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Bodzilla29
06-28-2002, 01:37 AM
Saw this on sports-central.org and had a nice chuckle......

NFL - Bills' Resurgence: Myth or Reality?

By Brad Oremland
Thursday, June 27th, 2002

Buffalo's much-ballyhooed acquisitions this offseason are mostly band-aids, not upgrades. Middle linebacker London Fletcher merely takes over for Sam Cowart. Offensive tackle Trey Teague is an overrated but necessary addition. He and first-round draft choice Mike Williams are overdue anchors to a terrible offensive line; they make the Bills respectable, not remarkable.
And kicker Mike Hollis is a nice addition, but he won't get the chance to decide games for the Bills unless the rest of the team can keep them close. Hollis is also coming off a weak season in which he went 8-11 from under 40 yards and hit nothing from further than 48.

Of course, I'm ignoring the offseason move that really has everyone talking -- the trade for Drew Bledsoe. I don't know when the myth got so much larger than the man, but Bledsoe is not John Unitas coming to save the franchise.

Did you know that Bledsoe's career passer rating (75.9) is actually ten points lower than that of the man he replaces, Rob Johnson (85.7)? He's never had a passer rating over 90.0 in a season or been an Associated Press All-Pro. And he's getting worse.

Over the last three years, Bledsoe's quarterback rating is 76.4, lower than those of Jeff Blake, Chris Chandler, and Steve Beuerlein -- three guys who will be backups next season. His yards-per-attempt (6.8) and touchdown percentage (3.3) over the same period are atrocious, and his interception percentage (3.2) is worse than that of Kerry Collins.

And unlike Doug Flutie (who tops Bledsoe in yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, and quarterback rating since the end of the 1998 season), Bledsoe isn't quick on his feet -- he's one of only three quarterbacks to be sacked more than 100 times in the last three seasons, despite missing most of last year.

Doesn't anyone remember that Bledsoe wasn't even the starter for his own team last year? The Patriots didn't trade him because they think he's better than Tom Brady. Even in Bledsoe's celebrated playoff performance last season, he did only what was necessary: 10-for-21 passing, 102 yards, 1 touchdown. The touchdown is what's important, of course, but a 47.6 completion percentage and under 5-yards per attempt are not numbers to get excited about. Because Bledsoe's touchdown pass helped win the game, many of us forgot that he didn't really play all that well.

You can't even make the argument that Bledsoe saves his best stuff for the really big games. In Super Bowl XXXI, Bledsoe became one of only four quarterbacks to throw four interceptions in a Super Bowl game, putting up a ghastly 46.6 passer rating. All this isn't to say that Bledsoe is a bad quarterback, but he's certainly overrated.

For career statistics, he trails Jeff George in completion percentage, yards-per-attempt, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, and passer rating. This isn't Steve Young we're talking about here - it's Jeff George, for goodness' sake. Bledsoe also trails Rob Johnson in each of those categories.

Furthermore, all the hype surrounding Bledsoe seems to have made people forget that Buffalo is still relying on Travis Henry and Shawn Bryson to carry the ball. Last year, they combined for 1070 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3.65 yards per carry. These two are not the second coming of Thurman Thomas; they aren't even the one-two punch of Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne in New York (combined 1555 yards, 4.5 avg, 16 TD).

The Bills also need to shore up an ugly defense that ranked 29th in the league last year in points allowed, en route to Buffalo's 3-13 finish. The Bills have signed three defensive players this offseason, but they lost five to retirement and free agency, including team leaders Phil Hansen, an 11-year starter, and previously-mentioned Cowart.

Buffalo has several young players who could boost the defense, but it's a long way up from 29th, and an offense relying on Bledsoe and Henry will need all the help it can get. The Bills will win more than three games this season, but I don't think they'll be a factor in the playoff race.

Bobby Humphrey
06-28-2002, 01:55 AM
Great read. I am now in love with a man by the name of Brad Oremland.

