Where are the Bills headed from here?


After starting the season 3-0, the Bills playoff chances have now officially ended. The Patriots are now sitting in the driver’s seat and control their own destiny. The Jets have and continue to surpass the Bills for second place in the AFC East, following another victory against the Redskins yesterday. With four games left this season, the Bills are just looking to play with some intensity and end their season on a positive note.

Although there were several bright spots this season, as a whole it proved that the Bills need to add depth to their roster along with upgrades at some positions. The offense despite a few poor performances, actually shocked most people this year. The combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson was something that should continue. Fitzpatrick and Jackson show that they want to play here and they want to get the job done. They are perfect candidates to lead the Bills, a couple of blue collar type guys that made it to the NFL the hard way. But Fred Jackson is getting older and it is about this age when running backs start to slow down. Is the next answer at running back CJ Spiller, or will we need to address that position in the offseason? The offensive line was banged up the entire season, but they played well together and we will need to keep those guys around. Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears are free agents at the end of the season so the Bills front office needs to determine what they want to do for the offensive line. Our receiving corp was solid throughout the season but again injuries prevented the team from keeping momentum and several crucial drops lost games. David Nelson looks like a solid second or third receiver but that just leaves open what Stevie Johnson is capable of. His focus needs to greatly improve if he wants to be the number 1 receiver on the Bills. He has the ability and ball skills but he needs to understand that the NFL won’t tolerate his antics forever.

The defensive side of the ball is in question as well. I understand that they are at the top of the league leaderboards in takeaways but you shouldn’t rely on turnovers especially in playoff games. They need to be able to stop the run better because then they can focus on the passing game. Our defensive line needs to create more pressure on the quarterback. Opposing qb’s have had the chance to sit back there all day and pick apart our coverage. The linebackers need to add speed and acquire the proper pursuit angles when attempting to tackle the ball carrier. But again, injuries led to replacing legitimate starters with young players. I would like to see the Bills focus more on the defense in the offseason through free agency and the draft. I think the offense can get it done but the defense just needs to stay consistent. If we can add takeaways to a solid defense group that doesn’t allow a large amount of points per game, it takes a lot of pressure off of the offense and allows them to call plays tailored to our impact players.

The most interesting part will be the NFL draft to see if the Bills take a player based on position need or best player available. I believe there are still several positions that need to be addressed before the Bills can be considered a definite playoff team. At the end of the day, you have to be happy with the Bills progress this season. Its not over yet and I shouldn’t be making generalizations for games that haven’t been played, but Chan Gailey is headed in the right direction and has added excitement to the city that hasn’t been there for years.