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2013 Bills What I Like- What I Don't - 11/11/13

The Bills started the preseason with a "Wow."  They ended it with one too. in a very different way.  After the romp over the Colts I warned people not to over react I'll say the same after the Disaster vs Detroit.  The game on Thursday was played with a QB who did not belong back on an NFL field and with some players who will never be given that chance in the regular season. While it highlights some very real concerns about this team's lack of quality backups, it was not an indication of what the key players on Doug Marrone's team might do in 2013

This season is all about Marrone and EJ Manuel. The coach is trying to establish his type of players, playing his type of way.  That will not happen in one off season.  EJ Manuel will play and start (maybe we week one) but he will have some pretty substantial growing pains.  It is hard to look in the eyes of a long suffering Bills fan and say "be patient" but that is what you are going to need to be this season. 

What I like about the 2013 Bills.  

1) Team speed.  This group, especially on offense, is noticeably fast.  They will run a no huddle offense and in given moments this year they will overwhelm some defenses . But while the team color is blue, this group is green They are young at wide receiver and these guys will need some time to learn how to play against NFL defenses  CJ Spiller has a chance to be spectacular, but they have to do enough in the air to keep teams from filling up the box to stop him

2) Aggressive defense   The Stephon Gilmore loss is a killer, but I still believe this years defense will go down swinging. The vanilla of the past is gone. Mike Pettine will attack offenses with a series of blitzes  The corners, no matter how poorly they have played, will press coverages, forcing the opposition to beat them (and they will)  I think most fans would rather see a defense give up a score trying to make a play than sitting back and getting picked apart like they did in 2012

3) Marrone's mindset   He makes no excuses and will hold his players accountable  Sure wearing shirts and ties on the plane doesn't put a point on the scoreboard, but he won't allow them to play and act in a way that deters the entire team from the goals.  I see it on the sidelines already Players who make mistakes get chastised immediately The coaches are on them from the start    This will pay off in the long term

What I don't like about the 2013 Bills

1) They have all the depth of People Magazine:  While I said I like some of the talented young players, there are too many positions where the backups are just not NFL ready players. That is very true on defense, especially in the secondary.  I will not be surprised to see the Bills grab a veteran or two let go by another team   

2) Lack of defensive playmakers: They do not have a player on defense that scares the other team. The Bills drafted Marcel Dareus to be that guy They paid Mario Williams to be that guy.  Both players need to step up this year. They are spending a lot of money, especially on that defensive line and not getting the results. Their starting safety was that guy, which moves me to point 3

3)  The Jairus Byrd Situation:  I don't like it.  Byrd is obviously not happy The latest thing is his own second opinion on a foot injury  I have no reason to believe that he isn't hurting, but its a bit conspicuous that a guy who looked to have no interest in being on this team (despite a $7 million dollar salary) is now off the field.,   The Bills can't let a player whine his way out of town, but Marrone and Doug Whaley also can't let a player dictate to them. It might be time to make a trade and move on

I am excited about watching EJ Manuel develop and try to become the franchise guy they have been hopping for over the last decade. I am more convinced that Doug Marrone is the right type of man and coach to turn things around. It appears they had a pretty good draft (Kiko Alonso looks like a keeper) but they need a few more of those to really get better. Marrone can't do anything about the previous decade plus    But if he does things right, an Manuel develops, the next decade will be fun to watch.  A month ago I picked the Bills to go 6-10 and I am sticking with that  I just hope by the time this season is over Bills fans are excited about the future and the direction that this team is going

Mike Catalana


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