Five Buffalo Bills Players That Need To Step Up
Ralph Wilson Stadium
The Buffalo Bills are 2-3 so far this year; to say the least, many fans in Western New York are extremely annoyed at this start. I think part of the annoyance is the fact that every game this year has been more than a double-digit outcome, regardless of whether it was a win or a loss for the Bills.
In their two wins, the Bills outscored their opponents 59-31; however, in their three losses, they were outscored 145-59. That is abysmal in my not-so-humble opinion. I do not know if it is the players or if it is the coaching staff, or a combination of both; it may also be something else entirely.
Fans want a winning product regardless of level and sport, and in the last 12 years, there has not been much to celebrate in Buffalo since the end of the 20th century. Sure, 2004 was a nice tease, but we -- the fans -- want results, especially with so much money spent on apparent talent. This year alone the Buffalo Bills spent $119.5 million to shore up their defensive end position.
In my mind, there are five players on both sides of the ball that need to step it up or they will soon be off the roster.
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No. 1 Mario Williams
No. 1 Mario Williams aka The 100 Million Dollar Man
Williams was the whale the Bills somehow landed, despite how the media seemingly always mentions the legendary frugal spending by longtime owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. He was the first overall draft pick in 2006 by the Houston Texans and seemed to be a terror to opposing offenses.
So far this season, Williams has only recorded one and a half sacks, one fumble recovery, and one pass deflection despite his massive 6-foot-6, 292-pound frame. Tomorrow, he will be playing against a weak offensive line, so I can only hope he gets some kind of pressure on the quarterback, and if he doesn’t record at least two sacks, criticism from Bills fans will only multiply.
No. 2 Ryan Fitzpatrick
No. 2 Ryan Fitzpatrick aka The Amish Rifle
In the two games Fitzpatrick has won, he has looked nearly great, turning the ball over only once. With the good, there is the bad; in the three losses, he has thrown eight interceptions. Regardless of the outcomes of the first five games, his mechanics have looked way off as he seldom throws to a receiver’s back shoulder or hits them in stride, which would create more yards gained; it also would preserve the health of the receiving corps.
No. 3 Stevie Johnson
No. 3 Stevie Johnson aka “Mr. Why so serious?"
In five games so far, Johnson has had 21 catches for a combined 234 yards and three touchdowns. This is lackluster by his standards, especially since he became the first Bills wide receiver in franchise history to amass 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons. If he keeps up his current pace, he will finish the season with 749 receiving yards on 67 receptions. However, I do not think a lot of this is his fault. I think I blame the person more so on the previous slide.
No. 4 Stephon Gilmore
No. 4 Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore's draft stock soared like a meteor in the final two weeks before this year’s draft and subsequently, the Bills took him. Granted it was a position of need, I thought there were other ways the team could have gone, but I did not totally hate the pick of Gilmore. He is a bigger corner at 6’ 0” 190 lbs.; however, he has been routinely torched by receivers in every single game. I will let this slide for now as it is only his sixth game in the league, but this has to improve sooner rather than later.
No. 5 Chris Hairston
No. 5 Chris Hairston
Due to the fact that Hairston is filling in for Cordy Glenn, one of the best offensive line prospects from the 2012 NFL Draft, this one will contain my softest comments. Glenn was looking like the steal of the draft as he started right away and was looking fantastic until his ankle injury. Hairston was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and looked solid in replacement duty; I just expect him to do similar things. I am only calling him out since the left tackle position is so highly coveted due to protecting the quarterback’s blind side and Fitzpatrick needs all the protection he can get.