The Buffalo Bills have tormented their fans for years. From the failed trips to the Super Bowl 4 years in a row during the Kelly era, to the recent era here in the GRID...the Bills have left their fan base needing medication to deal with the yearly disappointment. However, in Week 3, new ownership took over the Bills. The course of the team was immediately changed. Of course wins and losses matter. And yes, the Bills have one of the most talented rosters in the league. However, for whatever reason, it all has not come together in Buffalo, New York. The New Owner, took over and vowed that he would put together a team that the city of Buffalo would be proud of. "We may not win every game," Blessed proclaimed. "However, we are going to fight for 60 minutes every week. "
I believe it's safe to say that the team has taken on the personality of it's new owner. Since Blessed took over in week 3, the team is 7 -1. The Bills were decimated by the 9-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the remaining 7 games have been close contests that the Bills were able to persevere through to victory. Most recently, they picked up wins over the 1 loss Titans, the AFC West leading Los Angeles Chargers and division foe the New York Football Jets. At the moment, the Bills sit atop the AFC east with a 7-3 record. But the questions linger: The murmurs have begun: Is this fools gold? When will the old Bills appear?
I spoke with the owner about these questions. He is happy with where the team appears to be mentally right now. He told me he was a huge fan of Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Joe Gibbs. One of Gibbs sayings was "It's hard to get wins up here". No doubt, it's hard to get wins here in The Grid. The owner knows that they could very well lose every one of their remaining games. However, he also knows, this roster is made up of talented, good character guys. It's the character that will keep their head's up and focused on the next opponent when the losses come. However, it's also that character that will enable this team to do the extra film work; do those extra reps in the weight room; run those extra gassers after practice; go that extra mile to try and garner as many wins as feasibly possible this season. "We just want to get in the tournament" the new owner said referring to the playoffs. "It's anybody's game once you make it into the tournament".
If the playoffs started today, the Bills would be the #4 seed. Of course, the playoffs don't start this week. For this team to make the playoffs, they are going to have to continue to receive stellar play from their defense. There hasn't been a weak link on the defense this season. You could make the argument that the best player on the defense has been Safety Corey Wayne.He has 31 tackles on the year to go with 5 interceptions. He's been huge over the last three weeks. Omari Shipp, Marcell Dareus and Keanu Neal lead the Bills in sacks with 6 a piece through 10 games. Preston Brown leads the team in interceptions with 8. The Defense as a whole is 11th in the league as it pertains to points allowed per game (20 points allowed per game). The Defense is 7th in the league in total yards allowed per game (239 yards a game). Additionally, the Defense gives up 167.7 yards through the air per game (4th in the league) and gives up 71.3 yards rushing pergame (7th in the league). All of the numbers being said...the Bills have a formidable defense to contend with.
Offensively, the team has changed philosophy that still requires tweaking. Emory Clarke is the best player on this offense. He's not getting the ball enough. I spoke with the owner, front office and the coach and they all are stressing the need to get Clarke going. "He's one of the best running backs in Grid", the owner said. "I guarantee you that his touches will go up as the regular season winds down". The identity of the team has become more of a passing team behind the arm of QB Charles Patrick.The td to interception ratio is sub-par. However, over recent weeks, the completion percentage has improved. This past week, there were sightings of back-up QB Jacoby Brissett getting first-team reps. This clearly sparked the right reaction from Patrick. While he threw a pick 6 on a terrible throw, he then turned on a stellar performance after that mistake. "Charles has alot of potential" the owner said. "We will live or die by his arm. But again, he's a young qb. We need more balance offensively. Emory will be able to take some pressure off of Charles. That's a great 1....2...punch. The Bills offense is pretty much middle-of-the-road league wise as it pertains to Points scored per game (12th at 25 points scored a game) and 14th in total yards accumulated per game (297 yards compiled per game). The strength of the offense does indeed appear to be the passing game. The Bills are 4th in total yards accumulated through the air (167.7 gathered through the air). The Bills offense is 16th in rushing yardage earned per game (71.3 yards churned out per game). If the offense is able to pull it's weight, the Bills might actually be able to make some noise.
Will Cinderella's stage coach turn to a pumpkin? Is this Bill's team and season just a mirage? Are they capable to at least stay close to this level of focus and execution for the remainder of this season? Is Charles Patrick truly a franchise qb? Will Emory Clarke be lost in the shuffle? Will the offense find balance? Will the defense continue it's stellar play? These are all questions that will be answered over this next stretch of games. If they can keep the injury bug away, things are looking up. Currently, they have supremely talented initials injured: CB Tre'Davious White, TE David Gibbs, WR Jakeem Grant, and Right Tackle Denver Kirkland. If the team was somehow able to maintain momentum and make the playoffs, everybody should be back except for Jakeem Grant. Those additions would be huge.
Time will surely tell the fate of this Bill's team. The wagons have been circled. Obstacles are on the way. This team will persevere! It will make the city of Buffalo proud! Hopefully, that all parlays itself into a playoff berth this year.