This is a big year for Buffalo football. Well okay, when you’ve had the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, every year is big. Yet this Bills team is guaranteed to be different, especially when you fire of the entire coaching staff, ditch your starting quarterback, clear out aging defensive veterans, and declare open competition at all positions. Ralphie can’t say that Buddy isn’t making an effort to keep his job, and I’m proud of him for not pulling another Mario Williams signing. Speaking of off season transactions, lets dive into a few.
Removed Chan Gailey & incumbent staff, acquired Doug Marrone & brand new staff
I never had anything against Gailey, besides often making boneheaded coaching decisions. It was time to get more aggressive and less old-school with football coaching, and that’s where Marrone comes in, giving his Syracuse coaching staff positions and bringing in newcomers like ex-Jets D-Coordinator Mike Pettine (abandoning ship at the perfect time), Wide Receivers coach Ike Hilliard (who worked wonders with the Redskins pass catchers last year), and Saratoga Springs native Anthony Weaver taking over a hungry defensive line. Here’s hoping that Marrone takes advantage of the chance to bring new enthusiasm and excitement to the squad all while being the next NFL spokesman for Skoal.
Jettisoned Ryan Fitzpatrick, acquired Kevin Kolb, drafted EJ Manuel
Arguably the biggest and most controversial acquisition of the off-season, Kolb quasi-replaces a competent but severely overpaid Fitzpatrick on the Bills roster. While showing flashes of ability behind an atrocious Arizona offensive line, he has struggled with his health and having a double chin as big as Jay Cutler’s. Kolb’s steady incompetency might be just what EJ Manuel needs to learn the playbook and develop Kapernick style. Dude is big and strong, and that’s nice to have in a QB. Lets see how smart he becomes after a year.
Removed David Nelson and Donald Jones, replaced with Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin
Buffalo Rumblings covers this swap job pretty well, and I can’t complain. Upgrading inconsistent oft-injured WR’s with cheaper and faster ones is always a good play, and should provide greater offensive flexibility and allow CJ Spiller to stay behind the line as a full time RB.
Said goodbye to last years LB’s, brought in 7 newbies
Excluding last year, the Jets did have a pretty good defense with relatively unknown commodities. I hope that the athleticism and enthusiasm towards improving our horrific defense is there from the start, because it can’t get any worse than last year.
The middle of the schedule could prove difficult, playing the Saints -> Chiefs -> Steelers, though they get a week’s rest before competing against the Falcons and a nice run of Panthers -> Jets -> Ravens -> Thursday evening Browns for weeks’ 2 through 5. You also have to love book-ending the Patriots this year to relieve some of the pressure. If the Bills can manage to best the Dolphins twice and avoid injury, it wouldn’t be absurd to get a record of .500 this year.