Tag Archives: Buffalo Bills

NY Sports Today, Pt.2: The NFL

Can NGSCSports.Com be the first website that recognizes the Buffalo Bills as a New York sports franchise?  Why is it that the Bills, the only football team that actually plays football in the state of New York is forgotten, while the Giants and Jets play in New Jersey and that’s all one hears about?  New York is weird when it comes to football.  The Giants are the main attraction, the Jets are the freak show and the Bills are somewhere between forgotten and disrespected.  Here is a look at New York’s football squads right now.

The New  York Giants:

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Definitely a top five when in comes to spoiled and obnoxious fan bases.  They go toe to toe with their rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles fans and their feeling of self-entitlement is nauseating.   Currently the Giants are in a “flux” as they have parted ways with head coach Tom Coughlin who coached this franchise to two (ridiculously lucky) Super Bowl wins.  The Giants have a super star in Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver.  He is no doubt explosive and one of the best play-makers in the league, but he is also an overly emotional moron, who puts his “gimmick” ahead of the team more times than not.  With the emergence of Beckham, the Giants should and will probably cut ties with fan favorite Victor Cruz, who just can’t stay healthy anymore so it makes no sense to cut him a big check.  Eli Manning is entering his thirteenth season as quarterback of the New York Giants and his “mystique” in New York is greater than the actual performance.  He has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 3:2 but that stat seems to be ignored by the masses for whatever reason (that reason being his last name).  New Yorkers don’t want to acknowledge the truth which is the Giants are quietly rebuilding and a mediocre rate, which is a shame because as the NFC East has proven recently, it’s anybody’s division. . . minus the Giants.

The New York Jets:

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Just when you think the Jets got something cooking, they drop the frying pan.  On their foot.  If there is any team in the league with a small window and the “win now” mentality, it should be the New York Jets.  The Jets have a perfect blend of veterans, talent and youth to win games in this league.  Funny thing with the Jets is that they find themselves currently in a very “Jets-like, situation.”  Ryan Fitzpatrick quarterbacked the Jets last year over failed 2013 draft pick Geno Smith.  This was Fitzpatrick’s sixth team since 2005 and he excelled under rookie head coach Todd Bowles.  Fitzpatrick often was looked upon as a guy who can flash incredible consistency but then quickly turn into a “limited talent.”  With that being said, he broke the franchise record for most touchdowns in a season with 31.  So how is this situation “Jets-like,” you ask?  Because, Fitzy is turning 34 in November and because of the current quarterback market, his price range has gone from “bargain-basement” to somewhere in the $10 million a year ballpark.   The Jets are kind of hand-cuffed and need to figure out a way to make their cap space work but that’s because they are in “win-now” mode.  Did you catch that?  Ryan Fitzpatrick puts the Jets “back” in “win-now” mode.  Only the Jets, folks!

The Buffalo Bills:

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Speaking of the Jets, you had to love the narrative last season.  The Jets fire Rex Ryan as head coach, Ryan goes to Buffalo, Ryan beats the Jets twice by the same score of 22-17.  Ultimately destroying the Jets chances of a playoff birth.  But this is no longer about “Gang Green” this is about the only real New York NFL franchise, the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills were disappointed last year, but for a franchise that’s claim to fame is going to four straight Super Bowls and losing all four – it’s safe to say, being disappointed is the norm for upstate New York. The Bills are already making moves in the off-season and have released defensive end Mario Williams, which frees up about $13 million in cap space and they’ll be looking to spread that money around on the defense (expect Cromartie to get with Rex Ryan).  The Bills offense really isn’t too bad, and it’s safe to say Tyrod Taylor impressed some folks last year (albeit, expectations for him weren’t so great anyway).   The Bills are an average team, which their 8-8 record shows, but lost 5 of those eight by single digits, proving one less mistake here or an extra yard there, might have made a world of difference for this squad.  This is the NFL though, where nobody will cry for you if you lose, especially if your head coach is Rex Ryan, who most folks just don’t take serious anyway. . .

