Bison Soup? Yep, something for everyone tossed in a pot… it simmers and ends up tasting good for some people, and bitter for others; depending on how you look at that “glass of water”. Something for everyone; the optimists, the pessimists, the realists, and the delusional.
Depending on your personal paradigm, there was something for each type of fan to reinforce their point of view. That’s what “soup” is… something thrown together for everyone’s taste:
Kyle Williams. Holy Meatball! Make no mistake, this defensive line is all about Kyle Williams staying on the field. The drop off to Dwan Edwards with all due respect is a Grand Canyon kind of cliff. Kyle is the heart and soul of this DL, not Mario… who essentially admitted as much. When Kyle is in the game, the whole is SO much more than the sum of its parts. He is a one man wrecking crew who can perform at super-human levels for a man of his size. But he is so much more than a physical freak. His passion is palpable when he is on the field. He energizes everyone around him, and his “aura” absolutely steamrolls through the entire defense. No need to elaborate; anyone who disputes this belongs in the “delusional” category.
Tasker said it, and I can’t dispute it… in the 4-3 defensive scheme, this is the BEST DL the Bills have ever placed on the field. If they stay healthy, this DL will rip teams to shreds, but the man who makes this defense run is #95. He doesn’t need to say a word. He inspires everyone around him by his actions on the field. I’m already having dreams of Kyle pancaking Brady into submission, or at the very least disrupting his play so that Dareus and/or Mario will finish him off. Which company’s commercial uses the phrase “relentless pursuit of perfection”? That would be the perfect phrase to describe Kyle Williams. He is Exhibit A of why drafting is an art and not a science. To think that he was drafted in the fifth round when John McCargo was the Bills first pick in 2006 still astounds me.
Fred Jackson. Against a very good defense, he showed why he deserved the new contract at his “advanced age” (shame on those who criticized the Bills for paying up for a “31 year old RB”). This guy is the offensive equivalent of Kyle. The offense is just plain better when he is on the field. Nuff said.
Who is the player that most exemplifies “disaster insurance” for this team? IMO right now that award goes to Kirk Morrison. If Shepp can’t step it up in terms of consistency and contribution, look to see Morrison inserted in the starting lineup. Would not be surprised at all to see him play some MLB in the final preseason game. Kirk is our disaster plan @ MLB… and that is a good thing!
Though Fitz fell into some bad habits in terms of mechanics (need to DVR and watch him in slo-mo), but I felt he played a much crisper game overall, and you see the difference in his effectiveness when he is able to “game plan”. Sure the pessimists can list a bunch of concerns about him, and I probably won’t dispute many of them. However, I saw what I was looking for from Fitz last night; a more focused QB who got the ball out better for the most part despite being harassed by the squeeler blitzes continuously when it was apparent that the Bills were dominating the stats in the early part of the game. Long way to go, but I don’t think he is as bad as his detractors believe, nor as good as others think. I’m a bit more optimistic that he will contribute more positives than negatives to this team’s success or failure this season.
Donald Jones is becoming a much more complete player. His knocking the ball down when it got batted was a great move, and his blocking has improved. He remains the “unknown”, but I’m confident that he can get past his problems from last season and may well prove to be a upside surprise that many fans are sleeping on right now.
Naaman Roosevelt. If the Bills keep Ruvell Martin OR Marcus Easley at the expense of cutting Rosy… mark my words here… they will rue the day they make that error. I am literally having nightmares that BellyBoy will pick up Rosy (esp if the Welker rumor to Indy pans out). Tom Brady will turn Naaman Roosevelt into Sammy Morris 2.0 for the Bills. PLEASE do not make that same mistake again, esp. because I really do BILLieve it will come back to bite this team right in the butt, and deservedly so if they cut him.
Not sure how to evaluate this because the quality of refs is so disparate from one game to the next, but it did seem as if the Bills did improve on the number of stupid hankies being thrown at them, esp in the false start dept.
ST. Oh my… we need to change the name of our ST coach to Bruce DeHEAVEN. He’s got them looking better than we’ve seen a ST team play in years.
And Brian Moorman? LOL… he’s punting the ball right up the butt of anyone who dares to diss him. Looks like whatever was bothering his back seems to have been rectified and then some. ST could really end up being a difference between winning and losing a couple of games this season.
Leodis! Leodis has found his home in the nickel. The good thing about that is that it has seemed to buoy him mentally where it has also spilled over to his effectiveness on ST. He’s playing like he’s in a contract year. Let’s hope he can keep it up!
Plenty in this game for the pessimists to seize upon. Cue the “preseason games matter” folks who can go on about the score. Cue the anti-Fitz brigade for the number of batted passes Fitz seems to have in each game in the preseason, how many times he threw off his back foot, blah, blah, blah.
