THUNDERING BLURB » Buffalo Bills http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow & Jim Kelly: 2010 NFL Draft Smoke http://thunderingblurb.com/2010/03/sam-bradford-tim-tebow-jim-kelly-2010-nfl-draft-smoke/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2010/03/sam-bradford-tim-tebow-jim-kelly-2010-nfl-draft-smoke/#comments Tue, 30 Mar 2010 02:42:48 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=1080 Today none other than long-time NFL writer Gil Brandt opined that Sam Bradford’s Pro Day Workout had left people speechless and was the greatest workout since Troy Aikman.

Meanwhile news leaked that legendary Bills quarterback Jim Kelly had been involved in a dinner the team had with Florida quarterback-turned-Draft-lightning-rod Tim Tebow. According to Kelly (or rather his wife’s Twitter-feed) the former quarterback came away impressed.

Of course what this has led to in both cases is intense media speculation about everything as to when they will be drafted to whether they (in Bradford’s case) will sign before the draft.

Days like this remind me of the old saying: Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

Let’s think about what we really heard today – not the hype, not the crazy salivating. What was actually said.

Bradford had a good Pro Day - but best ever?

In Bradford’s case, he had an outstanding Pro Day, no doubt about it.

Keep in mind though—the guy threw a ton of passes, yes, but scripted and with absolutely no pressure on him. He didn’t take a hit, didn’t have to get back off the turf after a big hit to his shoulder.

Now, I’m not going to downplay the work he did to get his shoulder right. He is showing no weakness in the shoulder and that assuages my one big concern for him.

I don’t worry much about durability—the guy chose to try and let his shoulder heal on it’s own via rehab and when he come back, it was clear that wasn’t enough.

So throwing the way he did is a big deal. But he didn’t show that much more than we expected did he? Did we see something never seen before? I’ve been to a bunch of Pro Days, including a rather impressive one Mark Sanchez had at USC last year.

Hell John David Booty had an impressive Pro Day.

I’m hear to tell you it’d be more of a shock if he had a bad day.

So what did we learn? We learned his arm is fine, his accuracy is just as advertised and he can throw a deep ball when not under pressure.

Aside from that? Hype. Keep some perspective—locked in 1st pick? Maybe. Hall of Fame? Maybe later…

As a side note, we’re a month out and while we’re all assuming Bradford is the top pick, suddenly reports say he’s not going to sign his not-yet-offered contract.

So…. we’ve got the World’s Greatest Pro Day and a Qb who is rumored in some vague way to not be sure he’ll sign a contract that doesn’t exist yet.

Huh?

Our other Over-Reaction Moment for Monday involved Tim Tebow. Shocking, I know.

I would dearly love to spend a day with this guy if just to see what he’s really

With Tebow it's hard to seperate truth from hype.

like.

Because who can tell with the smoke and mirrors around him? I have to wonder how much he buys into what is said about him. He seems very grounded, but how the heck would I know? How could anyone outside of those who take him to dinner or interview him in a dark room at their team facilities?

Speaking of dinner, the Bills had Tebow over for dinner this weekend and rumors ran rampant on the internet about how impressed Kelly was with him.

What did the staff think? Hard to say since everyone was busy reading into Kelly’s reaction which actually wasn’t even his so much as his wife’s reaction to his reaction.

Head hurt? It should. All the discussion about the Bills came about mostly because of one person’s excitement about another person’s excitement.

Am I saying Tebow isn’t going to the Bills or that Jim Kelly didn’t fall in love with him after dinner? No. What I am saying is that it shouldn’t really be this much news when a) a team meets with a top prospect or b) someone comes away with a dinner with Tebow and says he’s a class act.

REALLY? TEBOW IS A GOOD CITIZEN?

This is the part of the year where teams start some real gamesmanship. I’m sure the Bills are thinking a bit about Tebow. But how much? Hard to say and anyone who swears they know the level better be working for the team.

But we’re watching high-stakes poker. Teams are all trying to see how soon they have to go ‘all in’ to get what they want.

Someone will blink on Tebow. They’ll see—or rather think they see—another team ahead of them in the next round start to move and they’ll leap forward, push their chips in and hope to good they don’t get river’d.

I have my concerns about Tebow, but there is enough buzz around him to where people are intrigued. It does feel a bit like Tebow is a strong possibility for the Bills, and I think they may strongly consider him with their second round pick.

Though some of that just feels like it’s what they want me to feel.

Like so many things, we’re being manipulated early and often.

So next time you see that blurb about Jacksonville feeding Tebow or Player A having ‘the greatest Pro Day recorded in human history since we started recording history’, make sure you read a little closer and think a little longer.

