As great as it was that the Bills shocked everyone starting out 5-2, as disappointing as this season has become, it is still not a disaster for this team. It is true that our defense is horrible. It is true that our offense has stagnated over the last month. These can be fixed without blowing everything up, and can indeed be fixed while still adhering to the 3-year timeline.
Yes. They do have a shot at the playoffs each. The biggest difference between them and us is that there rosters weren't completely overhauled in the last couple of years, and while the Broncos have a new coaching staff, the previous regime left some talented players in their absence (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Elvis Dumervil, Champ Baliey).
The Bills did have some talent when CHIX came in, but that talent is mostly on the IR at the moment (Kyle Williams, Fred Jackson, Eric Wood, Andy Levitre, Steve Johnson, Terrence McGee, George Wilson, Jairus Byrd).
One question that seems to be raised more often now is whether or not CHIX have disregarded needs of ours during the draft/FA.
In Year 1 we picked up a RT in Cornell Green (though he was awful), Dwan Edwards, and a pair of LBs in Andra Davis and Reggie Torbor. All three did nothing to help on the playing field. In Year 2 we got lucky to have the Packers release Nick Barnett, as he has been a tremendous help to our defense. Along with Barnett we picked up a Swiss Army Knife player who has contributed in spots but hasn't likely been used to his fullest (probably due to the lack of an off-season). Erik Pears was also another good find and made up for the poor play of Cornell Green. Not too many marquee players switched hands over this time, though we could have certainly used the help of Jonathon Joseph or Namdi Asomugha. JJ would have been semi-realistic, but not so much with NA.
In terms of drafting, this team didn't really stray too far from needs. At the start of the Reign of CHIX, it appeared that we needed a QB, WR, TE, OT, NT, DE, 2 OLBs, and an ILB.
In the 2010 Draft we selected. . .
1) CJ Spiller - RB - not a need in the strictest sense, though he was brought in because CHIX felt he was a dynamic player that could be a homerun threat with every touch. He hasn't taken the game and bent it over a barrel as many of us would have liked to see out of a #9 overall pick, but he hasn't had much opportunity either. I feel it is too soon to give up on him.
2) Torell Troup - NT - a perceived need at the time of the draft. Some would say that he was drafted too early and that we should have gone after Terrence Cody instead. There is a difference between the two. Troup was thought of as a 3 down player, where as Cody was not. Additionally, Cody had questions about his work ethic (he failed his TC physical in his rookie year). In his rookie year he didn't have the opportunity to play much since Kyle Williams was having a Pro Bowl year and Marcus Stroud was a veteran. This year he was unlucky enough to be injured when he did get a chance. I can't fathom calling a player a bust because he was injured during his first real shot at playing time (and that's disregarding the fact that he hasn't had a full 3 years in the league yet).
3) Alex Carrington - DE - a perceived need at the time of the draft. Sounds like many people like this pick and stand behind it. He has a legitimate shot at being a solid starter for us.
4) Marcus Easley - WR - a perceived need at the time of the draft. He is another home run threat, and has only really been a "bust" due to unlucky health reasons as opposed to his play on the field.
5) Ed Wang - OT - a perceived need. turned out to be a poor player.
6) Arthur Moats - OLB/ST - a perceived need. He had a big play as a rookie, hasn't done much since. Hard to fault a 6th round pick not being more than a backup.
6) Danny Batten - OLB/ST - a perceived need. Has only been practicing with the team for close to one year. Same situation as Arthur MOats.
7) Levi Brown - QB - developmental QB was a perceived need. He failed. Little more to say than that.
7) Kyle Calloway - RT - a perceived need. Many thought he'd be a steal as drafniks talked about him possibly going as high as the 3rd round.
UDFA - David Nelson - WR - Had a solid rookie season. Is having a solid second year and is a fairly reliable slot receiver and relieve valve.
UDFA - Donald Jones - WR - Looked solid for a UDFA as a rookie. Had a rough second year battling multiple ankle injuries. Probably gets unfair criticism for being thrust into outside WR role with injuries of Marcus Easley and Roscoe Parrish (yes, he was our slot WR, but he did have experience there and might have been the top backup).
UDFA - Naaman Roosevelt - WR - a third solid WR find for OBD as a UDFA. He's a solid developmental prospect that could be a backup WR.
