Last week I wrote about the Bills and their decidedly positive national outlook for the upcoming 2012 season.
Analysts on the outside of Buffalo point to the injuries the Bills sustained last season (as did I in regards to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ribs), as the major reason why they tanked after week eight. And sure, losing guys like Fred Jackson, Donald Jones, and Kyle Williams definitely hurt. But anyone close to the situation in Orchard Park will tell you, injuries have been an issue in Buffalo every season in recent memory. Injuries are an issue for every NFL team. It’s part of the game.
The problem in Buffalo hasn’t been the injuries. It’s the fact that they haven’t had players who were capable of stepping in and producing when those first string guys went down. I understand that C.J. Spiller filled in for Jackson and played well through the second half last year. But does that really matter if the team goes 1-8?
There in lies the essence of the optimism surrounding Buffalo this summer. It’s the depth. As Tim Graham of the Buffalo News points out, Chan Gailey beamed about the depth he has on his roster now compared to when he arrived in Buffalo two years ago, and he has been throughout the offseason. It’s something he and GM Buddy Nix have been conscious of in their efforts to strategically re-build the franchise from the ground up, so they don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen if and when their #1’s go down.
Where this depth is really going to show up, even before guys get hurt, is on special teams. As Graham notes, the Bills have made a transition under Gailey away from the specialist who can only do one thing on the football field, and towards the guy who is a football player first and specialist second. That is, their roster is filled with athletic players who can adequately fill multiple roles on the field, which equates to a dramatic increase in the team’s situational and overall depth.
A recent graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, earning his Masters in public relations, Michael Tremiti is a communications intern for RotoExperts and contributing writer for TheXLog.com. Growing up in Syracuse, Mike is a lifelong die-hard fan of the Syracuse Orange and Buffalo Bills. You can contact Mike directly @ [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @@Miketremiti15.