Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Hope and Concern: Buffalo Bills
By James Walker
The AFC East blog continues its "Hope and Concern" series this week in the division.
Let's take a look at the Buffalo Bills, who finished 6-10 last season:
Biggest reason for hope: Young talent
Buffalo’s roster is filled with young talent. Most of the Bills’ best players are 26 or younger. That group includes dynamic tailback C.J. Spiller, Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore, No. 1 receiver Steve Johnson, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, left tackle Cordy Glenn, rookie quarterback EJ Manuel and rookie receiver Robert Woods. This is a young nucleus that should be able to grow together in the next few seasons. Last year, Buffalo proved to be a team unable to make the jump despite high expectations. There are no lofty expectations put on the Bills this year. The lack of pressure could work in favor of these young players who are still learning how to win at the NFL level.
Biggest reason for concern: Quarterback
It’s the same old story for the Bills: Does this team have a franchise quarterback? The search continues in 2013 as Buffalo brought in veteran Kevin Kolb in free agency and drafted EJ Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick. The Bills hope their long-term and short-term answers are with these two players. Veteran journeyman Tarvaris Jackson also is in the mix. Kolb has been a bust in two previous stops with the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills hope that he could be a stopgap option for this season while Manuel learns the NFL game. Manuel was a controversial pick in the first round. He has a lot of good tools to work, but needs to be coached up at the NFL level and taught how to put it all together. If the Bills can answer their quarterback quandary, that would go a long way to making the team competitive this upcoming season.