It's been interesting to see the type of coverage that the Bills are getting leading up to the big game this weekend. Where, folks, is the talk about the offense? I'm of the mind - and we'll discuss this over the next couple of days - that the Bills don't necessarily need a top-notch defensive performance to win this game. Call me crazy; it's just what I believe. Nonetheless, Cleveland's offense poses huge threats, and the Bills - despite their recent success - have a big job in stopping that offense.
Angelo Crowell, for one, believes that this Bills defense isn't getting enough respect:
"They have a lot of talent, they're a very good offense, but it's a challenge every week in this league."
Well, what's true is that the Bills have only had one stellar defensive performance against a superior opponent; I speak, of course, of their six-turnover performance against the Dallas Cowboys in October. This week is Crowell's chance, and the defense's chance, to earn a little of that respect. I still maintain, however, that they won't need to - again, we'll talk about that in the coming days.
After playing without him for two weeks, the Bills are preparing for the return of Chris Kelsay. Dick Jauron used the "optimistic" line again in saying that Kelsay would likely play this weekend; his return should help Buffalo continue their pass rush resurgence of the past few weeks...
... unless, of course, you refer to Kelsay as the $24 million letdown:
I usually like Connor Byrne's stuff, but this is a bit much. Sure, Kelsay may be overpaid; that much I can't deny. But to say that the Bills have gotten sack happy (something we discussed earlier this week) because Kelsay's been out is a bit of an oversight. I chalk those 8 sacks in two games up to playing a banged up Redskins squad and the Miami Dolphins. Kelsay is one of our best defenders - he plays the run better than any other defensive end on the roster, he's a great leader, and he's a playmaker (he's recorded a fumble recovery, two sacks, an interception, a safety and a defensive touchdown this season). He's not worth $24 million, but the defense doesn't come close to suffering when he's in there. "Letdown" is a bit strong as well.
Contrary to previous reports, Bills S George Wilson may be available for the playoffs if the Bills are so lucky to get there. My guess is that if the Bills are eliminated at any point prior to the end of the season, Wilson will be placed on IR and yet another defensive free agent signed in his stead. Hopefully (and I'm crossing my fingers and toes here) we'll see #37 back on the field in 2007. Or, rather, the early portions of 2008.
There is one offensive note this evening, and it's an uplifting one: Kevin Everett is coming to Buffalo for the Bills/Giants game in a little over a week; we may be lucky enough to see the hero of 2007 walk onto the field. If not, it will, at a minimum, be an incredible moment to see Kevin in that stadium. This news actually made it difficult for me to think about the Browns game; it's going to be loud and emotional for what will hopefully be another big game next weekend.