Off-seasons can be difficult if you run a blog about a pro football team, because even when said team is practicing in the spring, those practices are in shorts, don't include pads and provide very little of substance. Said blog runner i...
Off-seasons can be difficult if you run a blog about a pro football team, because even when said team is practicing in the spring, those practices are in shorts, don't include pads and provide very little of substance. Said blog runner is therefore left without much in the way of substantive posting ideas, which is why I have to thank the multitude of Buffalo Bills fans and loyal blog readers that submitted questions for this week's mailbag post. Keep them coming, please. (Seriously: pretty please?)
Brian, can you talk about some of the players that might not be snug fits for the Mike Pettine defense, either this year or in the future? - Richard
Two players immediately came to mind, and for very different reasons: Leodis McKelvin and Kyle Williams.
McKelvin's is based on performance, obviously; five years into his pro playing career, it's hard to imagine him ever bucking the inconsistent label he's earned since 2008. There's a ton riding on McKelvin this year; he's a lock to start at this point, and considering that he was the team's fifth cornerback at times over the last two seasons, that is frankly terrifying. I also don't think of him as a particularly versatile player; he was abysmal in the slot in 2012, and I think he'd be physically overmatched as a safety, too. Pettine's defense is man-coverage reliant, so that might help McKelvin adjust as an outside, starting corner this year.
I only bring up Williams because of Pettine's system. Williams, to my eye, is the Bills' best defensive lineman by a significant margin. He has to be on the field a lot in 2012 if the team is going to reverse their fortunes on defense and, dare we dream, compete for a playoff spot. In the bigger picture, though, Williams is the least versatile of the team's prominent linemen - he's a one-gap penetrator from a handful of different techniques, but struggles to play two gaps head-up on a blocker because of his smallish stature - and his value may decrease quickly for the organization, particularly if younger defensive linemen reach their potential.
Hey Brian, I was wondering if you could do an article on an updated roster projection of the 53 man team? - The Sweeglings
Sure, why not? I'll do about 30 more of these anyway; one of them is bound to be right. (Right?)
Chris Gragg *
Robert Woods *
Marquise Goodwin *
Da'Rick Rogers *
E.J. Manuel *
Jonathan Meeks *
Duke Williams *
Nickell Robey *
Dustin Hopkins *
Do you think the time has come where we will see a return of prominence for the fullback position in Buffalo? - Matthew
It would not necessarily surprise me, but I sincerely doubt it. Put another way: if the Bills do use the fullback more frequently in 2013, I would anticipate that being a short-lived development. Much like a hybrid defense, offenses are trending toward trying to find personnel that can line up in multiple positions to create matchup disadvantages. You'll note that New England, for example, can line their tight ends up pretty much anywhere they want, and