Hope and concern: Buffalo Bills

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
10:00
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The Buffalo Bills wrapped up one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Buffalo, which entered 2012 with playoff aspiration, finished 6-10. Head coach Chan Gailey was fired on Monday, as a result.

But it's time to look forward in Buffalo. Here are reasons to be hopeful and concerned about the Bills this offseason.

Reason to be hopeful: A new beginning

The Bills have a new stadium lease, a new president in Russ Brandon and will soon have a new head coach. The Bills appear to be getting stronger as an organization in 2013. The decision at head coach will be huge. But whoever the new coach is, he cannot be worse than Gailey was this year. If the new coach can improve an anemic defense and simply hand the ball to dynamic tailback C.J. Spiller enough, that would be an upgrade. The Bills have talent at various positions to succeed. They just need the right coach to maximize it.

Reason to be concerned: Uncertain quarterback

Who is Buffalo’s quarterback in 2012? Not even the Bills know. What we do know is Buffalo cannot win with Ryan Fitzpatrick. He is too inconsistent and is 23-40 as a starter. The Bills owe Fitzpatrick a total of $7.75 million in 2013, but none of it is guaranteed. Buffalo can cut Fitzpatrick before his $3 million roster bonus is due in March. But that leaves a huge void at the most important position. The Bills could explore the free-agent market for a quarterback like Alex Smith. Or Buffalo can look to the draft for a rookie. But this year's quarterback class is not nearly as strong as last year.

For more, check out our "Hope and Concern" series this week on the Dolphins and the Jets.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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