After this weeks game and a little bit of scouting here are a few things I learnt.
1. After this sunday's game, I am more optimistic about the future at 5-6 than I was at 5-2. The reason is,
In midst of the defeaning buzz surrounding this team after 5-2, I wrote a post questioning if the Bills have proven anything so far. I pointed out in the post that Fitz averages 44% or so completion against Rex Ryan defense (both baltimore and jets) and has never topped 49%. A lot of you said that he has improved and this year is totally different. He promptly went ahead and delivered another horrible performance and followed it up with 2 more blowouts.
But this loss to jets was the first time that he completed 66.7% of his passes against Rex. And not just dump offs but good intermediate passes. His average was 6.8 yds/att and he had 3 TDs and 0 INT. He took chances as always. But this game proves that even against the best defenses and a lack of talent, Gailey has in him to come up with a workable game plan and Fitz has in him to execute it. Imagine if we had better talent. It is unrealistic to expect Fitz and Gailey to beat the best defenses 100% of the times but this game showed there is a 50% chance.
2. I still think this team will go 7-9 as of now. And as of now, I expect us to draft #15 which is good. There might not be good linebackers if we draft any earlier.
3. There is too much bad talk about Stevie Johnson. Since everyone is talking, I will give my 2 cents. I infact thought the Burress mock was funny. Stevie did not let us down because of his celebration but because of his 2 crucial drops when most required. This is sort of becoming a disturbing trend. But the thing that should actually be talked about is that twice this year he has had the better of Darelle Revis. Not 2 passes but 2 whole games. Most receivers would be lucky to have 2 games in their career let alone in a season. Anyone talking about cutting or not resigning Stevie is nuts.
4. I am already hearing Troup being included in the bust list. While I always wanted the bills to pick Terrance Cody instead of Troup, that doesnt make Troup a bust.
Just to put things in perspective, the Jets drafted Sione Pouha in the 3rd round in 2005. He contributed less than Troup in the 1st year, was out the whole season the 2nd year and was never the starter his 3rd and 4th year. Infact in his contract year, the jets signed Kris Jenkins as nose tackle not giving him any chance. In 2009 Rex came in and instead of letting Pouha go he resigned him. Kris got put on IR and in his 5th year for the first time Pouha was a starter. The last 3 years, the Jets are among the top in run defense in large part due to Pouha.
Troup also appears to be done in his 2nd season. But nothing he has done, effort wise shows he is a bust. He has improved his technique and worked on his strength. If his back issues get resolved, he can be a really good player for us. And him being a 2nd round pick, money is not even an issue. I dont think we should call Troup a bust.
5. Speaking of bust, Fred's injury might have saved the bills another bust. Spiller obviously didnt do much against the jets but something tells me, being the unchallenged starter for 6 games releases some pressure and would probably help slow down the game for him due to the reps.
6. Speaking of another bust, no matter what excuse you give, Maybin's 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 8 games, not even as starter, is admirable. Anyone who says these are just coverage sacks and maybin is a bust is being ignorant, jealous and envious. This should be a clear indication our talent evaluators and coaches are not the best in the league and cannot bring out the best in our players. Maybe that has always been the reason for the high number of busts in this decade instead of the players themselves. We dont draft well and we dont know how to use what we have.
7. One way of feeling better about maybin would be return the favor the jets. Vernon Gholston has been a free agent since the end of august. Unlike maybin, he was productive multiple years in school. Unlike maybin, he is definitely not undersized and everyone knows he had a crazy combine. I am not saying we should sign Gholston now. I am saying we should definitely sign him in the offseason. Maybe a whole season out of football kicks some sense into him. I can find no reason except mental, why he should be a bust.
8. Finally a draft point. If the Bills are looking for a developmental QB, a name to get familiar with should be Chandler Harnish out of Northern Illinois. He is 6'2 221 lbs senior. He is already built to take the brunt in NFL. Infact he is similar to Fitz. But he has really good speed for his size. He has been a dual threat QB all his life which I think Gailey likes. What makes him better is he has a big arm and a really good accuracy. He played in a weak MAC conference but if not, he would go in the 1st round with the production anyway. Ben Roethlisberger came from MAC, btw. He never gets sacked and never throws interceptions. This season his TD:INT was 23 to 4 with 10 more rushing TDs. He is projected to go in the 4th round which would be ideal. He can sit behind Fitz for a couple years and who knows might become the complete QB that we want. Check this scouting report out.