Cranx
06-28-2002, 02:00 AM
I love that article. Especially the part about Bledsoe since that's what I've been saying all along. He is not now, nor was he ever, the "save the day" type QB that the great ones- or even the really good ones for that matter- are. Heck, a man by the name of Jay Fiedler has better numbers all the way around and is more mobile. Makes you wonder what they're putting in the water up there in Buffalo.

Dajesus
06-28-2002, 03:31 AM
I think everyone outside of Bufflao has been saying that. In Buffalo's defense the main thing they got with Bledsoe is a QB that the whole team beleaves in, and a leader. They haven't had that since Kelly. On the flip side they got a slow underacheiver that is passed his prime, who also never lived up to his potential. M.Williams will be good, but every rookie O-lineman is good for at least 5 huge mistakes durring a season that gets their QB smacked. Can Bledsoe make it thru those 5 mistakes? The other big question in Buffalo will be, can they stop anyone? Besides Pat Williams they are way below average on the D-line, Fletcher will help their LBs, but unless they have major improvements from the other very young LBs they will struggle to be average, their secondary is their brightspot they have a lot of potential, but have yet to show they have met it. They do have a team that could upset someone now and again, but wont hit .500 by season end.

BillsMan80
06-28-2002, 08:48 AM
The guy is a total moron...London Fletcher is not a band-aid. London Fletcher is an All-Pro/Pro Bowl type player. Fletcher signed a 5 year deal for big money, and I'll take him over Sam Cowart anyday. At least Fletcher can stay on the field. And besides, while yes, Rob Johnson has a better rating than Drew, think about it. Rob Johnson only plays in around 8 games a year, and Bledsoe's weapons deteriorated by the week in New England. Before last year, the only reason that the Pats would win a game was because of Bledsoe. Besides, Bledsoe is the best QB in the AFC East so I'll take him over Brady, Big Ears, or Testaverde anyday.

Billsfan
06-28-2002, 08:58 AM
Please. For the last time. London Fletcher is NOT taking over for Sam Cowart. Cowart has not played 20 straight games. 20!!!! That's almost a season and a half. Fletcher is taking over for Brandon Spoon.

That is an Upgrade!

jaxdolfan
06-28-2002, 09:07 AM
The Bills suck. 3-13 last season. Says it all. They will get to play the last place teams of every other division outside of ours, so they do have a good chance of winning games.

They still suck. They cry when they hear the names Chambers or Armstrong.

dolfan87
06-28-2002, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by BillsMan80
The guy is a total moron...London Fletcher is not a band-aid. London Fletcher is an All-Pro/Pro Bowl type player. Fletcher signed a 5 year deal for big money, and I'll take him over Sam Cowart anyday. At least Fletcher can stay on the field. And besides, while yes, Rob Johnson has a better rating than Drew, think about it. Rob Johnson only plays in around 8 games a year, and Bledsoe's weapons deteriorated by the week in New England. Before last year, the only reason that the Pats would win a game was because of Bledsoe. Besides, Bledsoe is the best QB in the AFC East so I'll take him over Brady, Big Ears, or Testaverde anyday.

He isn't a total moron. I know you would think that because you feel that Bledsoe is some huge pick-up, but the guy is right.

Your team is not any better than the New England squad that Drew lead to a 0-2 start. Brady takes over and they win a Super Bowl.

Until Henry proves he is the stud you hope he can be, and he cuts the fumbles out, you still have no running game.

I think Buffalo will be improved, but Bledsoe isn't the answer.

iceblizzard69
06-28-2002, 10:22 AM
The Bills think Fiedler is a bully.

Dajesus
06-28-2002, 01:23 PM
Besides, Bledsoe is the best QB in the AFC East so I'll take him over Brady, Big Ears, or Testaverde anyday. [/B][/QUOTE]

Would you rahter have a good QB on a bad team, or a so-so QB on a good team?

Dolfan984
06-28-2002, 03:31 PM
I'll take our good QB on our good team.

iceblizzard69
06-28-2002, 05:08 PM
I'll take the average QB on the best team in the AFC East.

