This one is going to be short and sweet. After a brilliant start that had many fans thinking playoffs, the lack of depth on the Buffalo roster has begun to be a problem.
Buffalo is now without Kyle Williams, Shawne Merriman, Eric Wood, Demeterius Bell and Chris Hairston. The injuries, particularly on defense, magnify every other short coming the team has. Rob Ryan exploited it with his pass rush and Jason Garrett exploited it with the deep ball.
Say what you will about the Buffalo Bills’ secondary, but it doesn’t matter who is in coverage when there is no pass rush. Granted, the corners got torched on Sunday, but defense in the NFL is like a Jenga game, all the blocks need to be in support.
The scary part for the Bills as they push towards a potential wild card spot – which now looks like a longshot – is that the offense has been solved. Sure, there is probably plenty of collusion on the part of the slovenly Ryan brothers, but the offense has puttered to a stop. The lack of any talent outside of Stevie Johnson and David Nelson has become detrimental to Buffalo’s progress. The lack of a true deep passing game has also compounded on top of Fred Jackson and the run game. Teams are stacking the box knowing they can neutralize Jackson without worrying about a deep passing threat.
There were plenty of depth issues heading into the season on both sides of the ball. The biggest issue, in my eyes, was the decision to use a seventh round pick (who is a revelation) and three undrafted free agents as the prime targets in the passing game. They have been good – particularly Nelson and Chandler – but they still lack that elite talent to terrify defenses.
As for the outlook for the remainder of the year, this team can still eek out a 9-7 record, they just need to find some new ways to win football games. There are some soft spots on the schedule – although Miami and Denver are streaking at the moment – and San Diego runs the risk of laying an egg everytime they’re on the field.
Keep in mind that 90% of the fanbase would have been pleased with an improved record and progress in overall development. That certainly seems to be the current state for the Bills, it is just a tough pill to swallow after such a thrilling start.