The worst day of the year is almost upon us: the day after the last Bills' game of the season. Yet another season, yet another playoffless January. Such is life. I didn't really feel like putting together a list of keys to beating the Pats this weekend because they seem pretty obvious (run the ball well, control the clock, avoid turnovers, force them into some turnovers, cover Welker underneath, don't play scared). Instead, I think I'll add a few keys to helping the team for next season:
Avoid any major injuries: It's the last game of the year and we aren't playing again until August. A devastating injury here would be so much more painful because it would lead into next season, depending on the severity. That's partially why the James Hardy ACL tear was such a blow to his potential for season 2. He's going to be rehabbing all offseason instead of working on routes, timing and improving his all around skill set. That's such a tough break for a young guy who needs all the offseason work he can get. Let's just hope we don't see this unfortunate incident happen to any more of our players.
Continue with the youngsters: Ever since we were eliminated, there was no reason not to play the young kids a lot. We've seen positive contributions out of Leodis McKelvin, Steve Johnson, Derek Fine and Reggie Corner as the season has progressed. Keep getting them involved, and see if Xavier Omon, Demetrius Bell and maybe even the Hamster can give us anything this week. I don't see why Bell wouldn't be active this week and I'd love to give him a few plays or series at RT. We'll probably be down by 2-3 TD's in the second half anyways....
Don't get pushed around by the Pats, again: I'm just sick, absolutely sick, of watching the Bills get pushed around by New England and get smacked around. There's no reason to be outcoached, outclassed, outplayed and outhustled every time we play these guys. This year especially. If this team can't hang with the Pats in both games this year, without Tom Brady and with an aging/poor Pats' D, will they ever? I just want to see the team compete and shove it up the Pats' @#$%& for once. That would be a nice way to go into the offseason and give us some hope for the next time we play them. Plus, 0-6 in the division is downright pathetic.
Show something, coaches: I'm not sure what to hope for out of them this weekend. I actually think Ralph would cut the cord on Jauron if the team were to get manhandled and blown out by the Pats again. I also can't stomach rooting for that to happen. As much as I want Jauron gone, I won't root for the team to stink for it to happen. But if they do fold up and get smacked, so be it. I just don't want to see Jauron, Turk Schonert and Perry Fewell coaching scared and trying to avoid huge mistakes. If they coach to keep the game close, I will know it's to simply keep their jobs. I'd like to at least see these dudes go down fighting and scrapping, even if the team gets waxed. No matter what, we need better coaches, but having a current group coach scared against the Pats again will be the last straw (for about the twenthieth time this year!) for many, I'd imagine.
Give the fans some hope: Whether it's a win, quality play against the Pats, some exciting plays or something not mentioned, I'd hate for the fans who show up to go home embarrassed, bored and super ticked based on a pathetic performance. A good performance here could really have an impact on some fans and whether they renew in the offseason, as lame as that sounds. I really don't want to go into the offseason coming off another stinker to close it out.
That's all. The final game of the season is always a sad one knowing it's another 9 months until another meaningful game. I'm already rather sad thinking about it. Go Bills and give us something to be proud of this weekend!!