It's time to revive an old Buffalo Rumblings classic: our weekly Buffalo Bills mailbag feature is back, and this time for good. Thursday is going to be our mailbag day henceforth, and you can submit questions via email, through Twitter, or over Facebook. Today's is an all-Twitter episode of the mailbag, since we're just getting back into the swing of things.
Let's talk about the Bills, their players, and the people that cover them, shall we? I'm looking forward to next week's questions and subsequent post already.
@BuffRumblings Is their room cap wise for Brandon Spikes?— therealwgr55 (@jkempfbills12) March 19, 2015
If we're talking about a deal in line with the modest $3 million he made last year? Sure, they could swing that. But Spikes might be looking for more than just a one-year deal, and their future cap situation is worth monitoring. More importantly: the run-stopping role in the base defense won't be a linebacker under Rex Ryan like it was under Jim Schwartz; it'll be a defensive lineman. Spikes' role would be decreasing year to year. They can't pay a bit player that kind of money, and that's why Spikes remains on the free agent market.
@BuffRumblings Is EJ the odd man out if they draft a QB?— Buffalo (@BuffaloWillRise) March 19, 2015
Well, they're going to carry four quarterbacks into training camp, and if they do bring in another guy, Jeff Tuel had dang well better be the odd man out. He offers the least amount of 2015 utility and long-term upside out of their current quartet, by a considerable margin. Cutting Manuel makes no sense from a PR standpoint, not to mention a fiscal one. Manuel should be given an opportunity to win the starting job, and likely will be afforded that opportunity.
@BuffRumblings Will the offensive line be addressed any more in free agency? Is Searcy's replacement on the roster?— George (@buffalocentric) March 19, 2015
On the offensive line: not unless there's a cut later this summer that could walk into the starting lineup and play there for a few years. They're pretty cap-strapped, especially after landing Charles Clay, so they appear to be relying on development from their young players up front.
On the Da'Norris Searcy question: yes, absolutely. His name is Duke Williams, and he's a much better football player than most fans are willing to acknowledge. He'll be a solid player for them in 2015.
@BuffRumblings With the Harvin signing, what will Hogan's role the team be?— Mets Fan (@METSFAN182) March 19, 2015
Hogan will slide back to where he started the 2014 season: as the No. 4 receiver, with a very minimal presence on offense and a large role on special teams. We know now that he can produce in spurts when he's called into action; add in his ability to cover kicks and punts, and Hogan has established himself as one of the team's most valuable reserves.
@BuffRumblings cyrus kouandjio's been working on O-Line skills at lecharles bentley's camp in AZ. Do you expect him to be a starter?— bp (@AbyssiniaLater) March 19, 2015
Absolutely not, and nobody in the building at One Bills Drive outside of Kouandjio should, either. The guy hasn't played. Under no circumstances should there be any expectation from Kouandjio other than hard work and improvement in the practice setting. If he impresses, bully for him and the team; give him a shot at playing time when that happens. If it doesn't, then you haven't saddled a critical portion of your offense with the baggage of failed expectations. Especially since we made that exact mistake with Kouandjio last season.
@BuffRumblings I heard Philip Rivers is looking to leave San Diego. What could he do for our team? Could we even afford him?— Alex Vincent (@cleverexcuses) March 19, 2015
First, and most important: if he does become available, that happens a year from now. If it does, forget about the question of affording him; the team should do what is necessary to afford him, and then start asking questions from there. Philip Rivers is an excellent quarterback, and makes any team he's on a perennial playoff contender. But let's cross that bridge when we get to it; there's an entire 2015 season to play out first.
@BuffRumblings cant tell if all of you beat writers are supportive or doubtful of what the Bills have done this offseason. A little guidance— Ryan Johnson (@Ryanj5) March 19, 2015
I have so many opinions on how fans interpret and digest the writing of sports writers that I could write a book on the matter. Maybe I'll do that someday.
In this specific case, I'll answer a question with a question (and then I'll go on a little rant, and then I'll actually answer the question): why do you care? They are opinions based on projecting a million different factors, and are frequently made irrelevant as soon as real things start to happen.
If you're merely curious about how a sports writer feels about things like this, from a purely observational standpoint, that's great. Even better: if you're in it to reasonably discuss the goings-on, or to take in different perspectives on complex issues, that's awesome, too. You're doing it the right way. The gold standard of a person who voraciously reads a wide swath of sports writing, including the stuff that's tough to get through, is the person who acknowledges that there are several ways to look at every single move a team makes, and doesn't begrudge a writer for seeing things differently from themselves, nor fall victim to the trappings of different writing styles.
But if you're looking to validate your own opinions in order to attack others, or especially to weaponize a writer's opinions to either build them up or tear them down when things start to matter, for the purpose of... I don't know, somehow keeping score of which writers have the highest team loyalty quotient? Keep that business off of my radar. The latest endeavor to that end - the utterly meaningless petition flying around message boards to fire a prominent Bills beat reporter - is the prime example of people with way too much time on their hands taking things entirely too seriously, in a fairly malicious manner. It's akin to going into an all-you-can-eat buffet line with a 100 percent off coupon, finding something that you don't like to eat, and picketing the restaurant the next morning, demanding the ouster of the kitchen staff. Maybe just relax and eat something else. Or go to a different restaurant. Anything beyond that has "look at me" written all over it.
Anyway, back to the original question: I'm fine with the personnel moves the Bills have made. They play to the team's strengths and the ideal vision of a team competing for the postseason without a franchise quarterback in place. I'm concerned about the money being thrown around, but only from an allocation standpoint; they might have trouble doing some important personnel things next offseason. We'll see if everything adds up to an extra win or two in 2015. If it doesn't, please don't dock me loyalty quotient points for liking LeSean McCoy and demand that I be replaced by MRW.