Readers of this (and any) blog will see trends develop in our dialog. As the conversation moves from post to post, we tend to let some points of discussion dissipate into the rhetoric without a challenge, because they seem obvious or simple. These are the myths that need to be busted or confirmed in order to continue our search for the truth. When we don't identify these apparent axioms, they fester and puss all over otherwise rational discourse.
Today we're going to take a look at the most commonly heard myth on BR this off-season. (other than TWSS!)
But before we get going, lets take a quick review at last off-season's biggest myth.
"We know what we got in Fitzpatrick" was clearly the biggest myth of 2010. A tiny minority of Rumblers voted for Fitz as their favorite QB for the season starter in various polls, and comments from the time would routinely deride Fitzpatrick for blooper-grade accuracy, lack of arm strength, and other shortcomings. Pretty much every Bills fan was pleasantly surprised to see Ryan play significantly above the usual bar for a Bills QB, as he displayed leadership and poise behind center, while utilizing Chan Gailey's systematic coaching and his huge Harvard head to revive the Bills lifeless O.
This year has it's own widespread myths that may or may not be the case. Some are inconsequential, and some call for discussion. The subject of this post has already popped in the threads, and really needs a band-aid before next Thursday.
"We need to use the high draft picks to stuff the run" and all it's various constructs, is based in some sobering statistics. The Bills were dead last in the NFL against the run. And even though that stat stands alone, for those of us who actually watched the Bills try to stop the run, it's hard to argue that wasn't the biggest reason for the 4-12 record. Even as I type this, it's hard to re-live the humiliations delivered by Jets running backs alone...I'm getting nauseous, so I'll skip the details.
So the myth is NOT that the run stuff should be ignored. Not by any means. The myth is that nothing will change until the Bills bring in a big impact d-lineman and a thumper LB within the first few rounds of this draft, and therefore a high pick at any other position, even OLB and DB, is not addressing the team's main deficiency, and therefore is a wasted pick. We see this opinion in every comment section lately.
How can this be a myth, when it seems so obvious? It's pretty simple, actually. There's a huge red, white, and royal blue elephant in the chat room: this season will be the second time around for this regime. Sure, it's acknowledged, but it's by no means weighted properly in the discussion. Instead of all-new components learning an all-new system, there will be some continuity and fundamental cornerstones to build on. Troup, Carrington, Edwards, and Davis were all new to the team last year, and all are huge parts of the run stuff, both last year and next. Specifically, Troup has reportedly added muscle weight and is probably the biggest benefactor of experience last season where the run D is concerned. The run D will improve next season, with or without a high impact player from the draft.
More simply, continuity of coaches and players from the first to second season trumps any player in the draft in regards to addressing the last place run D.
Adding a high impact D lineman and a solid linebacker (or two) can only help the situation, and I'd love to get Dareus at #3. I understand why every Rumbler and his dog has Kelvin Sheppard mocked in the 3rd or 4th. That sounds great.
But what doesn't sound great is hearing over-and-over that the Bills need to draft a high impact run stuffer. It's not necessarily more important than finding the QB or adding a true lockdown corner or finding the next pass rush phenom. So I will completely understand if the first few picks aren't spent on the D line next weekend, and suggest everyone open their mind to this possibility.