10) Stephon Gilmore must play much better than any point during last season. I disagree that he was back towards the end of last year. He improved, yes, but I thought he was more lucky than good as QBs missed open WRs. and WRs. Dropped the ball saving his lucky butt. I think he has to play really well for us to get to the next level. He should be more prominent vs. the run and cover like a glove. He may also be needed to create some turnovers now that Jarius is gone.
9) Spikes must be in shape and know the defense and opposing offense. As a side note, I want him to hit as hard as he can within the rules but I am not a fan of cheapshot players on anyone's team. We need him to get a lot bigger contract next year.
8) Stevie J must train, train, train.... He must do whatever it takes to stop all those recurring injuries. He must practice with the team all summer. (And even now be catching for EJ).
7) CJ Spiller must know his keys and get all the yards the line is giving him and then more. The coaches also have to make sure the plays they run for CJ are good plays at the right time. He needs to show up in great shape and forget last year ever happened.
6) All our five signed FAs must look at least competent. If any look really bad, the fan base will get ugly much easier. I think this will be especially true with Chris Williams. Doubly so, as he was the one signing just about everybody ridiculed, but also he is playing a major position for us that cost us games last year.
5) Our back up QBs must show more accuracy and less nerves. It is a long season, we will need them at some point probably.
4) the team must hold eachother accountable every single snap. If we have a good back up he should be in there if the starter is taking plays off. Go rest and come back at 110%. The Bills have to also hold eachother accountable in the practice, studying, workout, diet and generally be smart phases of the game as well.
3) Schwartz.... He must not play it too simple. There were plenty of third and longs last year where we rushed four and din't get there at all and this usually ended bad. We have to blitz and we have to blitz correctly.
2) EJ Manuel must improve a great deal. He must stay healthy most of the time. He must improve his accuracy (no matter what anyone else sez). He must get rid of that ball fast and to the right guy. He must stop throwing screw balls. He must greatly improve his ball protection. He must look way smarter and less nervous when running. He must know when to slide, know when to step out of bounds. Know when to take off, when to take the sack, when to throw it away, how to move and where in the pocket. he has a long way to go but a large part of me thinks he is the right guy.....
i am not blaming him for doing this last year, but I think he needs to get better in all these facets if we are going to the playoffs.
and the top key is....
1) Injuries, injuries, injuries.... Most playoff teams are lucky in the injury dept. we need to also be lucky but also good. we need to be in tremendous shape, to be very strong yet be very flexible. We need to rotate players that need to be rotated when they are tired. One of my biggest football beefs is when a running back breaks a thirty yarder or more and then they give the ball to him again and then one more time. The guys completely gassed. He never gets more than two yards and very often takes a real hard exposed shot. I know we did that at least once to CJ last year..... Why?! I also am a big believer in rotating the D-line and wrs. In fact, if you have competent back ups, everywhere but QB and O-line....even if it is just a play sometimes.... If we ever start winning I would love to put in back up O-line guys the best way you can to develop some depth and get your starters off the field.
PS - this was written at rumblings from my ipad and never edited... I probably would have moved things around, reread and generally done a better job on a word processor where I could save it and reread tomorrow, oh well...at least I chipped in a story to talk about....hope someone at least likes it....