I’m fairly certain that 75% of the fans who bemoaned the Bills’ poor performance against the Broncos have changed their opinion on the possibility of an 0-16 season for the Bills.
The only thing that matters to me is the 17-0 lead the Bills starters opened up in the first half against the Jaguars starters. Buffalo’s offense was in high gear, the offensive line kept Ryan Fitzpatrick upright and the defense was strong without Shawne Merriman in the lineup.
It seems as if Demetrius Bell responded well to the possibility of losing his job. He got the start and held up quite well against the Jaguars pass rush. Of course Jacksonville was without their best pass rusher, Aaron Kampman, but I’m going to try to stay positive. Andy Levitre was equally impressive when he bumped to tackle, however I still wonder if he will struggle long-term at that position considering his size. On the bright side, if the Bills deem Kraig Urbik unfit for the RG spot, Chad Rinehart is more than capable of stepping in to fill his role. I feel like that switch will be inevitable once the regular season starts but the coaching staff is waiting to weed out the best players for the left side first.
Marcus Easley would get my game ball if I was the head coach. He was every bit the receiver the Bills picked up last season and more. He showed speed and good route running. He also got over the dropsies that he had over the first two weeks. That is an encouraging sign because I think he is the best option to start opposite Stevie Johnson this season.
Defensively there are certainly some worries. The Bills’ number two defense surrendered 32 points before figuring things out. Now, a few of the points came against the Jaguars starters and the entire number two defense will not be out at the same time. Plus a number of these players will not make the team. On an individual basis I think there is some promising depth. Da’Norris Searcy, Danny Batten, Torrell Troup and Aaron Williams are all players. Same goes for Alex Carrington and Antonio Coleman. However, there are still holes that need to be filled, primarily at linebacker. Arthur Moats is not an inside linebacker. He is a straight-ahead pass rusher. He should play outside. Kirk Morrison will bring much-needed depth and talent to the position and hopefully Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White actually play a game of football this season.
I would comment on special teams except for the fact that half the kicking game has been rendered useless by the No Fun League. Brian Moorman is still good and the return game will hopefully shape up once the regular season begins. Frankly, Searcy is not a punt returner in the NFL. He is more of a punt catcher.
Thursday’s final preseason game will be a battle for the final spots on the 53-man roster. The starters won’t play more than one series and you will see a whole lot from players who are right on the bubble. Keep an eye on Kamar Aiken, Buster Davis, Lionel Dotson, Kellen Heard and Chris White. Those four are definitely on the cusp of making this team. Aiken is actually my darkhorse to beat out Donald Jones or Naaman Roosevelt at wide receiver.