Buffalo Bills preview: Stampeding Forward

buffalo billsSince NFL training camps have started, fantasy football season is breathing down our necks, and the preseason starts in a mere week, it’s time to scribe Esteban’s own Buffalo Bills preview to the season.

The hype around the Bills has never been higher, and the bandwagon is overflowing for good reason.  It’s a bit early to say they are better the the recently-blessed NY Jets, but personnel improvement over the Buddy Nix regime is starting to pay off.

The Draft

No more Aaron Maybin disasters in Orchard Park!  The drafting strategy has very much improved, starting with Buddy’s much lambasted C.J. Spiller pick, now paying off brilliantly in Chan Gailey’s offensive strategy.  Marcel Dareus was the rock solid pickup last year and didn’t disappoint (and just look at how good Kelvin Sheppard is), and in 2012 the Bills stayed true with drafting great players for need.  You can’t go wrong picking up the second best CB in the draft, OT’s, LB’s, and the Al Davis memorial speedy wideout pick in T.J. Graham. Everyone signed, everyone healthy and excited for really cheap housing.  Moving on!

Free Agency

Dios Mio, the Mario Williams signing came out of left field.  I thought for sure he’d go back to Texas, since he made Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans and co. look and play spectacular.  His presence (as well as sack machine Mark Anderson’s) on the D-Line completely transforms how the Bills will play, and how other teams will play the Bills.  As for free agency moves last year, the pickups of Nick Barnett and Shawne Merriman have turned out to be HUGE.  Barnett has trained Kelvin Sheppard to be a tackling stud, and I’ll take Merriman as a wild card pass rusher any day.  Scott Chandler fills the prototypical large white TE role well, and year two with Fitz can only make him better.

Defense

Adding Super Mario to Marcel Dareus, a healthy Kyle Williams, and a Anderson/Kelsay/Merriman Hydra monster makes the line one of the most feared in the NFL.  Everyone knows that an excellent defensive front makes the LB and secondary’s job much easier (Giants), and I’m thankful the Bills are adopting this strategy with the implementation of Wannstedt’s 4-3 system.  Texas product Aaron Williams, Gilmore, Rogers, McKelvin, McGee-for-4-weeks, George Wilson and Jairus “Thunder” Bird can only get better, and the hulking masses of Sheppard, Barnett, and Captain Kirk Morrison will put a hurting on the opposition.

Offense

Ryan Fitzpatrick hit a big payday after beating up on Brady last year, but suffered mightily down the stretch.  New quarterbacks coach David Lee is a wizard with fundamental analytics and should drastically improve Fitz’s accuracy with the deep ball.  Fast Fred Jackson’s leg has mended and the Bills have made him happy with a long term deal. Spiller isn’t getting any slower and will try to put on his best Jamaal Charles impression this year.  Stevie Johnson’s groin has finally improved, and a plethora of mid level surprises have the potential to keep defensive coordinators up at night.  Watch out for the dark horse Marcus Easley, he could do large David Nelson-like things this year.

Special Teams

Nuff. Said.

We Talkin ’bout Playoffs

Okay okay, not talking yet.  But my date with destiny on Dec. 30th at the Ralph vs. the Holy Jets better be for playoff implications.  The wild card is in range, and with an easier schedule towards the end, this team could get their win total up to 10.

About: Esteban

Esteban is the Editor in Chief of RantingEsteban.com. Check out his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @RantingEsteban, or send him an email.

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