebacker, I do not believe there are any linebackers on this roster that they have to keep. It's by leaps and bounds their weakest position defensively.
Do you think the team has any offensive linemen worth keeping?
Certainly. All three starting interior linemen are playing at an acceptable level. Andy Levitre and Eric Wood should be locked in as starters for the next few years, and even if the team finds a way to demote Geoff Hangartner, he's playing pretty well and absolutely worth keeping around; I'd keep him in the lineup. That's it, though - and I don't think anyone expected a different answer. They need to continue to try to stockpile talent here.