Let me start by saying how much I have enjoyed this BROP thing. I have enjoyed reading them. I was going to do a post with my offseason plan anyway, but I had to lose some sleep the past few days to make it happen now (very time consuming). This is super long so you can scroll down and see a summary at the end if you dont have time.
To be honest though, I dont think this is what Nix is going to do. I think he will change coaches and try to hit the reset button. I think he will bring in new names and faces, but without changing the major scheems and ideas that this team is built on.
My BROP keeps all the coaching staff the same. It is a win now plan that realizes that this coaching staff has some warts, but so will the new one. All in all I doubt the new coaching staff will be better accross the board. There are some things I dont like that Chan has done this year, but there are a lot of things that he has been blamed for that if this team had pulled out a few wins the same fans might be calling smart moves. I know we are tired of hearing it but continuity is needed at the coaching level.
I think we as fans have to ask ourselves why is our team not winning. I think we all know that the team needs a franchise QB, and that our defense has been terible, but lets be a little more specific. Yes we need a franchise QB and our GM says the wait is over, this offseason is the one.
Why has our defense been so bad? We added the long missing pass rush this year, wasn't that supposed to fix so much of what was wrong with our defense? Well yes and no. IMO our defense has a lot of talent, but is still full of problems. For one when you change coaches and scheems every time you turn around they are going to struggle. Secondly, the run defense has been poor all along. This year has been very inconsistant. There have been some games with great rush defense, but others have been record breaking bad. This for the most part is not a talent problem, the players we have on the team now could stop the run consistantly they just have not. This has made the gains in the pass rush irrelevent.
The last major problem I see is 3rd down conversions. For the most part this team has struggled here for long periods of time and on both sides of the ball. Fans say we have a red zone scoring problem. I say no, we have a 3rd down conversion problem. Fans say we just need to limit the opposing teams big plays. I say not really we just need our defense to get off the field on 3rd downs. On offense I think the problem would almost go away if we could convert on 3rd and short. Fans keep saying we have such good RB's, and we do, but they are not good at lining up big and power running the ball down a defenses throat. I am so sick of our team having a 3rd and two and everyone knows we are going to pass. I also am tired of seeing our team struggle on 3rd and 15's and knowing they will not throw the ball past the first down line. This offense needs some new weapons that will allow it to convert on short yard situations over half the time even when the defense knows a power run is coming. It also needs a QB that can strech the field and pass the ball for more than 10 yards down field.
On defense teams have converted on 3rd downs by getting the ball out quick and burning our young but talented DB's, or by running the ball down our throats. I actually think we are close to being able to stop the run, but another coaching change could change that. As far as stopping the short quick passes, we need our CB's to be more aggresive, and we need to grow up. My solution to follow.
When a team loses this many games players have to be changed. Lets look at who will stay and who will go.
Byrd and Levitre headline the FA keepers, followed by Nelson, K. Moore, T. Jackson, D. Jones, Merriman, B. Scott, along with Urbik who is already signed.
Those who did not make it were, T. Choice, C.Rinehart,T. Thigpen,R. Martin, D. Dickerson, C. Mcintyre, C. Brown,S. Johnson,C. White, K. Morrison, L. McKelvin, B. Smith, C. Kelsay, T. McGee, T. Troup, and G. Wilson.
As GM I sign Byrd for 5yrs 40M with a 10M SB.
Levitre gets rich with a 5yr 32M contract with a 7M SB.
Nelson and Jones sign 4yr contracts in the 3.5M - 4M range.
Merriman, K. Moore, and Scott sign short 1-2 yr contracts for 850K a yr.
T. Jackson if he stays signs for 2M a year, if he does not stay take your pick of 3rd string QB's in that price range.
By the way Fitz will be the starter next year until someone earns it from him. His cap for 2013 is 10.45M, but the team only saves 450K if they cut him. If you are going to get charged 10M for a guy stay or go, you keep him.
Lets take a closer look at the ones that did not make it.
I am fine with what T.Choice did as the 3rd stirng RB, but I need a short yardage back, and I think for slightly more money I can find one in FA that gives me more from the position.
I hate to lose C. Rinehart as a quality depth OG, but he can only play G and I want my back ups to be more versatile, and he is going to cost 1.26M and with the changes I have in store I need every cent.
D. Dickerson: is a lot like Choice in that I want more definition from that roster spot. I will replace him with a #2 TE that can double as a FB on power run plays.
C. Mcintyre: will be replaced by the #2 TE mentioned above as the team does not use him enough to justify his roster spot.
C. Brown: does not make it in my plan, but he will be here for camp to compete with D. Snow and may the best man win. They both are position versitale and can play anywhere inside.
B. Smith: I have argued for him in the past but it was with the notion that he would be used more and that he could be used as a way to convert short yardage plays from the wildcat. With that not happening I can use the 2.75M cap savings better on another player. I cant think of any reason F. Jackson cant run the wildcat just as good and maybee better. This would also give Fred some snaps as he could come out and run the wildcat when CJ is winded and let CJ come back out in a few plays not a few series.
