Good morning Bills Fans,
Thanks to Congress; DoctorK has some time on his hands to write some Morning Joe's. I'm currently being furloughed, so I decided to use my "off" day blogging with you fine folks here at Buffalo Rumblings :). If you want me to stop writing Joes! please write to congress and tell them to end the sequestration :)
This past week, I was asked why the Morning Joe's series hardly ever includes discussions about Buffalo Bills football. This question has several answers, so let me provide you a couple.
When I started the Morning Joe! series last off season, it was primarily because I was just tired of be inundated with just Bills football. It was almost like how many different ways can you talk about the same thing. So I wanted to provide the Rumblers with something unique and different to talk about, because there are so many interesting topics in the game of football that goes ignored on this site. Don't get me wrong, I do understand this is a BILLS site, but I do feel the fans on this site are football fans as well, and have interesting perspectives on football in general.
The second reason is because when I first started the Joe's! there were a lot of opinion pieces that I would write. Those pieces usually stirred up some very intense discussions, and quite frankly I pissed a few people off. I'm passionate about Bills football, and I have a tendency to rant a little bit, so I decided to lay off the Bills talk until I'm able to temper my emotions :)
However, today I decided to give you a vintage Morning Joe! where I'll discuss my opinions on different Buffalo Bills topics, and hopefully spark up some good old school tense discussions. Let's get started shall we.
Byrd is my favorite Buffalo Bills player, and is my favorite Bill since Doug Flutie. However, the guy just don't want to be here, and that's fine with me. The constant changing of coaches and schemes in my opinion has hindered him, and he sees this as an opportunity to get with a contender and take his career to a higher level. Do I wish him well? No, I hope he fails. I've always put the name on the front of jersey ahead of the name on the back. If you not a Bill, I really don't care about you.
My thoughts on this "hold out" is simple. His agent all off season has been posturing for some type of sign and trade involving Byrd. It's the way the Bills organization has always handled contract disputes with veterans, and he knows that he can get his client the things he wants; which is out of Buffalo, paid top money, and playing for a contender. In my opinion, Byrd will be traded at some point during training camp and he will never wear a Bills uniform again.
Why would the Bills trade him? If he misses training camp, there isn't much they are going to get out of him. He probably would get hurt during the season like other notorious hold outs (Revis), or play at a sub par level (DeSean Jackson & Mike Wallace), not earning the money on his franchise tag. This mean we definitely won't franchise him again next year, so we might as well get the most out of him while his value is at its highest.
I never was a fan of the pick. I like the guy, but not the player. I didn't like him while at FSU, I never saw much that made me believe that this guy can be successful in the NFL. Here is a player that played on a team with NFL caliber talent, but never really lived up to expectations. He wasn't a dynamic passer, and not necessarily a runner, just a great athlete. Can Marrone and Hackett coach this guy up and make him successful? Possibly, I'm a strong believer that much of a QB success depends on the organization and not so much the player. However, I'm not convinced that the Bills have the internal structure in place to cultivate a young QB. I will like to see it happen, but I'm very skeptical.
Once again, like the guy but never fell in love with the pick. I didn't think the DT position ever warrants such a high pick. I really couldn't get behind drafting a guy that wasn't a "impact" player. I think he's a good player, and this fall off that every one speaks of is little overstated in my opinion. I don't think he will ever live up to the expectations that many of us fans have for him, but I do think he will have a good career here.
The problem that I've had with Dareus since he's been here has been his weight. I remember when he was at the combine and he was 315 pounds, and at training camp he ballooned up to 335 or so pounds. He said the scheme called for the added weight gain. I don't know if this true or not, but I feel like with the added weight he lost some of his athleticism. Seeing him this off seasons, he looks a lot bigger than 335. This may be the reason why he's taking second team reps. Just saying.
I don't believe the offense this year will be as good as the offense that Chan ran. Even with better talent at the skills positions, I just feel like the offense will struggle this season due to the QB situation. I'm not sure if my comments are a credit to Chan and his system or an indictment on the current offense. But when has it ever been a good idea to run a hurry up or fast pace offense with a skittish and or rookie QB, one proven WR, and an offensive line who struggles past blocking and staying healthy? This reason alone may be the reason why we only win four games. Hopefully, Hackett and Marrone is as good as advertised. Maybe the offense will perform better than expected, and utilize elements of the passing game to get the speedsters the ball down the field. I will like to see more play actions, and deeper routes called. I guess we will see how good this offensive line really is.
The defense should be better this year, purely off the fact that it can't be any worse, can it? Like many of you, I always like the Rex Ryan defensive scheme. He had the ability to take lesser talented players and turn them in to solid football players. Petitine with better talent here, should have a good chance of putting out a top 10 defense. Unfortunately, what can hinder that is an offense that keeps the defense on the football field and turning the ball over, creating shorter fields for the opposing offenses.
I think the pressure scheme is going to mask some of the weakness and deficiencies of some of the players, but with this particular scheme, the defense will be more vulnerable to being gashed and giving up the big play. Defensive play calling will be the key to this team success. If not, we will look like the Saints defense; all bark-no bite. Constantly blitzing but getting picked apart by opposing offenses.
On offense I'm really looking forward to seeing how Robert Woods perform. I think the guy if utilized right can be a Victor Cruz type player in the slot. Deceptively fast, great rout runner, and pretty good hands. On defense, I'm looking forward to seeing Duke Williams at Safety. I think he will be the Bills defensive rookie of the year. He has the coverage ability and the instincts in the run game to be really good. He will get enough reps during the preseason and training camp to help with the mental aspect of the game, so optimistic he'll get it together.
Kiko Alonso? I know that this is a popular name on this site, but I'm just afraid that his aggressive style may lead to some injuries. However, I do think if he can stay heatlhy he'll have a good season.
The QB Battle
What of Jeff Tuel is the better QB in camp? Marrone says that he will play the best QB, and he wants the team to be able to buy in to the decision. He wants it to be obvious who should get the start. If Jeff Tuel is better, will Marrone and company actually start Tuel over the other two QBs?
If Manuel is the better QB, should he start week 1? Yes! Everyone is so concerned about the "psyche" of a rookie QB. What happens if he struggles? What happens if he get sacked too much? The good to great QB's aren't wired like the bad or average QB's. They have supreme confidence and the mental toughness, that allows them to persevere in difficult situations. If after all the research and background checks that the Bills did on EJ Manuel to take him in the first round, they must believe that this guy have to mental makeup to withstand to pressure of being a starting QB. Manning struggled his first year, how did that work out?
As pessimistic as this post seems; i'm going to predict a 9-7 record for the Bills. I think we will struggle mightily in the first half of the season, but will see much improvement as the season goes on and contend for a playoff spot. We will suffer a late season loss, that will end our playoff hopes. Talent wise, this team is better that last years team. They are just lacking the experience and the cohesiveness of playing together. The rookies will eventually get it together, and the coaches will have a better idea of who can do what.
Okay Rumblers, I hoped you like today's Joe! I tried to cover some things that has been on my mind about the Bills all off season. I will be going to the first preseason game in Indy for my 30th birthday, I will also be going to the opening day, and I'll probably make it to the Ravens game. See you all there!