One of the rare few photos of DNP in a Bills uniform. Photo credit to Andrew Weber / US Presswire
I’m in a wonderful mood because the Sabres lost again yesterday (of course) so I’m taking it out on you, whether you're seeing it here or on my massively under-viewed website that none of you know about. I’ve always stuck to my rule of only speaking of (and writing about) what I know, and I don’t yet know hockey well enough to write a piece that makes the least bit of intelligible sense to you cretins. I love the sport, and I watch often – both broadcasted and in person – but you don’t want to read my hockey musings. I’m not sure how far I can really drag out “What the fuck was that, Cody?” anyways. Instead, we’re here for some hot Bills takes. I’m going to skip my normal analogical lede and just get right to the BIG NEWS that has you all thinking ‘Super Bowl, bitches!’
Now, DNP’s re-signed after several refutable NFL cats mentioned that he’d have a decent market once free agency opened. You know what that means? He’s been given a pretty good shot by the coaches to have a realistic opportunity to win the starting quarterback job. That worries me. Marrone (or maybe Nix – it doesn’t much matter, 95% of everything said at this time of year is total horseshit anyways) said in regards to the signing that there will be an open competition at the position. That’s not the worst thing in the world considering which guys they have, the unimpressive availabilities the draft possesses, and potential free agents. DNP’s trade last year elicited a mild excitement from Bills fans, maybe a sign that Fitzpatrick would have a competent backup and someone to push him for playing time. His re-signing brought a fairly unanimous reaction of “why?” because they really had no reason to hold on to him and he had even less reason to be here. If this is truly a move to simply bring more contenders into the ring then great, I’m down. Let him actually compete.
OBLIGATORY REMINDER THAT KEITH ELLISON WAS A STARTING LINEBACKER HERE FOR HALF A DECADE.
We still don’t really know exactly what Marrone is doing with the offense, but even without full knowledge of the scheme it’s pretty easy to see where the holes are. They need a quarterback, they need some receivers (stop telling me that Donald Jones is a nice guy, #billsmafia, I don’t care at all if he can’t catch a football), they could use a couple of guards with Rinehart and Levitre primed to hit the market and (at least in Andy’s case) cash in big, and a tight end to use in conjunction with Chandler after he’s healthy again wouldn’t hurt.
The defense is a different story. All Pettine will say is that we should expect something of a hybrid. Some of the most obvious needs became apparent earlier this week when the team started cutting some of the fat on the defensive side of the ball. Gone are the team’s two leading tacklers for the past two years in Nick Barnett and George Wilson as well as Terrence McGee and with the gang goes plenty of leadership. McGee’s writing’s been on the wall for years as his play began to slip quickly before he caught the injury bug.
It’s a shame, because he was such a quality player for the Bills for the past decade, but the poor guy just can’t stay on the field anymore. It’s no secret that Pettine’s going to want to get another corner to pair with Stephon Gilmore going forward, and ending McGee’s tenure here frees up cap space and practice reps for the young talent already here, which is not a bad thing. It seemed that they’d been handcuffed with Terrence for a couple of years now, basically keeping him because they needed anyone who at one time had the ability to cover someone who runs fast and turns sometimes (because Leodis McKelvin sucks at that). Now, they’ve got some options in a pinch, but it still seems more than likely that they’ll try to add a piece before camps kick in.
With Barnett and Wilson, it’s more of the same. You just want to feel for the guys – it’s not their fault that they’re getting older. Barnett looked terrible in coverage at times this past season and had more broken or missed tackles than I’ve ever seen out of him. Wilson was gradually losing playing time to the hard hitting Da’Norris Searcy and his play was slipping, being caught out of position often. His special teams abilities and close relationship with fans will be missed, but when LaRon Landry is being named as a probable replacement it’s easy to ignore those things.
Speaking of the safety position, letting Byrd walk will take this defense down so many pegs it’s disgusting. Just imagine the pair of Jairus Byrd and Landry roaming the back end… making coaches think twice about sending guys deep over the middle. Beautiful. Almost brings a tear to my eye, but I’m incredibly masculine so I’m holding on to that tear for the ticker-tape parade after our first Super Bowl win, you understand. Now, think about Searcy and Mana Silva or a mid-round rookie back there LAYING THE LUMBER. Damnit, there goes my Super Bowl tear. Buddy better tag him or we are completely fucked. In addition to corner and safety, the linebacking corps could use a complete makeover because Kelvin Sheppard is not what we thought he’d be and besides Bradham, there isn’t a whole lot of hope back there. As much as I hate to admit it, it might be time to grab another big tackle to start phasing out Kyle Williams, especially if they plan on playing a lot of odd-man fronts. Couldn’t hurt anyways, considering Torell Troup’s inevitable late-August release. Excellent use of a high pick, fellas!
As the free agent period draws closer we should have a bit more knowledge as to who’s available and what the team’s looking for. You all know by now that I love wasting time writing things to put up on here for nobody to see so rest assured that I’ll be around to talk about it all as it happens. Until next time, Go Phillies!
What? I’m excited. Go like whatever stupid team you like, shithead.