Found October 18, 2013 on The Farm Club:
For the first time in a long, long time, Buffalo Bills fans might actually have something to be happy about. What’s that? Yeah, the team is 2-4. No, they’re not likely going to win more than 5 or 6 games this season. But you know what? That’s fine. No, I’m not smoking anything and, no, I’m not delusional. At least I don’t think. By the time I’m done writing this, you might think I am. For the first time in a long time, Bills fans can be happy because the future is bright. I’ll be the first to admit that I was not happy about the selection of E.J. Manuel with the 16th overall pick in this past April’s draft. I might’ve told everyone and their mothers that it was the worst pick possible and I was debating even watching the Bills this season because of it. I’ll also be the first to admit that I was wrong. Like, way wrong. Don’t get me wrong here: Manuel isn’t going to be offensive rookie of the year. He hasn’t been a game-changer or left me with my jaw on the floor. But he’s been solid. He looks like a rookie a lot because he IS a rookie. But he’s big, strong, relatively smart for a rookie, and he can make/extend plays with his feet. He adds another dimension to the already dangerous ground game (more on that in a second) and as he gains confidence, he looks better as a passer. I think the Bills have finally found their guy. Provided he can stay healthy (fingers, toes, and everything in between crossed). CJ Spiller is dangerous even when hobbled. (buddynixon.com) As for that running game? It’s third best in the league right now. That’s without Manuel for a game and half, with the dynamic CJ Spiller (a game-changer when he’s healthy and still a huge threat even when he’s banged up) mostly absent, and the ever consistent Fred Jackson banged up. Hell, there even looks like hope in the receiving unit past Stevie Johnson for the first time in ages. TJ Graham looks like he’s improving and second round pick Robert Woods out of USC looks like he could be a bonafide #2. The Bills haven’t had a bonafide #2 since that one year Peerless Price was really good. And then there’s the defense. Yes, it’s 27th in the league in total defense right now, but there are a couple of things to consider: First, you need to watch this unit to understand that it gets big plays when it needs to and has actually developed the ability to get a stop. The run defense is still questionable and they clearly need more than just Kiko Alonso at linebacker, but the group just LOOKS better. Secondly, this team has been ravaged by injury. Jairus Byrd, all-pro safety, Stephon Gilmore, and half the secondary has missed time due to injury this year and often at the same time. The fact that the secondary has been almost totally decimated yet the Bills defense manages to keep things close is a huge testament to the defensive coordinator. Under old DC Dave Wannstedt, things would go from bad to worse. Under new DC Mike Pettine, there looks to be at least a semblance of an idea as to what to do. That’s encouraging. Mario Williams is finally looking like he was worth the investment, providing good pressure and producing 8.5 sacks so far. He can’t do it by himself but he’s a huge boost for that defensive line, helping guys like Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams spring free because teams are preoccupied with him. The Bills will finish this season with another bad record and miss the playoffs for the 15th straight season. But for the first time in a long time, they have promising young talent, a coaching staff with some idea of what it’s doing, and a quarterback they feel they can go with. If the Bills can add another piece or two to the puzzle in the draft this year, they could be a playoff darkhorse as soon as next season. Can you imagine it? The Bills in the playoffs? It’s been so long that it would feel weird to even think about it, but the Bills may be there sooner rather than later. Ryan is an editor and writer for The Farm Club. He also contributes for The Hockey Writers while editing and writing for Mile High Sticking. You can find him on Twitter, cheering for Buffalo sports and spending his life eternally disappointed. The post It’s Not So Bad Being A Bills Fan (For Now) appeared first on The Farm Club.
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