It seems like only yesterday that we were cheering Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals for putting the Buffalo Bills into the NFL playoffs for the first time since the last millennium. Then came the less than memorable game against Jacksonville and once again a long off-season of wondering what comes next.
The Bills management’s skillful maneuvering moved the team up in the pecking order of the college draft and wound up with quarterback Josh Allen as their first pick. There have been first round stars and first round busts. Who knows? At least, as the team prepares for its opening game against Baltimore, there are reasons to be hopeful about Allen, who will start the season with a Microsoft Surface in his hands. Backups don’t carry clipboards anymore.
I’ve never had much interest in pre-season games, but at least I no longer fork over a pile of money for the privilege of seeing one in person. In the rhythm of pre-season football, the professional observers suggest that the third of the four games is the one the teams use to really tune up for the regular season, with the projected starters playing the first half of the game. Accordingly I forced myself to watch the first half of the Bills third pre-season game, against our beloved Cincinnati Bengals.
It was painful to see. The Bills went scoreless in that half while the Bengals ran up 20 points. The offensive line’s play made me wonder if the team could bail out Richie Incognito from wherever he is spending his time these days, hire a full-time sitter/counselor for him, and get him back in uniform. The O-line is awful, and they are likely to get one or more quarterbacks and running backs hurt this season.
Josh Allen has a hell of an arm. His accuracy needs improvement, but maybe that will come as he and his receivers work out their timing. He moves well, which will come in handy this season.
Nathan Peterman seems to have overcome the shell-shock game against the Chargers last season where he threw five interceptions in the first half. He played well in pre-season, for what that is worth, making him the starter for the opening game.
The quarterbacks, unfortunately, lack quality receivers to throw to and LeSean McCoy can only carry the ball so many times in a game.
The regression of the defense makes you wonder if Rex and Rob Ryan somehow snuck into the Bills training camp to impart their defensive wisdom.
The team’s kickers are performing well, although they ended the preseason by deciding to go with a new punter. They will get a lot of time on the field this season.
The schedule of games the Bills have lined up is pretty intimidating. It seems quite conceivable that the team could be 0 for 5 after the first five games.
So my prediction for the 2018 Buffalo Bills is 5 wins, 11 losses. Here’s a little poll about the season. What’s your guess?
Bucky and Sully return
With the 2018 season looking like it is looking, objective analysis and insight into what is going on might be helpful for Bills fans. So, just in time for the opening kickoff, Jerry Sullivan and Bucky Gleason have reappeared to provide that insight.
You may not agree with all they write, but Sully and Bucky call it like it is. So if you are looking for some real perspective on the team and the league, check out the website that the guys are now writing for:
Trump and the NFL
Donald Trump, I think we can all pretty much agree, is pretty good at holding a grudge. One of the favorite targets of his ire is the National Football League.
He hasn’t always felt that way. He wanted to use the ill-fated United States Football League in the early 1980’s to find a back door way into NFL ownership. That didn’t work.
Then there was the direct attempt in 2014 to buy his way in with a bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills. He came up a few hundreds of millions short. Don’t you ever wonder if he would have run for president if he got into the NFL owners club?
So now that the new NFL season is about to begin, Trump is no doubt licking his chops at his opportunities to attack the league, and more particularly, certain players. Would he have done that if he were an owner? Who knows, but being president gives him a bully (and I mean bully!) pulpit to attack everyone who offends him.
So he will once again attack players who kneel or owners who don’t “get that son-of-a-bitch off the field” if they don’t follow Trump’s dictums. Will Mike Pence ever get to see an NFL game in person again?
I happen to believe in the First Amendment, and I respect the right of everyone, even Donald Trump, to express their beliefs and feelings. It would be nice if the NFL could return to being an entertainment venue rather than a political side-show.
But when Trump inevitably gets up on his high horse, remember the ways he has honored the flag like:
- In a fit of spite, putting the flag on top of the White House back at full staff a day and a half after American hero John McCain passed away.
- Flying the flag at his Mar-a-Lago resort at night, without illumination, a violation of proper flag etiquette.
- Coloring the American flag with red and blue stripes (which happen to be the colors of the Russian flag).
Judge him not by what he tweets and says, but by what he does.