My fellow rumblers,
For those of you who have not read my original article - it can be viewed here In Buddy Nix I Trust - Pt 1 (if you have the time, you will not regret reading it).
I will try to keep this as "short" and straight to the point as possible. (If you don't want to read the whole thing, emphasize on the bold statements)
- Reviewing the 2012 Draft
- Reviewing the 2012 Offseason
- Depth chart and 53 man roster
- Previewing the AFC East and the season
- Conclusion - In Nix We Trust
PART 1 - REVIEWING THE 2012 DRAFT
As I predicted Nix & Gailey followed their 2011 NFL draft, which yielded 5 starters and 4 significant contributors, with a superb 2012 Draft. I get pissed off when professional writers don't grade the Bills with a solid "A." Why don't they deserve it?
Pick 1.10: Stephen Gilmore (CB) - South Carolina
I love this pick. Greg Cosell believes Gilmore is the best CB in this class and compared him to Charles Woodson.
Pick 2.9: Cordy Glenn (T) - Georgia
Grade: A+. This is my favorite pick of the entire 2012 NFL Draft. Nix would have chosen Glenn in the 1st round if Gilmore was taken. After the draft Nix explained his strategy: "We put it out there and tried to spread the rumor that he was a guard to hope somebody wouldn't take him." Smart strategy. Nix/Gailey have made it clear they believe Glenn can play LT. Glenn was rated as a top 15 pick and we got him in the second round with out moving up. Are you kidding me? Awesome.
- Pick 3.6: TJ Graham (WR) - NC St.
Graham replaces Roscoe Parrish in our offensive scheme. He is designated a "burner" who will help us "stretch the field." He is rumored to run a 4.29 sec 40. Graham will complement the bigger possession receivers in Johnson, Nelson, and
Pick 4.10: Nigel Bradham (OLB) - Florida St.
Bradham brings depth to the 4-3 OLB position behind Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison
Pick 4.29: Ron Brooks (CB) - LSU
I absolutely positively love this pick. Brooks is extremely athletic, presents high upside, is a bit raw, but can contribute as a Nickel/Dime and/or special teams immediately.
Pick 5.9: Zebrie Sanders (OT) - Florida St.
Grade: A+. Sanders was rated as a high 3rd round pick and described as a natural swing left tackle. To pick up Sanders at the top of the 5th not only fills a need, but is great value, and follows Nix concept of taking the BPA. Love it
Pick 5.12: Tank Cardner (ILB) - TCU
Carder should be ranked higher but suffered from injuries in his previous season of play. Once again this is a steal and builds depth behind Sheppard at the MLB position.
Pick 6.8: Mark Asper (G) - Oregon
Asper builds depth on the offensive line, but does not necessarily fill a need - we seam to be OK at guard. There were a few players available that were ranked higher according to overall rankings. But of course I'm sure Nix has a reason for this pick. A few names to keep in mind: BJ Cunningham (WR), Tom Compton (OT), Marvin McNutt (WR), Tommy Streeter (WR), Brandon Washington (G), Billy Winn (DT), Travis Lewis (OLB), Alfonzo Dennard (CB), Rishard Matthews (WR)
Pick 7.44: John Patter (K) - Western Michigan
Patter has a big leg, and provides depth behind Ryan Lindell who was injury prone last season. Patter could eventually succeed Lindell at the very best.
Overall the draft provided the Bills with more talent and depth on need positions. We improved considerably coming out of the draft. Although it is relatively foolish to grade the draft now; I would give the Bills a solid "A" for following their big board AND filling their needs.
PART 2 - REVIEWING THE OFFSEASON
Going into the off season we had to improve the talent on our team, had significant holes at LT, Pass Rush, and defensive depth. We had to re-sign Stevie Johnson, and Fred Jackson. Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey filled most if not all their holes this off season, kept our talent, and improved the team through the draft.
I believe there are three main factors that go into building successful NFL franchises. The most successful teams in the NFL the past decade (Colts, Patriot, Steelers, Packers, Ravens...) have complied with this criteria. They are, not in any specific order...
