|Undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel|
KEY ADDITIONS: ILB Kiko Alonso (2nd round, Oregon), K Dustin Hopkins (6th round, Florida State), RE Jerry Hughes (from Colts), QB Kevin Kolb (from Cardinals), LB Manny Lawson (from Bengals), QB E.J. Manuel (1st Round, Florida State), WR Robert Woods (2nd round, USC)
KEY DEPARTURES: LB Nick Barnett (to Redskins), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (to Titans), G Andy Levitre (to Titans), LB Kelvin Sheppard (to Colts), S George Wilson (to Titans) (courtesy Fox News)
E.J. Manuel was the big surprise of the NFL draft after being the first quarterback drafted. Buffalo is counting on him to be the franchise quarterback of the future. Geno Smith was the easy draft pick. At least if they picked Geno and he didn't work out everyone would understand. Picking Manuel puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved, especially new coach Doug Marrone who makes the transition from college. I know Manuel has looked good in the preseason but I'm thinking it could be a long year.
Buffalo does have running back C.J. Spiller who had a breakout year in 2012 and receiver Stevie Johnson to help ease the transition on offense. Hopefully receiver Robert Woods (USC) can help out as a rookie wideout and he share time with receiver David Nelson and tight end Scott Chandler to provide targets for the quarterbacks . Buffalo needs to take all the pressure they can off their young quarterbacks but the offensive line isn't going to scare anyone and these young QB's may be on the run quite a bit.
The defense lost safety George Wilson to the Titans and Mario Williams didn't exactly live up to his big contract. I'm not saying he is a bust. I think it was a great move but now the team is switching to a 3-4 defense so I'm not exactly how Williams will fit in. The team added some youth on defense through the draft and free agency but nobody that will be pushing for defensive player of the year. The defensive backfield may still be a positive even with the loss of Wilson. They still have standout rookie Stephon Gilmore, Jarius Byrd, and Leodis McKelvin anchoring the pass coverage. Of course if the front seven can't get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks or contain the running game it will all be for not.
I'm thinking five wins for this team. There is a lot of transition going on here and unless Manuel plays like the big three rookie QBs from last year it will not be an easy one. I just don't know. There are some weapons on offense but how will Emanuel play? Will the offensive line give him time to develop? That was key to RGIII, Wilson, and Kaepernick being able to develop and prosper. The defense can be better than average but how will the transition to the 3-4 go? Many things have to go right for this to be a successful season and my definition of that would be seven wins. Maybe I'm too pessimistic but I just don't see it all jelling this quickly. I do have hope for the next few years. Give the coaching staff some time to develop the young talent and anything is possible. For now, as always, Bills fans can only stay strong and have hope.
Awesome link from Buzzfeed. I will warn Bills fans that it will probably make you cry...
32 Reason Being a Buffalo Bills Fan is More Painful Than Childbirth