BillsMan80
06-28-2002, 06:00 PM
Umm, I don't see how we are a bad team. The only real questions are at our 2nd DT spot and our FS position. We have quality talent everywhere else.

The Beach Bum
06-29-2002, 01:23 AM
where else? besides receiver

Justasportsfan
06-29-2002, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by Bobby Humphrey
Great read. I am now in love with a man by the name of Brad Oremland.
You are probably from South Beach or the keys. lol.j/k.

"Based on the past few years" I will have to say that like The rams or Pats having a bad year and then the SB the next, who's to say it can't happen to the bills.

Based on the last few years the fins have been blown away come playoofs, who's to say it won't happen again. lol.

goobylal
06-29-2002, 06:22 PM
This Oremland guy obviously doesn't research things too well. The Bills have upgraded a lot of positions from last year, in many cases with much better players. He missed several like Eddie Robinson (OLB), Billy Jenkins (SS), and Charlie Rogers (KR/PR) ad underrated guys like Fletcher (who will be taking over for Brandon Spoon, NOT Sam Cowart), Trey Teague (an upgrade over John Fina), and Hollis (a MAJOR upgrade over Jake Arians).

As for Bledsoe, it's funny to hear him harp on QB rating, but to not realize that a) Bledsoe had a QB rating of 94 in the season opening loss to the Bungles last year whereas Tom Brady had a QB rating of 78 in his first start, against the Colts last year. To also criticize Bledsoe for his 10-21 performance when he came off the bench cold and rusty after 4 months being off the field and not getting the majority of snaps in practice but still getting the job done, is ridiculous.

Sure the Bills have holes at DT and LDE, but they seem confident that the youngsters will step up there. Last of all, Miami barely beat the Bills last year in Buffalo, and mostly thanks to Nate Clements fumbling a KO return in the closing moments of the game and Ken Irvin (pictured above "defending" Chambers) being matched up with Chambers and losing bad.

Billhoff
06-29-2002, 10:16 PM
Hey Bills 80 , Sounds like the oftenhammered playofff stink fish are gettin a bit.....N~E~R~V~O~U~S~~~~~~~~~~

BillsMan80
06-29-2002, 11:14 PM
That's what I am thinking myself...Everyone knows we are a sleeping giant.

Iron Man
06-29-2002, 11:34 PM
The sleeping giant??? hahaha!! Now that's funny. Just sleep in the cellar because that's where you'll be come seasons end.

goobylal
06-30-2002, 12:48 AM
Doubtful. The Bills played every current (thank goodness the Colts are gone!) AFC East team tough last year, outside of the Miami-season-ender-run-for-the-bus game. Considering the Bills improved more compared to last year than any of their AFC East rivals, I can see the Bills winning 4 of the 6 games in the division.

Dolfan984
06-30-2002, 05:08 AM
We will sweep the Bills again this year.

The Bills will go 2-4 against the AFCE

Billhoff
06-30-2002, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by jaxdolfan
The Bills suck. 3-13 last season. Says it all. They will get to play the last place teams of every other division outside of ours, so they do have a good chance of winning games.

They still suck. They cry when they hear the names Chambers or Armstrong. The bills have a tougher schedule then the stink fish....check out the first 5 games !62-7 & loved it!

Billhoff
06-30-2002, 09:55 AM
This omerland guy has no bussiness even writting, if he`s going to write" chip on the shoulder "stuff like that!He mind as well put the Bengals in the superbowl! He doesn`t have the slightest clue once so ever! The guy has no substance to back anything up and he doesn`t even no who`s on the Bills team let alone who took who`s place! HE GOT EXLAX FOR BRAINS, PROBABLY LIVES IN MIAMI.