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Buffalo Bills 2015 Preview

Anytime Rex Ryan enters a room ears and eyes open wide.  You just never know what Rex Ryan will say, in terms of football, life, comedy – anything.  But for that side of unpredictable satire that he brings, there is one thing he is consistent with -engineering an aggressive and intelligent defensive system.   Truth is, Buffalo didn’t even need help in that department but at the same time, it won’t hurt having Rex make that unit even more dangerous.

Of course Rex Ryan does come with some baggage.  His bravado turns folks off and his offensive game plan is usually old-school and anemic. He had quarterback issues in New York with the Jets and he enters Buffalo with the same issues.  At present time (August 9th 2015) there is a three way race between the veteran Matt Cassel, former first round pick E.J. Manuel and for Virginia Tech Hokie and Baltimore Raven – Tyrod Taylor.  Cassel is the presumed favorite for his experience and moderate success (here and there).  E.J. Manuel was a reach when Buffalo took him in the first round two years ago and that reach is looking more like a bust as time moves on.  Taylor is an interesting wildcard in the mix though.  He is a mobile quarterback who might add some versatility to an offense that everyone knows will be run-heavy.

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Why wouldn’t the Bills be run heavy?  They traded away linebacker Kiko Alonso for Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy, who is easily one of the best backs in the league.  McCoy is a versatile and confident back who is amongst a handful of running backs in the NFL that can be considered a three-down-back.  Veteran Fred Jackson is a favorite in Buffalo but last year suffered his first real injury so that has fans nervous.  Jackson should be nervous about losing his number two spot on the depth chart to rookie Karlos Williams, who is a big bodied back out of Florida State with a nasty streak in him.

The offensive line is equipped with the NFL’s biggest bully in Richie Incognito, who wasn’t touched by any team last year after the ridiculous bully-scandal in Miami, but last time out he was a pro bowl caliber guard.  Cyrus Kouandijo disappointed the Bills in his rookie season but should be able to crack into the starting lineup after pre-season.

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The wide receiver group looks good on paper, but with questions at the quarterback position it’s hard to say just how much of an impact these players will have.  Percy Harvin followed Rex Ryan to Buffalo and when healthy Harvin is easily one of the most explosive players in the league.  Harvin can line up outside, in the slot, in the backfield and even as a returner in special teams – and be equally as dangerous from all spots.  The problem with Harvin is that he is usually injured and his “me first” attitude tend to cause friction amongst teammates.  Last year Sammy Watkins showed flashes of what he can become but he too struggled with injuries in his initial NFL campaign.  Robert Woods might be the most consistent out of the bunch when it comes to route running and hands – while the other two add an explosiveness.

Defensively, Rex Ryan will quickly fall in love with Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus at his disposal.  Dareus will have no problem moving to nose tackle in Ryan’s 3-4 scheme.  It’ll be interesting to see Kyle Williams move from tackle to guard this season and with the attention going to the other two on the line, Bryant Corbin might find a lot of one on one opportunities and have a chance to flourish as an end pass rusher.  Linebacker Preston Brown was a rookie out of Louisville last season who led this Bills defense in tackles – which made the trading of Kiko Alonso for LeSean McCoy a no-brainer for the Buffalo brass.  Nigel Bradham is an instinctive linebacker that does very well in drop zone situations while Mario Williams will be expected to be all over the defense.  Ryan knows that his presence around the line of scrimmage is a huge X-Factor for this defenses success, expect Williams to line up on both sides of the line, standing up from the middle, dropping back from the edge – just about anything to keep offenses guessing.

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The secondary is not the strongest part of this Bills defense, but they look better than they actually are due to the front seven.  Leodis McKelvin led the team with four interceptions and went down with an ankle injury and opposite of him is South Carolina Gamecock Stephon Gilmore who is more of a man to man corner than a zone guy.  Rookie Ronald Darby out of Florida State may become the nickel by starting day, mostly because of his aggressive nature.