L. McKelvin is a player that was mud a year ago, but has made it in most all the BROP's. I am not so sure about him. Yes he has improved but not until year 5 in a contract year. We need a solid #2 CB and even with McKelvin on the team I dont think we have that. I hate to lose his punt returns, but I let him go so I can afford a real #2 CB.
T. McGee: I love what he has given Buffalo through the years, but his body can no longer take the pounding. He also saves 2.1M off the cap that when added to what we would have to pay McKelvin to keep them both will almost pay for a real CB.
C. Kelsay has been overpaid for years and this year it catches up with him. At a 4.175M cap savings I keep Merriman for a fraction of that and let Kelsay walk.
G. Wilson: I toyed with the idea of keeping him around, but I needed the 3.375M cap savings to be able to employ the moderate player changes this team needs. Besides in my plan we move A. Williams from CB to safety, and I dont believe (Byrd, Williams, Searcy) is a step back from what we have been fielding at the position.
T. Troup: I hate to let him go but I think the time has come. Cap savings is 451K
C. White: Special teams guy that can be replaced.
R. Martin, T. Thigpen, K.Morrison, and S. Johnson are not resigned.
In FA I make one big splash and pick up three other players that help to fix our 3rd down conversion problems. Before I start I will say that I dont watch other teams much so I dont have a vast knowlege of other teams players so what I will do is give the position, what I have in mind for them to do and money I have available to spend for them. I would love to hear what players you think could fill the needs.
CB: I have eleminated two and moved a third to safety. I am fine with Brooks and Rogers at nickel, but I need someone to play oppisite Gilmore. K. Lewis from Pit. and C. Williams from the Ravens are young solid CB's that could fill the need, and I have up to 6M a year to spend on this position.
SLB: I think Bradham will be fine, but I want someone to earn his job from him and make him earn it back in time. As mentioned above we need to stop the rush so that would be his top priority. M. Lawson from the Bengals and J. Durant from the Lions are my choices. I have 3M a year to pay for this position.
TE: I intend to use the #2 TE as a back up to Chandler and for coming in on 3rd and short as a FB. With Chandler and L.Smith on the field in a two TE formation with a FB and a HARD hitting RB I intend to convert 3rd and short. D. Walker from SF is my choice and A. Smith from the Browns can both fill that need. I have 1.2M a year for this position.
RB: I need a hard hitting down hill runner who can come in and pick up first downs This player will also be the #3 RB and will get some play time if Spiller or F. Jackson get injured. M. Goodson of the Raiders, and B. Leonard of the Bengals are my guys, and I have 1M a year for this position.
That is it in FA now to the draft.
Round #1 QB M. Glennon We finally get our franchise QB and as soon as he earns the spot from Fitz he gets the job.
Round #2 WR. J. Hunter It is a proven tactic to bring in a good WR with your franchise QB and we need another outside WR so we can move S. Johnson inside.
Round #3 DE A. Okafor I did not spend much time here but we need a good run stopping DE and depth to replace Kelsay. I am open to your ideas for this position in this round.
Round #4 WLB Anthony Barr Running out of time to get this in by the deadline but this is supposed to be N. Barnett's replacement.
Round #5 OLB Kenny Tate Or someone to replace B. Scott.
Round #6 Best player available.
Ok so with all these changes and adding 6M for signing the draft The cap comes out to 127M. That leaves 3M for the practice squad and leaves my roster looking like this:
WR Justin Hunter, M. Easely
LT C. Glenn Z. Saunders
LG A. Levitre
C E. Wood D.Snow
RG C. Urbik S. Young
RT C. Hairston E. Pears
TE S. Chandler D. Walker L. Smith
WR(slot) S. Johnson S. Nelson
WR TJ Graham D. Jones
QB Fitz Mike Glennon T. Jackson
RB CJ Spiller F.Jackson M. Goodson
LE Mario Williams A. Okafor
DT M. Dareus J. Ross
DT K. Williams A. Carrington
RE M. Anderson S. Merriman K. Moore
SLB M. Lawson N. Bradham
MLB K. Sheppard A. Moats
WLB N. Barnett A. Barr Nickel(B.Scott K. Tate)
LCB C. Williams R. Brooks J. Rogers
SS D. Searcy A.Williams
FS J.Byrd M. Silva
RCB S. Gilmore
K R. Lindell
P S. Powwell
LS G Sanborn
Keep coaching staff
Draft franchise QB and #2 WR to come in together and make Glennon earn his first start
Go back to running a more wide open sread attack unless in short yardage situation
Combine TE#2 and FB with a new #3 RB to form a 3rd down conversion machine through FA
Fred takes over running the wildcat
Improve rush defense at DE through the draft
Bring in a quality CB and SLB from FA
Draft Barnett and B.Scotts replacements