Successful NFL franchises build their team through the draft, draft well, and make major HITS in the first round. (Example Steelers 1st rd picks: David Decastro (G), Cameron Heyward (DE), Maurkice Pouncey (OC), Ziggy Hood (NT), Rashard Mendenhall (RB), Lawrence Timmons (LB).....)
Successful NFL franchises, once discovering talent through the draft or offseason, KEEP their talent on their team. (Example à Colts have found and at some point re-sign Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday)
- Successful NFL franchises create successful front offices with consistent GM's who are not afraid to choose a coach they believe will yield success for their team. Successful NFL franchises get their franchise coach. Successful NFL franchises have a head coach that fits the teams personality, is consistent, and progresses the team over the years. This may not be a luxury pick, but one that works...(Steelers - Mike Tomlin, Ravens - Haurbaugh, Patriots - Bellicheat, Packers - Mike McCarthy, Colts - Tony Dungy)
There was a point this decade where the Bills did not come close to meeting this criteria. The last 2/3 years; since Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey joined the organization, do I believe this franchise meets this criteria and is headed for success.
- Pass Rush Need: Fulfilled by the addition of Mario Williams (DE) & Mark Anderson (DE)
- LT Need: Fulfilled by drafting Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders
- No shut down corner: Fulfilled by drafting Stephen Gilmore
- Retaining our talent: Re-signed Stevie Johnson, Fred Jackson, Terrence McGee, Scott Chandler, Bryan Scott to name just a few...
This has been the best off season of any team in the NFL. Which team in the NFL can say they have improved this significantly from 2011 to 2012? This also may be the most important off season in Buffalo Bills history - an off season that could finally get us over our playoff slump
Part 3 - DEPTH CHART AND 53 MAN ROSTER
I will attach an image later
Depth Chart (1st team, 2nd team, ext)
- QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brad Smith, Tyler Thigpen
- RB: Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller, Tashard Choice
- FB: Corey McIntyre
- LT: Cordy Glenn, Chris Hairston
- LG: Andy Levitre, Michael Jasper
- C: Eric Wood
- RG: Craig Urbik, Chad Rinehart
- RT: Erik Pears, Zebrie Sanders
- TE: Scott Chandler, Mike Caussin, Lee Smith
- WR-X: Stevie Johnson
- WR-Y: David Nelson, Marcus Easley, David Clowney
- WR-Z: Donald Jones, TJ Graham
- RE: Mark Anderson, Shawn Merriman
- UT: Kyle Williams, Alex Carrington
- NT: Marcell Dareus, Torrell Troup, Kellen Heard
- LE: Mario Williams, Chris Kelsay
- WLB: Nick Barnett, Chris White, Tank Cardner
- MLB: Kelvin Sheppard
- SLB: Kirk Morrison, Nigel Bradham
- CB R: Terrence McGee, Aaron Williams (Nikel), Ron Brooks
- CB L: Stephen Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rodgers
- FS: Jarius Byrd
- SS: George Wilson, Da'norris Searcy, Bryan Scott
Special Teams (3):
- K: Ryan Lindell
- P: Brian Moorman
- LS: Garrison Sanbourn
PART 4 - 2012 SEASON AND THE REST OF THE AFC EAST
What's going on with the rest of the AFC East? Did teams improve or take a step back?
New England Patriots - Improved
Patriots had a great draft and added important players in free agency to improve their roster. The defense will be significantly improved - a result of their first two draft picks. However their secondary is still questionable. The offense improved via signing Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez, and Brandon Llyod. An already potent offense improved. Bottom line - the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East, but we have make significant strides to catch up.
New York Jets - Declined
The Jets lack the cohesive locker room and team leadership to succeed. They have become the laughing stock of the NFL. Tim Tebow was signed, yes, but how much does he improve the team? Mark Sanchez has yet to show the ability to carry this team. The talent is present on the team, the concept of team is not. The Jets are more of a reality TV show then an NFL team.
