I've been reading Buffalo Rumblings for quite some time now, and decided that I should post my first message. I think after this Free Agent offseason, there is quite a bit to be excited about with the Bills, and the moves the team has made. I think the combination of Williams, Anderson, Dareus, and the other Williams will pay off quite a bit more than people expect. (Anderson will end up more than a role-player, and Mario will be the pro-bowler he should be)
Outside of the major defensive moves, and the re-signing of some key players on the team, there is still a lot that needs to be addressed with this team. And I actually disagree with many people on the key areas that need to be improved.
I honestly believe Ryan Fitzpatrick will end up being our biggest issue next off-season, and instead, should be addressed THIS off-season. We should've made an attempt to get the #1 pick last year, and we also should've made the attempt to get the #2 this year. If they Bills org knew that we were going to make such a big effort to grab Mario Williams, and sign this many Defensive Free Agents to significantly bolster the team, then they should've made a huge leap to grab RG3 or Luck with this draft.
That statement is probably going to send people through the roof, because there are a lot of Fitz-backers who thinks he needs more weapons. I actually disagree, and think he really is showing us exactly who he is regardless of weapons. I like his toughness and grit, but that's about it. And toughness and grit don't necessarily make you a good QB. Lovely story, but he doesn't have the talent to get us to the next level regardless of what weapons he may have.
We went 5 - 2 to leadoff the season before the "hit" in the Washington game. However, during that 5 - 2 stretch, one game he didn't throw a TD, three games he threw just as many INTs as TDs. Granted they weren't always terrible numbers, but I wouldn't call them "lighting it up" numbers either. He was helped mainly by Fred Jackson, and also our defense making plays, including more interceptions AND TDs by the Defense. One of the biggest gripes I have with Fitz is that all of his stats seem to magically appear in 1 Quarter of every game, maybe two. The other quarters he just completely disappears. That is not the sign of a good QB to me.
Now to the 2nd half after the "hit". Everyone is quick to say the defense was terrible throughout the stretch. Maybe they weren't that great, however, when your offense goes 3 and Out so often, your defense is on the field an awful lot. Therefor, after coming back on the field so quickly, so often, it really will take quite a toll on your defensive players and tire them out. As for the actual hit to the ribs, I'm sure it did have some affect on his play. Rib injuries are rough on a QB. That being said, there have been quite a few that have played through Rib Injuries, and actually performed decently. I think there is a huge talent gap between where Fitz truly is, and where many people believe in their minds that he is.
Now we are hearing according to Chan that the injury bothered him for a few weeks, ok let's give him 4 weeks of bothering from the injury then. What about the other 7 to 8 weeks that he wasn't good in? At some point during that timespan even a rib injury would make progress in healing, and at no point in that span would I say his play improved. He has far too many inaccurate throws on even the most easy passes for him to qualify as a good QB. I think his statistics were more a product of Chan's scheme and gameplanning, which consequently only lasts for a short period of time, before people catch on and outplay us.
As for a deepthreat, it won't matter much, because Fitz just isn't a good consistent deepthrower. We can all be excited about having a big fast receiver to help in the game, but to be honest, a receiver like that will outplay Fitz's talent level. Better weapons are a good thing for us, in that I really think it will expose Fitz as the mediocre QB that he is. I do feel that if we are able to get some better receivers in this draft, come next year, Fitz won't show any improvement, and people will finally realize that as much as he is a tough player, he just won't cut it as a winning QB.
With the great defensive moves that were made this offseason, we really do need to start figuring out the more permanent solution to upgrading the QB postion. If we win even 2 more games, that puts us in an even worse draft position next year, and we slowly turn more and more towards mediocrity again. Ultimately any rebuilding hinges on your QB, whether we like it or not. Yes you can have a monster defense, but even so, you have to have at least a good QB to make it, and preferably a "franchise" one that can win you games consistently and show up for the ENTIRE game. If we keep marginally improving every year, we are going to marginally take ourselves further and further away from drafting a franchise QB the longer we ignore it. Yes it sucks that sometimes the QB can't play right away, but let's be honest, we aren't going to the Super Bowl next year anyways. (And I'll bet we never even go to the playoffs at any point in his career if we have Fitz at the helm)
Drafting a QB in the first round may be the one exception to the rule where you have to have the guy start right away. That being said, him not starting right away is a plus, and ultimately will payoff MUCH more than any other position/move/player can down the road if it pans out.
It is a high-risk/high-reward scenario, but many other teams have done it and had quite a lot of success. Many will be quick to point out all the teams that it hasn't worked for, but also ignore the teams that it HAS worked for and just how WELL it worked for them. That is the high-risk/high-reward.
If we want to continue being mediocre, then let's keep Fitz right where he is. In my opinion, for us to really get to the next level, QB right now, this year, sitting behind Fitzpatrick and in 2013, he has the chance to go start for us. Maybe not an option with the #10 pick, unless Tannehill really does live up to his hype on his pro day, etc. But if they don't see it working this year, they better start making some trades for first round picks next year so they can move up. I've seen some people posting this idea, and I think it is fantastic.
And also, the one thing to keep in mind with drafting the later rounds QB is that, everyone loves a sleeper. We all like to say that we saw the talent when nobody else did, ala Tom Brady and some others. Don't bet your franchise on a later round QB, because when it gets to that level, it is less based on talent and more based on luck than even the first round. There is a luck / talent balance with ever pick in every round, but the further you go down in the draft, the more it starts to skew against you. I'm fine taking a later round QB, but not in the false believe that he is being taken to solely become our franchise QB in a few years. If he does great, but it wasn't because we had a solid belief that he would be that good.
We need to forget about the bad taste from Losman, forget about Trent Edwards, dust ourselves off and try again. And this time, make a real honest effort at a "Franchise QB". I know Gabbert had a crappy year, but I honestly believe the Jaguars were a terrible fit for any QB, and if we had taken Gabbert, he would be able to sit behind Fitz, and then have a real opportunity at being a great QB. Not that I'm disappointed with Dareus by any means.
At some point we are going to have to sacrifice a "day one starter" mentality in the first round, and use the pick on a QB that may sit a year or two, if we want to be the franchise we should be.
I just have a very bad feeling that we will find out the hard way this year, that we have been ignoring the biggest problem on the whole team with Fitz. Probably will be a great QB Coach someday, but won't be a great QB.
I'm done with my rant. Hopefully I'm wrong.