I know that everyone loves cliched blog posts, so I figured I’d do the honors and give my Buffalo Bills wish list. Hopefully Santa will be a lot kinder in 2010 than he has been the previous…decade.
1) The RIGHT Franchise QB – Now it’s fairly obvious that unless you have one of the elite QBs in the league, you’re really going to be grasping at straws for ways to contend in today’s NFL. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees…these are the guys that win the Super Bowl every year, and only Eli is questionably elite, but definitely very good. However, my wish list needs to include “RIGHT” because I don’t want to see the Bills rush into a QB here. As far as my eyes can see, it’s Andrew Luck or bust on QBs. Would I trade a 1st, 3rd, and fourth for him? Absolutely. However, if I can’t get myself that guy, and the Bills aren’t in love with any other prospect, I’m more than willing to let Fitz keep the seat warm until the Bills find the next Jim Kelly. There’s plenty of other holes to fill on this team in the meantime.
2) Pass Rusher – I know year three is generally the year rookies are made or broken, but I’m pretty sure we can give up on the hope that Aaron Maybin will be able to develop into a havoc-causing pass rusher. Kyle Williams gives great push up the middle, and 5 sacks from a DT is great, but the Bills need an end or linebacker on the outside who can consistently bring pressure or command double teams. Arthur Moats has shown some nice burst off the outside, but the Bills need a dominant pass rusher. That’s how you force turnovers, and take away the opponents’ ability to make the big play.
3) Elite Left Tackle – I think Demetrius Bell is a solid tackle, and think he has done a pretty decent job this season, aided by Fitzpatrick’s quick decision-making. I saw during the Minnesota game, though, that he just isn’t quite up to handling the top tier pass rushers like Jared Allen. If Bell were on the right side, he’d be an ideal complement to the solid interior of the line. While it may not seem that the Bills have given up many sacks, they have had to keep Fred Jackson in the backfield on every play to help block. If the Bills got that elite tackle, they could utilitze C.J. Spiller more frequently as a receiver, instead of needing Freddy to be the Dutch Boy with his finger in the dam all the time. The run game has also been inconsistent, and obviously a big tackle would help in this area as well. I might also want a real tough run blocking guard, to replace Hangartner, and let Woody stay at center, but I don’t want to overwhelm Santa.
4) Run Stuffing Linebacker – The Bills have Poz, but Poz is more of a complementary piece of the puzzle. The Bills don’t have a Ray Lewis, Pat Willis, Sam Cowart-type linebacker (yes, he was in this class before his injuries). If you had a guy like this next to Poz, I think Poz’s play would improve, and the Bills wouldn’t have to surrender 160 yards rushing every game.
5) Pass Catching Tight End – I don’t remember exactly where the Bills rank, but I am pretty sure they are last in tight end catches in the entire league. I was hoping Shawn Nelson would be this guy, and am not totally sure he can’t be, but with the Bills’ needs in blocking, he can’t play all that much, and he has been battling migraines constantly since coming back from suspension (can’t we get him some Terrell Davis braces?). If Chan Gailey really doesn’t like Nelson, the Bills need a legitimate guy, either the Pete Metzelaars big-body sure-handed type, or the Shannon Sharpe can split-out and play receiver type. I don’t want to pine for Jay Riemersma anymore.
6) Big Nose Tackle – If the Bills are intent on remaining in the 3-4 (which they haven’t been religiously of late) they are going to need a bigger body in the middle. Kyle Williams has been better in 4-3 alignments or when playing with someone else on the nose. To allow Williams to make plays, either Troup needs to bulk up another 20 pounds, or the Bills need a bigger body.
In my opinion, this is the order of importance for each of these needs on the team. Besides that, the Bills are already practically Super Bowl Champions anyways, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so greedy. After all, they are 4-2 in their last six games. I guess sometimes I’m just a little greedy.