Iron Man
06-30-2002, 07:51 PM
Not only do Bills fans lack in mathematical skills but they can't spell either. Sad, really sad.:cry:

Dolfan984
07-01-2002, 05:11 AM
Yeah, we got beat 62-7. The Bills got beat the week before us though. :)

John from Hemet
07-01-2002, 03:58 PM
I just think that Miami fans should keep in mind...

That once upon a time their defense was considered too young as well...and then had a breakout season...

Personally I think that fans are just fooling themselves when they downplay the significance of Drew Bledsoe...or simply just dont want to admit that the bills have a durable, quality, cold weather quarterback with a chip on his shoulder.....there is a direct linkage here that cannot be denied....when Drew Bledsoe was given a solid running game, adaquate protection, and quality recievers....martin, armstrong, coates...he went to the pro bowl THREE TIMES and was considered one of the best...if not the best...quarterback in the league.....his numbers have spiraled down as the patriot management refused to replace these guys as they left....

In Buffalo they have improved their line....Travis Henry only seems to be known to buffalo fans.....and the receiving core is set with TWO quality tight ends and Eric Moulds.....

I think that the bills are going to shock the East.....

MoFinz
07-01-2002, 04:34 PM
Bledsoe is not, and never has been, the leader that the Bills fans are painting him to be. They conveniently forget the stage diving incident. They forget the UnGodly interceptions at the worst times, while at the same time rankling about Fiedlers TD/INT ratio. Lets look at the saviors Lifetime stats1993-2001
Comp % 56.3
td/int 166/138
sacked 262 times for -1778 yds (theres no way a bad line was solely responsible for all these sacks. Mr. Indecision holding the ball too long had a lot to do with that)
Sure he has a ton of yards passing, but his passing yards avg is only 6.56 per completion.
Add in the fact he's had 3 years where he had MORE ints than TDs and 2 more years where the totals were even, you have a mediocre QB who will wilt with the game on the line.
But feel free to delude yourself all you please. It'll be more fun to watch you scramble for excuses when he falters with the game on the line.

Dolfan984
07-01-2002, 04:50 PM
Boo yah! Great post MoFinz!

TigerJ
07-06-2002, 12:31 AM
OK. Here it is point by point:

Oremland- "Middle linebacker London Fletcher merely takes over for Sam Cowart." As has already been mentioned, Cowart missed the last twenty games that he was under contract to the Bills. He started the first game last season and went down like on his second play. A healthy Cowart may be a better player than a healthy Fletcher, but that's not a fair comparison. Fletcher is far better than Spoon, the man he replaces. Moreover he is a far better value than the now overpaid Cowart.

O- "Offensive tackle Trey Teague is an overrated but necessary addition." I don't think Buffalo fans are overrating Teague. We know he was merely adequate for Denver. Our hope is that he was still hampered last year from a severe injury the previous year, and therefore has some modest upside. Even a merely adequate left tackle is a major upgrade from the abysmal play Buffalo got out of Fina when he could actually make it out onto the field, or his even worse backups. We're actually counting on a number of factors to make the line significantly better than last year. Williams is certainly one of those. Another is Ostroski's return to health after being injured most of last season. Another is the addition of Marcus Price, who provides higher quality depth at tackle than Buffalo had last year. Jennings will be a major upgrade from Conaty, who had to play with a badly dislocated shoulder virtually the whoe season. Buffalo's Oline may be a year or so away from remarkable, but in 2001 it was a disaster of historic proportions.

O- "Hollis is also coming off a weak season in which he went 8-11 from under 40 yards and hit nothing from further than 48." We know Hollis did not exactly set the league on fire. We understand he was dealing with some nagging injury problems and an ongoing feud with Coughlin. Otherwise he would not have been available. We're hopeful he can turn things around.

