Deskchair Quarterback – Bills vs. Bears

In an attempt to bring a fresh look at each Bills game this season, I’ll try to use this space to offer some analysis and a breakdown of the team’s effort from the last game.

The Bills’ first effort of the preseason ended up as I expected, although there were some high and low points that surely stood out to everyone. Aside from the fact that the NFL preseason is a complete waste of time, the exhibition schedule always catches my eye because I enjoy seeing some of the young talent carve a niche on the roster. For example, Antonio Coleman really stood out as an effective OLB last year and was – and still is – far more effective that Aaron Maybin at the same position.

Saturday night showed me a few things. The most glaring issue is that the Bills’ offense has the potential to be REALLY bad this season. Even before the idiotic trade of Lee Evans, I felt like this would be a down year for the offense. After watching on Saturday I feel like my fears are all but confirmed.

The Bills have no tackles. They have some big guys who are listed as tackles, but they’re not very good at the position. If this team tries to play 16 games with Demetrius Bell, Erik Pears and Ed Wang as the top three bookends, Ryan Fitzpatrick will die. This was the second biggest need for the Bills to address this off season and they failed to do so.

It seems as if this will be a season full of three-and-out, sacks and clogged running lanes.

On the bright side, C.J. Spiller appears to have improved patience and additional duties in the passing game. His rushing numbers didn’t reflect his play, another indication of the porous line, but he looked much better after seeing a handful of plays. Brad Smith also looks like a wise acquisition as he is a true run/pass threat out of the wildcat. Josh Nesbitt was equally impressive in that scheme, it would be cool if they could utilize him as a two-way guy (safety and QB) but there is no need for two wildcat quarterbacks.

Defensively it would seem as if the Bills had adopted the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Marcel Dareus was beyond disruptive and Shawne Merriman was scary good coming off the edge.

The secondary is still good, the Bills are crazy deep at corner and it will only help if Terrence McGee is going to be healthy all year. The safeties are a little average for my liking. I suppose the organization is hoping Da’Norris Searcy comes along fast and is able to start at strong safety. If that is the case there should be no worries, if Bryan Scott is playing all the time it could get ugly.

The special teams didn’t look good, but there are no set responsibilities yet in the system. There are still guys adjusting to kick coverage who have never done it before. I will say that Bruce DeHaven’s crew was pretty average last season and the results on Saturday didn’t inspire much faith. After years of Bobby April’s brilliance, I worry about the mediocrity of this new system.

The second and third preseason games are always the most entertaining for fans and also offer the most insight as to which players are really going to stick around. The next two Saturdays will tell a whole lot more in regards to what kind of team the Bills will have this season.

Lee Evans traded to Baltimore

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bills have traded Lee Evans to the Baltimore Ravens for a 4th round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

This is a major move for the Bills as they are trading away one of their most lethal offensive threats, well at least on paper. Evans hasn’t been the same threat since J.P. Losman was removed as the starting quarterback. Since then Evans has seen his number dwindle -blast year he recorded a career-low 37 receptions.

That is pretty much the end of the reasons why it made sense to trade him. Frankly, he is a highly paid decoy. He doesn’t do much other than run a mean nine route, but he freeze up plenty of coverage for Stevie Johnson.

Now Johnson and David Nelson become the top receiving threats for the Bills as they hope that Marcus Easley and, San Diego castoff, Buster Davis can produce. All of that for a fourth round pick next season.

The main need for the Buffalo Bills is to fill their holes at tackle. They continue to ignore that need and the years pile up since the last time they had a true duo of NFL tackles (Howard Ballard and Will Wolford by my count). Instead Nix opted to remove a veteran talent for a draft lick that will turn into a guy like Dwayne Wright, Shawn Nelson, or Ko Simpson. Forgive me for not jumping out of my chair for this trade.

It seems like the Bills are turning into the Cleveland Indians from Major League, just get enough players to fill the roster and play the games. No need to worry about winning in these parts I guess.