With free agency in the NFL in full swing this past week, the Buffalo Bills have made a few key moves, notably shoring up a defense that has notoriously been bad against the run and making inroads in obtaining a second wide receiver. However, two key moves have yet to be made.
With the impending loss of J.P. Losman (hopefully to occur in a draft-day trade for a first-day pick), the Bills will need an experienced quarterback to back up Trent Edwards.
Finding the right person for the job will be tricky, as he will have to be an experienced quarterback who should have no delusions about competing for a starting job.
For example, while I felt bad that we were cutting and resigning backup QB Craig Nall on a monthly basis, he couldn’t provide Edwards or Losman with much leadership experience and could potentially be in a better situation than an emergency third-string quarterback. Instead, an established veteran in the twilight of his career would do well by picking up a respectable paycheck as mentor to Edwards, much like how the perennial class act Anthony Thomas helped out Willis McGahee and Marshawn Lynch. Players like Mark Brunell and Gus Frerotte would do well to consider this option.
Another important pickup would be a stud tight end. Players like Kellen Winslow Jr. and Dallas Clark have revitalized the position and reestablished its relevancy in the modern offense. While current TE Robert Royal is a decent target, he should at least be given some competition during training camp, seeing how his counterpart Michael Gaines is off to the Carolina Panthers. Players such as Ben Utecht and Ben Troupe (the latter of which has already met with the team) could fit this position.
While big names come in, Buffalo will be experiencing a big loss with a hit to its special teams corps. At the time this article was written, the Bills just lost one important ST contributor in Sam Aiken.
While he isn’t the biggest loss individually, there is serious discussion that the Bills also might part with other special teamers like Ryan Neufeld, Josh Stamer and Mario Haggan before the free agent signing period is finished and weaken the unit. Though getting over them will be a little easier on Buffalonians than the loss of Sabres Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, their mark on the team won’t easily be forgotten.
Special teams is the reason that a team could have one of the league’s worst offenses and defenses and still could go 7-9. With the uncanny amount of injuries we experienced last year with nearly a dozen going on the injured reserve, special teams coach Bobby April has been used to turnover in his unit. Indeed, a reason why the Bills could play through all these injuries speaks to the dedication of the backups who populate this proletarian third phase of the game. Nevertheless, though losing a cadre of special teamers might not directly affect the scoreboard, these athletes brought enthusiasm and dedication to the quintessential blue-collar position to the quintessential blue-collar city.
Scott is a member of the class of 2008.