Good morning Rumblers,
From time to time, I like to pay homage to some of our elder Rumblers; thus the Clint Eastwood reference in the title and picture.
Wow! It's so great to be back. I'm ready to get this party started.
Well as most of you know, I’m not a fan of doing something that has been done before, but I have to get this out of the way in order to set the table for the rest of the offseason. I have to give you my opinion of this past season. I’m not a "season recap" kind of guy; it’s just too painful and redundant. So I’m going to give it to you in a way in which many people haven’t done it. I’m simply going to put it in three distinct categories; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. At the end of the day, this defines the 2013 Bills.
What can you say about the All-Pro years that a lot of our defensive players had? Coach Pet and his staff sure were able to get the most out of the talent that we had on this roster. As much as our defense has struggled over the years, you kind of forget that out of the 11 starting defensive players of the 2013 Bills, 9 players were drafted in the first two rounds, and the other (arguably our best Defensive Player K. Williams) was drafted in the 5th round, and Robey went un-drafted. The unit performed admirably, but they were just GOOD as they struggled to stop the run and struggled to get off the field on 3rd and longs. All in all, this was one the bright spots of the season, as their sack, interception, pass defense, and overall defense were ranked in the top 10.
Scouts/GM Whaley/ Nix
I think this group did a phenomenal job with the draft and free agent acquisitions. We were able to get Kiko in the 2nd via trade, who in my opinion should have won Rookie of the Year. If you get a minute, just compare his stats to Luke Kuechly, Defensive Player of the Year. We got some good contributions from our rookie wide outs, and Robey (undrafted) played his ass off as NCB. This had to be one of the best drafts that we’ve had in years.
As far as the free agents go, none was bigger than the Dan Carpenter signing. He came in and steadied the ship, and provided consistency all season. Outside of Easley, he was the only bright spot of the entire special teams unit. I will be remised, if I didn’t mention the big fellas. Hughes, Lawson, and Branch provided great production in the run game and with the pass rush. These were some great signings, so hats off to the men upstairs.
The Passing Game
Folks, we’re a QB away. Now I’ve gone on record plenty of times, stating that I wasn’t a fan of the EJ Manuel pick. I was just never a big fan of his game while he was in FSU. I feel like that he was over drafted and the front office felt the pressure to draft a young QB early.
With that being said, I’m not one of those guys (Tim Graham) who feel that the team should entertain the idea of drafting another QB early. I think we all knew coming in to the season that EJ wasn’t ready to play/start year one. He was sort of a project coming in, and had the intangibles to be successful. He was a guy that needed time, and time he should get.
I’m not too worried about his injury "problem". Let the kid go through an entire NFL offseason workout and then we’ll discuss him being injury prone.
The truth is we’ve hitched our wagon to EJ, which mean we have to see it through. There aren’t any other viable alternatives. No veteran FA QB that can come in and lead us to the promise land, and if you draft another young QB, we’re back where we are started.
Yes, there was a slight improvement from last year, but it’s obvious that our run defense was porous due to a schematic flaw. When you have ¾ of your D-line make the pro bowl, a DT with 70 + tackles, a tackling machine at MLB, corners and safeties that are sound tacklers; there is no reason to be so poor at stopping the run.
Some of you honestly feel that the addition of a "Thud" MLB will all of sudden turn our porous run defense around. Come on guys. I love coach Pet aggressive style defense, but the aggression at times left too many holes and gaps, leaving us susceptible to big gains. That defense is a feast or famine defense; thus the gaudy stats and the head scratching blunders in the run game and 3rd & long.
Geez, this unit sucked on all levels. Outside of Easley and Carpenter this unit was bad on all fronts. I still don’t know how Special Teams coach Crossman kept his job, but something ought to be done about this unit. I will say that Special Teams cost us about two games last year, and this was by far the most ugliest thing of the 2013 season.
All right folks, there you have it. This pretty much sums of the 2013 season "Joe Style". Be sure to check out my proceeding post Morning Joe! The NFL vs Mary Jane.
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