The Bucs next game is just a few days away. We all know we're playing the Bills up in Buffalo. We know they acquired T.O., we know Marshawn Lynch is out. But rather than just speculate about the Bills, we figured it was best to go straight to the source. We shot 5 questions over to Brian Galliford over at Buffalo Rumblings and he reciprocated with 5 questions for us. Be sure to head over there to see our answers on the Bucs and what the Bills fans think we have in store for them.
Let's take a look and see what Brian had to say about the Bills.
1) I gotta start out with T.O. What does he bring to your team, and do you see this marriage lasting the full year? Will he back in Buffalo next year? What about Lynch. With Marshawn Lynch out for 2 more games, do you feel confident that Fred Jackson is the answer? Any chance he replaces Lynch full time?
The only things Owens has brought to the Bills to this point are two catches, 46 yards, a whole lot of open area in the middle of the field on short passing routes, immense offensive potential, the constant threat of a locker room blowup and, believe it or not, much-needed veteran leadership. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has hinted that Owens would like to stay in Buffalo beyond this season, but I sincerely doubt that happens if the Bills don't make the playoffs and Dick Jauron is fired.
I am supremely confident in Fred Jackson. The biggest question surrounding him has always been whether or not he can be an every-down feature back; in his last two games - both against New England, incidentally - he's logged 48 touches for 276 yards and a touchdown. The guy can flat-out play. That said, Lynch is the feature back when he's available - he's much more uniquely talented than Jackson is. Needless to say, the offense is better off when both of these backs are getting touches.
2) After a heartbreaking opening night loss, will Buffalo be able to rebound at home? How does the short week and emotional let down affect the teams?
To be honest, I'm much more concerned about the short week than the heartbreaking loss. Buffalo has had gut-wrenching Monday Night Football losses in each of the past two seasons, and they bounced back with a win in each case. Jauron's Bills play hard every week. The real question is whether or not they'll have confidence in themselves to close out a win against a solid opponent.
3) You haven't been to the Playoffs since 1999, currently the longest streak I believe. As Bucs fans we know all about going 14 years without the word playoffs being mentioned. Why do you feel Buffalo has gone so long without making them?
I could take over your blog for a period of several months simply responding to this single question. The big reasons: an indecisive, hands-on (Hall of Fame) owner, lack of front office leadership, poor talent acquisition (particularly in the Draft), and the inability to find the right head coach/franchise quarterback combination. These are all pretty massively important, and they're all areas that the Bills have been distinctly hit-and-miss (or just plain miss) in for quite some time.
There's very little question that Ralph Wilson Stadium is out of date; other NFL facilities rather put it to shame. Right now, the stadium works, even if it's older, because the Bills have the lowest ticket prices in the league. Their revenues jumped 3% in 2008 - tied with New England and your Bucs as the biggest one-year leap - and it was helped out by the fact that they sold out every game. They've sold more season tickets this year than they ever have in franchise history. That doesn't work if we have a new facility. It's also why there's so much speculation that the team will eventually be re-located. Long term, if the Bills are going to stay in Western New York, they'll need a serious stadium upgrade.
Offensively, we're still sort of an enigma. On paper, we have the ability to beat defenses in a lot of ways - on the ground, with deep throws, quick-strike, ball control; you name it. The problem is that they're still trying to figure out what they're best at executing, and what exactly their identity is. Very much a work in progress.
Defensively, we're descendents of Tony Dungy, twice removed; defensive coordinator Perry Fewell worked for Lovie Smith in Chicago, and I'm sure any Bucs fan can connect the dots from there. I wouldn't call the defense a Tampa 2, but it's predominantly zone. Buffalo doesn't blitz much when they don't have to, and they mix in man coverages only to keep offenses honest. They are very vulnerable in the soft underbelly of their zone coverages, because their linebackers are rather average defending the pass. Our corners are athletic and can tackle well, but they rarely make plays on the ball unless a pass is tipped or there's pressure on the quarterback. "Bend but don't break" is the best descriptive word to describe Fewell's defense; the team is typically quite good defending the red zone.
There you have it. Thanks to Brian and the guys over at Buffalo Rumblings for taking the time to give us the scoop on the Bills.