Everything about the 2007 off-season in Orchard Park has been offensive. No, I'm not saying offensive as in a bad off-season; anything but. Offensive as in all of Buffalo's moves have been premeditated to help out our young QB, J.P. Losman. Whether every Bills fan is OK with this strategy or not, the fact remains - the Buffalo Bills' front office has handed the keys of the franchise to Losman.
Let's consider: heading into free agency, our three biggest free agents were Nate Clements, London Fletcher-Baker and Chris Kelsay. Only one of them (Kelsay) remains with the club. Rather than spending big bucks to maintain a middle-of-the-pack defense, the team instead used the money it saved to bolster its shoddy offensive line. Derrick Dockery received a record-setting contract for an offensive guard and will start next to potential Pro Bowler Jason Peters on the left side. Langston Walker was brought in from Oakland to resurrect his career as our right tackle. Veteran Jason Whittle was signed from Minnesota to be the primary backup at all three interior positions, and he has a shot to earn the starting right guard spot as well. That was step number one in helping out J.P.
Then the trades ensued. Willis McGahee was shipped out of town, effectively ending a year-long headache for the organization. Takeo Spikes was then dealt along with Losman's backup Kelly Holcomb, netting defensive tackle Darwin Walker. On the surface, these are not offensive moves. But keep in mind that we traded our only experienced backup QB - that shows massive amounts of confidence in Losman. We traded the man who was considered our offensive workhorse in McGahee. That again shows massive amounts of confidence in Losman.
AN OFFENSIVE DRAFT
The Draft is what really sealed the deal. Rather than focusing on depth issues at cornerback and linebacker (with the exception of new MLB Paul Posluszny), this draft focused on building more talent around Losman. Our backfield is now set, with three runners (veteran Anthony Thomas and rookies Marshawn Lynch and Dwayne Wright) capable of taking pressure off of Losman. Lynch will also be an explosive receiver for J.P. We selected an H-Back in Derek Schouman who has the receiving skills to be a poor man's Chris Cooley in this system.
Even the drafting of Trent Edwards was a "support JP" move. With two backup quarterbacks with zero combined NFL starts, Losman is by far the most experienced quarterback on the roster. While Craig Nall spouts off about stealing a starting spot and making himself look quite silly, Edwards is a guy who will come in, work his butt off and push J.P. to be a better quarterback. There's no reason for J.P. to be looking over his shoulder. And he won't.
The defense has holes. We're still not sure where Posluszny is going to play, and our secondary depth at both corner and safety is raw and feeble at best. It's a very young defense; they are going to need time to develop leadership and learn how to play together. They're talented, but they're raw. Losman and the offense will have to put up points if the team wants to stay competitive early against a schedule that is brutal from the get-go.
With an improved offensive line, a deep stable of backs and tight ends and receivers whose production should rise as well, it's now on Losman's shoulders to lead this team to the playoffs. They are capable shoulders - Losman proved that in the second half of last season, when he threw 12 of his 19 touchdown passes and led the team to a 5-4 record. He has the ability to win in this league. With improved talent around him, it's time for him to prove it.
This is J.P.'s team now.