The Rex Ryan Bills, will looks similar in styles to the Rex Ryan Jets teams that we’ve seen over the last few years.   The difference is – Ryan has more talent than he ever had on offense with the Bills than he did with the Green Machine.  That quarterback situation will be the talk of Buffalo throughout the season, but there is enough to challenge for the division here.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Predicted Pro Bowlers: LeSean McCoy, Jerome Felton, Mario Williams, Preston Brown, Corbin Bryant

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Chip Kelly Gambles On Himself

Chip Kelly exudes confidence.  Or is it arrogance he exudes?  Guess everyone will find out a lot sooner than later.  Besides being head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly also oversees the player personnel department.   The Eagles have shown their faith in what Chip Kelly can do, and now he’s shaping up the roster anyway he seems fit.

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When the news broke of the Eagles trading running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso it shocked mostly everybody.  Mainly because McCoy is one of the few all purpose and three-down backs in the league, who was without a doubt the biggest weapon in Chip Kelly’s offense.   This wasn’t a bad trade per-say for either side involved: The Eagles got a young stud linebacker on a rookie contract and also relieved a lot of cap room while the Bills, now coached by Rex Ryan, found an upgrade from CJ Spiller in what will be a run dominated offense.  The Bills defense did just fine without Alonso last season and with Rex Ryan there, they’ll be just fine in that department.

What the move says though is that Chip Kelly has more belief in what his offense can do, than the players that are in it.  This should come to no surprise to those who have followed Kelly though. Remember last year, he departed with Desean Jackson as if he was a passing bug.

Acquiring Kiko Alonso might be just the beginning of Kelly’s plan.  Alonso is a former Oregon Duck, who understands the physical demands of which a normal Chip Kelly practice feels like.  Kelly does things differently – where others break down a free agent or rookie prospects squat numbers and broad jumps – Kelly wants to know a players sleeping and eating habits.  He has to know that the player he puts into his system is not only smart enough to understand it, but is in the right physical state to play in it.

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Remember when you were in school and the teacher brought out WIlliam Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar?”  A word that was thrown around during that lesson that you’ll never forget was “hubris” – meaning excessive pride.  This is what led to Caesar’s downfall.  He was so self righteous it made everyone around him sick – and they assassinated him.  Nobody is saying Chip Kelly is going to get stabbed 23 times to his death (“Et tu, Kelce?”) but what his ego might do is lead to his downfall and maybe exile himself from the league.  Extreme?  Not really.  If a head coach is going to take a gamble on himself to this extent, he had better be right.

In terms of this trade, it was smart.  McCoy is entering his seventh season and last year was paid over $7.5 million.  Nobody is arguing whether he deserves the money or not – but the bottom line is, no matter how great one thinks McCoy is – they didn’t make the playoffs. At the end of the day, he wasn’t that big of a difference maker to Kelly, who still has Darren Sproles  and (ah hem) former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner in his backfield.

If current rumors are true, Chip Kelly has another big deal to broker.  If Chip Kelly wants to get his hands on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, he’ll have to trade up of the draft and most likely give up a considerable ransom for that pick which could be anywhere in the top 6 or 7.  Mariota himself is a gamble in the NFL, but there is no better place for him to be situated than with Chip Kelly if that was to come true.  The timing, language and chemistry would be true from the start.

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If anything, the seemingly brazen arrogance of Chip Kelly is somewhat inspiring.  If you have that much belief in yourself and your abilities there should be no second guessing in the actions you take.  The city of Philadelphia are putting blind faith into Chip Kelly who seems more like a mad scientist than a football coach.  Or better yet, a super villain who has Metropolis nervous with his every move.   For Chip Kelly’s sake, he’d better be right because we are talking about Philadelphia here. . . a scene similar to that of Julius Caesar may not be too far off if Kelly sinks this team into the abyss because of his own selfish pride. 

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio