To preview the preseason week 2 matchup, I asked Fansided’s resident Bills expert some questions about his team. Brad Andrew of Buffalowdown took some time out to talk about the Bills’ potential, what changes they made in the off season, and the release of Aaron Maybin.
The Bills play in arguably the toughest division in football having to face the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins twice per season. Do you see this team who finished 4-12 last season competing in this division any time soon?
Well, that’s the question all us Bills have. I like Chan Gailey and like that the Bills are trying to build through the draft. Even better, the Bills appear to drafted fairly well the past two years. But it’s going to be an uphill battle. Realistically, Buffalo’s overall talent level is still well below that of at least the Jets and Pats. But if a lot of the young guys pan out and Ryan Fitzpatrick turns out to be a decent option at quarterback, being somewhat competitive is possible this season. Beating the Dolphins out for third place would be a good start in 2011. The playoffs might be more realistic in 2012.
The team waived 2009 11th overall draft pick Aaron Maybin earlier this week. Did the team give up on him too soon?
Oh God no. Maybin was USELESS. You won’t see him in the NFL again. He’s just not strong enough to play linebacker at the NFL level, and he just seems incapable of gaining weight or strength. Better to cut him loose now and not waste time and reps that could be used on guys with actual NFL potential.
What were key areas of concern the Bills addressed during the offseason?
Buffalo’s top three draft picks (DE Marcell Dareus, DB Aaron Williams, and LB Kelvin Sheppard) were all clearly made to shore up the league’s worst run defense. The team also signed former Green Bay LB Nick Barnett to help fill the void left by the departing Paul Posluszny. QB/WR/KR Brad Smith could give Buffalo the big play threat the team doesn’t currently really have. And although this was a move technically made last season, bringing in LB Shawne Merriman could be huge if he stays healthy. He had two sacks in the first preseason game, and hopes are high that he’s the dangerous pass-rusher the Bills desperately need.
Is there anything the team didn’t address that could come back to haunt them?
Unfortunately, the team for some reason didn’t bring any new faces to help fix a terrible offensive tackle situation. If left tackle Demetrius Bell (who’s not exactly an all-star himself) gets hurt, the Bills are screwed. Also, Buffalo might not have an NFL-caliber tight end. Not that the Bills really use a tight end anyway.
How much can we expect to see the starters play on Saturday?
Not sure yet, but I’d expect about a half from the first-string.
Obviously it’s meaningless, but what’s your prediction for the game?
Broncos 24-13. Buffalo’s second-string, especially on the offensive line, is not great. Having no depth means you don’t win many preseason games.
A big thank you to Brad for taking the time with us. Make sure to head over to Buffalowdown to check out my Q&A session that Brad did with me about the Broncos.