O- "Did you know that Bledsoe's career passer rating (75.9) is actually ten points lower than that of the man he replaces, Rob Johnson (85.7)?" Buffalo fans are well aware that Bledsoe has struggled for several seasons. Some of the reasons are connected with the team situation. The Patsies struggled with their running game, the Oline became degraded, the team had a succession of offensive coordinators. Bledsoe probably contributed to his problems. He allowed his attitude to go down hill and his play followed. The raging debate is whether he can turn things around with his new team. Oremland is a naysayer, along with most fin fans. Most Buffalo fans are hopeful. The only thing that can be said to this point is that Bledsoe made a strong positive impression on the Bills during their minicamps. His arm is in good shape, he showed good accuracy, and unlike Rob Johnson showed outstanding leadership. giving directions and helping the players around him. The naysayers will be right in saying that proves nothing. Ultimately, we won't know anything until September. Then Belichek may look like a genius or Tom Donahoe will, one only one of them can. The other will look like a fool.

O- "Furthermore, all the hype surrounding Bledsoe seems to have made people forget that Buffalo is still relying on Travis Henry and Shawn Bryson to carry the ball." Does anyone remember that apart from his rookie season, Antowain Smith could do anything in a Bills uniform? Then last year his running was a factor in The Patsie's Super Bowl run. Did he suddenly remember how to run? Hardly. Successful running is a team effort. The same offensive line that couldn't protect a QB couldn't open up holes for a running back either. The offensive coordinator was in over his head. Travis Henry was a tremendously productive running back for the Tennessee Volunteers, and did nothing last year that proves he can't be a very productive pro. In addition, the Bills have created a lot of competition at running back.

O- "The Bills have signed three defensive players this offseason, but they lost five to retirement and free agency, including team leaders Phil Hansen, an 11-year starter, and previously-mentioned Cowart." The Bills lost Cowart who played maybe two downs. They lost Phil Hansen who was a solid player for years, but had clearly lost a step last year. They lost Keion Carpenter, a journeyman free safety whom they had signed as an undrafted rookie, and chose not to offer a contract. In other words, they did not think he was worth trying to keep around. They lost Raion Hill, who started the season at strong safety, but lost his position to free agent pickup Peirson Prioleau. They lost Jay Foreman in the trade that brought kick returner Charlie Rogers to the team.

They added Billy Jenkins to play strong safety. His forte is run support which is what Buffalo's defense will stress out of the SS spot. They added Eddie Robinson who will in effect be an extra onfield position coach. They added London Fletcher at MLB. Is he as good as Sam Cowart? It's hard to make a comparison since Sam played so little. Is he better than Brandon Spoon? You'd better believe it. I'm not even sure who the third addition is that Oremland refers to unless he's speaking of Prioleau who was a late season pickup. The main improvement will need to come from younger players getting better; Ron Edwards, Tyrone Robertson. Nate Clements (who's already pretty good), Erik Flowers (who has been a major disappointment thus far). Do young players get better? Absolutely! Is there any guarrantee that will be enough? Absolutely not. There is also hope that players returning from injury will be a factor: Tony Driver (a young safety who has some potential) and Shawn Price (a journeyman DT who hasn't been fully healthy ever as a pro, but had surgery in the offseason that takes care of an injury from his college days). Then there are the rookies. Bannan, Denny and Wire will all get some playing time, but there is no way to tell how much or how little impact they will have.

Buffalo probably has not made enough offseason additions to win the division, but Oremland's assertions that they are bandaids is only partly correct. Tom Donahoe is building the team for a long run. Jenkins is probably a bandaid, but Coy Wire may be ready to start in 2003 and could be a big time player. He has all the tools but lacks experience at safety. Teague is probably a bandaid in that he will probably not be starting in two years. Williams probably moves to the left side eventually and the Bills will either need to find a player from their roster to develop or pick up someone from free agency. Bledsoe is a bandaid only if he flops. If he can jump start his career, he should be good for another five years. Fletcher is not a bandaid. He's a long term starter. Robinson is good for maybe three years but was brought in as much to teach the younger players as to fill a position himself.

Sometimes bandaids are necessary and Tom Donahoe has certainly used some for the Bills, but in his drafting he is looking long term. As the Bills get one more year removed form salary cap hell, they will look more and more for long term solutions.