The offensive line play IMO is a legitimate beef the pessimists can seize upon with vigor. They are obviously still a work in progress, and my initial eyeball review of the game is in agreement with Chan that pass protection needs work. Fitz is no Rothlisberger as far as being able to take a ONE STEP drop and throw a perfect pass. Andy Levitre is right about needing this group to develop a sense of urgency about the level of their play. Waaaaay too inconsistent, and if they let Fitz get harassed and hurried as much as he was last night, he will get injured and then all bets are off as far as this offense ever being effective this season.
Vince Young. Even the most ardent VY fans have NOTHING they can claim about his play last night that inspires any confidence that he can step in and be as effective as he needs to be should Fitz go down. The pessimists definitely have a legitimate argument that this season rides on the need for Fitz to stay healthy all season (and up his level of play for an entire season). The drop off from QB1 to QB2 is larger on this Bills squad than what is needed for a playoff contender IMO.
MLB is a big Qmark at this point. Pessimists have a legit beef here… Shepp needs to play with a LOT more decisiveness and precision. He looks lost at times, and needs to be able to react quicker, and lacks that “intuitive” part of his game right now. He’s not inspiring a lot of confidence that he is going to take his game to the next level, yet. It’s early… but the pessimists do have the edge right now regarding the MLB position until proven otherwise.
Pessimists can leap all over McGee all they want, but after his initial flub, he showed why he still may have an important role to play on this team. Cue in the “we should have kept Drayton Florence” crowd. I expect it, and frankly can’t argue the point successfully at the moment. However, I’m willing to give Terence a little more time to get reintroduced to the game after a long and ongoing rehab.
Spiller and fumbles. If CJ is truly going to have a breakout year, he has GOT to control the critical mistakes. Didn’t he have a virtual fumble free college career? Looks like he’s making up for it as a pro. He cannot afford to make these gaffes that shake up the team so badly they lose their focus.
The mental fragility factor that Chan mentioned. Pessimists… here’s some real fodder for you to seize upon. The defense in that last drive of the first half just completely mentally cratered. It revealed the most significant vulnerability on this team IMO. This team is mentally fragile because of a combination of factors; youth, a decade of despair, and at present they lack the ability to shed the mistakes and move on. Their ability to concentrate and be completely focused every down, every play is going to bite them in the butt if they don’t pull their collective heads out of their butts mentally.
Coaches like BellyBoy and even Rex Ryan are salivating at how they will be able to have their way with the Bills. All you have to do is fluster this team, and right now they will roll over and die. Chan got that one right in his post game conference in terms of priority of concern. You cannot field a successful team that will crater the minute something goes wrong. They HAVE to learn to BILLieve in themselves and be able to fight through the mistakes, not cave into them.
My favorite group, and one I consider myself to be a member, so my remarks here are likely to be less caustic
This team remains a work in progress. They look to be vastly improved on the DL, but consistency on BOTH lines remains a major concern.
Fitz is neither the Savior nor the Demon that the extremists believe. I doubt he will ever be a GREAT QB, but if the defense can play well enough, he and the offense won’t need to produce at extraordinary high levels. However, they will need to be able to score a lot more points than they are currently displaying.
The realist in me is going to take a mulligan on this offense in the preseason because of the lack of game planning, etc… but the offensive part of this team remains BY FAR my greatest concern.
Vince Young is not going to replace Fitz as the starting QB anytime soon. He needs a big dose of Kyle Williams in him to make any real transformation. He appears mentally weak, dispassionate at times, and craters at the drop of a hat. When the keys get handed to you for QB2 and it becomes your job to lose, you cannot come out and throw a pick on your first pass. He is the kind of player who frustrates me the most, because he has so much God given physical ability but the mental aspect of his game is his biggest hurdle.
This Bills team will go only as far as QB1 will take them. As mentioned before, the dropoff from QB1 to QB2 is too great for this team to feel safe that they can remain competitive if QB1 goes down. Byron Leftwich made that very apparent last night.
The Bills will need to make drafting a QB for the future a priority in the next draft, along with MLB and WR.
The replacement refs still concern me enough to worry that they may cost the Bills a game or two with bad calls. However, in fairness… last night’s crew at least seemed to get the reviews right and stayed out of the way of the flow of the game.
This one is simple, short and easy:
Anyone who thinks that Vince Young is ready to step in and take over as QB1 anytime soon. Nuff said.
This remains a team that I’m more excited about than any team the Bills have fielded since 2002. There’s a lot to be optimistic about, some food for the pessimists, a lot of evidence for the realists to chew on, and not much for the delusional fans to defend themselves.
GO BILLS. I’m ready for the regular season!