Miami Dolphins - Declined and Rebuilding
The Dolphins have a talented roster however there are too many changes. New coaching staff, switching to a 4-3 defense, and a rookie QB don't make things easier. Although they had a successful draft - the Dolphins are in rebuild mode and have not done enough to improve themselves from last year. But mind you, this team will still be competitive so they won't be easy to beat.
In 2011 (Home:5-3 Away:1-7 AFC-East: 1-5) - We were decent at home to start the season. We were terrible on the road. And we were terrible in the AFC-East. We need to improve against our division and play better on the road.
Looking at the 2012 Season: (Predicting W/L)
@ NY Jets
W - The Bills have too much momentum this off season & beat the Jets
HOME - KC Chiefs
W - Decent team that is returning from numerous injuries and coaching changes
@ Cleveland Browns
W - Browns are a mess esp offensively and continue to rebuild
HOME - NE Patriots
W - Home game against Patriots - too much riding for the team and fans, Bills will be more motivated
@ SF 49ers
L - 49ers could be the best team in the NFL; tough to score on their D
@ Arizona Cardinals
W - A rebuilding team that lacks offensive and defensive identity
HOME - Tennessee Titans
W - Titans are a team on the rise - but our defense will stop their young offense
- BYE WEEK - Perfect timing for a bye, dead middle of season, w tough games coming up
@ Houston Texans
L - Could be the best team in the AFC with a potent offense and speedy defense
@ NE Patriots
L - Patriots will not be beaten at home after loosing to us at OBD
HOME - Miami Dolphins
W - Bk home from 2 road losses, Bills get back on track against Tannehill who starts his 1st game
@ Indy Colts
W - Andrew luck is not enough to compensate for a heavily rebuilding team
HOME - Jacksonville Jaguars
W - They have a dangerous Punter, he should not be taken lightly....
HOME - St. Louis Rams
W - Rams are another rebuilding team, but Fischer is a good coach. Close game...
HOME - Seattle Seahawks
L - This should be a win, but Seahawks are also pushing for playoffs & win a close game
@ Miami Dolphins
L - Road woes, and the Tannehill starting to gain steam as starting QB is enough to beat Bills
HOME - NY Jets
W - Motivated back at Ralph, Bills close season by beating Jets a 2nd time
Could the season transpire this way? Absolutely. It is very possible however It is too early to tell. I make this prediction based on how the other teams in the NFL have progressed from last season, and the tendency of our Bills. 11-5 record buys us a ticket to the playoffs as the 6th seed WC. Cross your fingers, play to whatever deity you believe in, hope, do whatever you can. This is our year.
PART 5 - CONCLUSION
In my previous article, I stated with confidence that I trust the teams destiny and success in the hands of Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey. I continue to have faith in my head coach and front office. This offseason is arguably the best off season any team in the NFL had this year. Furthermore - this could be the most important off season in the history of the Bills. No playoffs in decades, and years of continuous heart break. This years off season, this years draft, last years draft, team progression, and team attitude the last 2/3 years has made me incredibly excited and confident in the Bills. Buddy Nix has built a winning team, and a young roster that is built for not just one year, but years to come. This team will continue to grow and improve. It is an exciting time to be a Bills fan. I leave you with the following statements:
1 - In Buddy Nix I trust
2 - Bills Mafia 4 Life
- I apologize about the spelling and grammatical errors. I didn't have the time or motivation to proofread
- I made a few errors on the roster - the rest I am quite confident on. Some things are based on my opinion/beliefs. Roosevelt was removed and replaced with Lee Smith. Asper was replaced with Jasper at LG. Jasper was replaced by Kellen Heard.
- 11-5 and five record is ambitious, high hoping, and optimistic BUT doesn't mean it is not possible. The Bills have a lot of momentum going into the 2012 season - a result of a successful off season. Furthermore fans are excited, the nation is interested, and we continue to play the underdog role. A 10-6 will NOT get us a a playoff birth. AFC North has 3 playoff teams. We have to contend with the Patriots and Jets. Houston Texans take one spot. The West is open.
- I received the following tweet from Michael Jasper: "@QBMoose_007 same here im backin Andy up and learning fast IDC wat anyone says i can DOMINATE at this level people forget i played D1"
- Look forward to more replies....