I know that this post is going to probably burn a lot of people. Heck - I don't like it any more than you do - but it's what I think and you guys know that I put down what I think on this site more often than not - and it's usually unfortunate for both of us - so for that I apologize!
So disclaimer aside - I think that the lockout will, and here's the kicker, ultimately help the Bills - it's just going to be more of the same - slow, painful rebuild.
We're about to start year 2 of the Chan Gailey, Buddy Nix and Doug Whaley era - I think most of us are pretty much on the same page on how this year will go. We most likely won't be sniffing the playoffs - our division is too tough and we're still a very young team with a lack of talent or underdeveloped talent at key positions. So - what are you talking about J2? Well - here's most likely a terrible explanation of how I think things will play out - or well, ultimately, hope will play out - in the long run.
C.J. Spiller, Torrell Troup, Alex Carrington, Marcus Easley, Danny Batten, Arthur Moats, Ed Wang, Naaman Roosevelt, Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard, Da'Norris Searcy, Chris Hairston, Johnny White, Chris White, Justin Rodgers and Michael Jasper - what do these guys have in common? Well obviously they are all very young players in the NFL but they will be effected by this lockout in similar yet different ways.
There is a common theory out there that most NFL players make their biggest jump from year 1 to year 2. There are lots of reasons for this - proper NFL strength training, watching film on themselves and having a year in their NFL systems are some of those reasons.
Unfortunately for the Bills our 2010 draft class won't have the advantage of an entire NFL off season with OTA's, Mini-camps and NFL strength training. As a result I think that their development will be ultimately stunted and we won't see some of those guys shine as early in 2011 as we would like. It might be one of those things where some of these guys really start to come on but not until week 10 or so and by that time the playoffs could be a distant memory. Echoes of 2010.
For the 2011 draft class I think we all know how far behind the 8 ball these guys will be. Not only will they have the same challenges as the 2010 draft class but they will have a far tougher road because they a) don't know what they don't know (gotta love cliche's right?), b) haven't had any time with the coaches and c) haven't been able to work with NFL trainers to show them how to properly take care of their bodies.
Now - I know that all 2nd year players and all of the 2011 draft class have to overcome the same circumstances but there are lots of teams that don't have it as rough as the Bills because they are more established in their systems. Think about the Jets and Patriots - they have veteran experience and a deep understanding of their schemes and their players. They aren't nearly as reliant on their youth as the Bills are and that's where we get behind the 8 ball - especially since both the Jets and Pats are at this point perennial Super Bowl contenders.
The Ultimately Will Help The Bills Segment Of The Article
I'm sure you probably know where i'm going with this - but I think that because of said circumstances that the Bills will be drafting quite high again in the draft next year. If we didn't have a lockout would we still be picking high? Maybe - but I think the lockout will certainly hurt the Bills more this year than either of the Jets and Pats and as a result we will be picking higher - I could be wrong - but that's what I think.
Picking higher - obviously - yields better players - or well it should yield better players and it might even get us a shot at one of the top QB prospects - which ultimately will help the Bills.
Another thing that the lockout will do - it seems at least - is make Ralph Wilson spend a little more of his money and keep talented players here. I'm not sure how much more because it seems to me that a simple accounting practice could resolve spending 90% of cash to the cap but I don't know that - it's more of a theory than anything. However, if he does have to spend more cash and can remain financially viable with regionalization and winning more games (more fan following + more tickets/merchandise sold = more money) then the Bills could ultimately be a better franchise simply because of said circumstances.
So while I don't want the 2011 season to be a bad season record wise - I think the stars are lining up that way. I honestly hope I'm dead wrong - i'd love to go 19-0 - i'm just not sure that will happen.
So what do you guys think? Do you think that the lockout will ultimately help the Bills as it relates to this post? Or do you all think i'm a crazy, crazy SOB (note: rhetorical question)?