In my first post, I talked about the optimism I have for the Bills for the first time in YEARS because I see a team that competes hard every week and has some good young players. I actually believe the offense is going to be one of the more dynamic units in the whole league over the next two to three years. The other side of the ball is more of a question mark.
DEFENSE: When I look at this unit I see A LOT of average players. We're missing the kind of impact players that make a defense great. We are also low on quality depth - which is what exposes our team when injuries happen.
The D line has Mario, Marcell, and Kyle - three very quality players. After that the drop off is significant. I don't have too much insight into the line, they seem average to above average. This year, Mario has played closer to (but not at) his price tag and Dareus is just really coming into his role. But, as I thought about this, I'm not very excited by the D line - and that's ok. I think that's what D lines are supposed to do. Hold the line. Of course, I'd love to have a Bruce Smith type player but that's just not the team we have.
The linebacking corp is where is see the biggest reason for optimism. I don't really need to copy everyone else and speak of the awesomeness of Kiko Alonso, but wow. This guy is exciting to watch and he seems to be good person too. You can't ask for anything more out of a rookie. I'm at least as excited about Manny Lawson. That dude looks like a beast, plays hard every play, and seems to have a nose for the ball. He reminds me (if not physically) of a Darryl Talley with maybe a bit more physical talent. I guess Jerry Hughes is the 3rd LB? He played the most snaps in the last game which Alonso and Lawson played together. This unit is good, but I'd like to see a solid veteran fill this third spot next year.
The secondary has been decimated by injuries and other problems (contracts, etc.). The core is Gilmore and Williams (at safety). Byrd, if he wanted to be here, could make 3/4 of the secondary pretty darn good. I'm guessing he doesn't and he won't until he sees the team improving. Then his feelings may change. Once Gilmore gets healthy I see him taking a role similar to Joe Haden or the Revis-of-old. The depth is poor, and we need a stronger 2nd CB but that's a long-term problem. We can build through the draft in this area. For now, we are saddled with the depth we have and if injuries continue to hit us here, we'll continue to see holes.
My overall level of excitement is more than it has been in 5-10 years and I, for one, am ready to come in out of the cold. It may be next year, but I think we're on the way back.