The first season for head coach Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix was a forgetable one in Buffalo. They took over a complete mess of a roster and ushered in a new era with a first round draft choice of RB C.J. Spiller. From that moment on, dark and difficult times awaited the Bills. Buffalo began the season 0-8. Draft bust Trent Edwards was released. Spiller’s impact never came about, with the Bills finishing 4-12 and of their four wins not one was against a team with a winning record. But as bad as things were, it wasn’t all 16 weeks of dark clouds and dreary days.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was a stabilizing figure at quarterback, throwing for 23 touchdowns and 3,000 yards. Steve Johnson emerged as 1,000-yard receiver and Kyle Williams established himself as the Bills’ best defensive threat along the line. Now the question remains, how do the Bills take the next step? They largely still have a roster void of top caliber talent and they’re still in a division with Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and the Super Bowl threatening New York Jets.
So we know the Bills will use the draft and free agency (whenever it happens) to continue to improve. Let’s take a look at what areas the Bills must address in order to make 2011 a success.
1. Defensive line. The run defense is brutal and that’s keeping if PG out there since we are a family environment here. Buffalo was the league’s worst-ranked run defense in 2010, allowing nearly 170 yards per game on the ground. Needless to say their transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense experienced plenty of growing pains. Kyle Williams turned in a Pro Bowl season and he’s bloomed into a tenacious threat on the defensive line. That’s the good news. Bad news is the Bills essentially have nothing else around him in the form of production. Buffalo is hoping to see increased development from Torrell Troup and Alex Carrington. Still, the Bills must find players capable of stopping the run and getting to opposing quarterbacks.
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