UDFA - Antonio Coleman - OLB - OBD received a lot of credit for picking him up, as he had a lot of sacks his final year in the SEC. Hasn't become anything yet, still possibility with a different Defensive Coordinator.
In the 2011 Draft we selected. . .
1) Marcell Dareus - DE/NT - Has had a commendable rookie season. With him in our lineup our rush defense has improved noticeably (whilst missing our best defensive player in Kyle Williams). As a rookie, he was supposed to be our #2 defensive lineman but has been forced to receive the majority of our opponent's attention. He has done well considering this.
2) Aaron Williams - CB - There was some grumbling after this pick, but during CHIX's rookie year it was evident that we needed some DB help. McKelvin has been up and down and Florence is a shadow of his first year with the Bills. Williams was a need and he met good value with that pick.
3) Kelvin Sheppard - ILB - This was a need before Paul Posluszny left for greener pastures (haha) and still a need after we acquired Barnett (which if IIRC happened after the draft). Either way, this was a need and he was an emotional leader at a top SEC school. He also arguably met value here. He has had his ups and downs, but has the chance to be a good ILB for us.
4) Chris Hairston - OT - needed another OT at the time. Our depth was paper thin. Another good pick in hindsight as his play has been commendable for a rookie. He could likely be our starting LT next year, and that doesn't sound like a disaster as I'm typing this.
5) Johnny White - RB - In the 5th round it doesn't matter so much about need as it does about finding diamonds in the rough. White was a good team player at UNC and played a bunch of positions for that program. Haven't seen enough of him to make even an early analysis.
6) Chris White - ILB - A good ST player before getting hurt. A good find.
7) Justin Rodgers - CB - Hasn't looked terrible despite being a 7th round pick and a rookie. Has potential. Good find.
7) Michael Jasper - NT/OG - It will be interesting to see what becomes of him after a year on an NFL regimen. Either way, he is quite an intriguing find for a 7th round draft pick.
UDFA - Joshua Nesbitt - DB - good enough to make PS. Fantastic athlete. plenty of room for him to grow.
UDFA - Kamar Aiken - WR - good enough to make PS. plenty of room to grow.
RB x2 (Spiller, White)
DE x2 (Carrington, Dareus)
WR (Marcus Easley) + 3 solid UDFAs (Nelson, Jones, Roosevelt +1 unknown UDFA (Aiken)
OT x3 (Wang, Calloway, Hairston)
OLB x2 (Moats, Batten) + 2 UDFAs (Coleman, Eddins)
CB x2 (Williams, Rogers)
ILB x2 (Sheppard, White)
SS (Searcy) + 1UDFA (Nesbitt)
OG x1 (Jasper)
Looking back in the last two drafts, CHIX overhauled the roster and added as much depth as can be expected in only two years. What selections did we make that weren't needed at the time? Spiller? Who else? We go into our third draft with this regime needing an OLB, WR, and possibly a QB if one of value falls to us. That's not exactly a long list. The point is that while we don't have any known good OLB or Outside WR prospects, we haven't exactly ignored them for a draft pick that wasn't needed elsewhere.
If we picked AJ Green we'd be saying we need an OLB and a DE this year, instead of an OLB and WR.
If we could have picked Von Miller and did, we'd be saying we need a DE and WR this year, instead of OLB and WR.
Now this overhaul hasn't been without hiccups. George Edwards likely needs to go (as recent polls suggest the Rumblings community would appreciate), but this overhaul isn't exactly stuck in the mud moving nowhere. We have added prospects all across the roster, and the maturation of our two draft classes will have a profound impact next year (and really, we need to give 2010 all of next year before we start dishing out the "bust" labels).
Our defense has played alternately great and poor this year, but we're really one player away. If we can get a solid pass-rusher our defense will take leaps and bounds. On offense, if we can just get one solid outside WR opposite Stevie, we'll be much more difficult to shutdown between Stevie, Jackson/Spiller, and NewGuy.
Heading into the 2012 draft, we need WRs and OLBs. We have the opportunity to add a high profile WR without reaching (possibly Blackmon, Jeffery, Floyd). OLB is a bit trickier as the talent is more unknown, but there are still prospects (Upshaw, Curry, Mercilus). And if we don't take one of those 6 listed players, it's possible we'll have one of the top tackles or one of Luck, Griffin, Barkley.
Let's not hit the panic button or reset button yet. But if you wish to hit a button to convey your feelings on this season use the following liberally:
103 votes total
Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.