And try not to step in the hype.

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Quarterback Blurb Breakdown: Trent Edwards http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-trent-edwards/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-trent-edwards/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2009 15:22:43 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=524 Trent Edwards has new weapons to throw to - but will the offensive line hold up?

Trent Edwards has new weapons to throw to - but will the offensive line hold up?

Trent Edwards finds himself in a classic ‘put up or shut up’ situation this year.

The Bills went out and made some noise by signing Terrell Owens to a single year contract, giving fellow wide receiver Lee Evans someone who will draw coverage off of him and Edwards a second legitimate target.

Of course, the danger with T.O. is well known – calling him ‘QB-Killer’ wouldn’t be out of line. Still, he’s usually good for at least one season of production before an implosion and the Bills were wise in giving him just a year contract.

Plus, if you look at his history quarterbacks tend to do pretty well with him – at least the first year.

So Edwards could be in line for a nice bump in production.

On the downside, Edwards is losing Marshawn Lynch for three games. Fred Jackson looked very good last year and the team brought in Dominic Rhodes, so one hopes the run game won’t stumble too badly to open the season.

Rhodes hasn’t been spectacular the last few seasons and we only have part of a season to go on in terms of gauging Jackson’s production though, so it is a bit of an unknown factor.

More concerning is the offensive line.  There is a lot of disagreement as to how good a Left Tackle Jason Peters was, but the fact is, even a decent LT is at a premium and now Buffalo has three new guys filling in across the line.

It will be a worry up until the point we actually see them play and maybe even beyond. The AFC East will test them early and often and the defenses there will not be forgiving if the line shows itself to be weak.

Edwards himself could use the time a good offensive line would grant him. The longer he has, the better the chance he won’t check-down early and might throw the ball further down-field. Some of that is play-calling, but some of that is Edwards and if he’s going to take advantage of his new toys, he has to take a few more chances.

You know darn well T.O. will voice his displeasure if Edwards doesn’t throw to him, and if things start slow that’s going to be a concern.

So far in his career, Edwards hasn’t been a great Fantasy quarterback. He doesn’t throw for a ton of touchdowns (21 in 24 games, three of which were rushing scores) but let’s be honest here – Lee Evans can only do so much with every defensive back hanging onto his shoelaces while James Hardy, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish flounder around the field. T.O. can make a huge difference.

I want to see what happens in Training Camp. How will he click with his new weapon? Can the offensive line gel? Will the run game miss any beat?

If some of these questions are answered in Training Camp, Edwards could go from a decent backup to something much more.

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Running Back Camp Battles to Watch Part 1 http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-camp-battles-to-watch-part-1/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-camp-battles-to-watch-part-1/#comments Sat, 13 Jun 2009 14:28:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=438 While OTA’s are winding/have wound down, the NFL does not sleep. While the players get what passes for a vacation, media does not, especially since Brett Favre can’t make up his damned mind.

In perfect universal symmetry, neither can the Vikings. Marriage made in heaven or hell? We’ll find out soon enough.

In order to get you prepped for tons of footbally goodness at the end of July, I’ve decided to break down some of the more interesting running back battles to watch in July and August.

This is what happens when you drive cross country folks. You fill time.

This is also not to say that there won’t be battles we don’t see as important now, emerging down the pike as intriguing. But for now, these are ones that stand out as important immediately.

Without further ado (or more ado than usual at least) here are the Training Camp Battles to Watch: Running Backs.

Carolina: There is a ton of assumption going on here after DeAngelo Williams went off in 2008. We know John Fox loves to hang with his long term vets and you have to figure Williams earned some consideration. Still, Jonathan Stewart was able to score 10 TDs even with Williams numbers, so Fox is willing to work him in. Where this gets interesting is behind Stewart with Mike Goodson.

Stewart has been hurt during Mini’s and OTA’s and Goodson is a guy the team wants involved. Why does this matter? Because if Goodson gets a shot to shine and does so, this could become a three headed monster which might be great for Panther fans, though hurt the overall numbers of all three guys. Carolina runs a ton (504 pass attempts versus 414 passing according to footballguys.com) so there could be work for all, but that might be offset a tad by three running backs.

Baltimore: Will last year’s Thundering Blurb Mr. Glass Award Winner (TM) Willis McGahee, ever be healthy? My guess is no, sure as heck not coming off of two off-season surgeries. Both his knee (the one that has been hurt since…. um…. 1942?) and his ankle went under the knife. Stick a fork in him (or a scalpel), the man is DONE. The Ravens may not agree and we’ll get a sense of that in Training Camp. That could mean the start of the Ray Rice Ruckus (also (TM)).

Rice showed some skills last season when he was healthy and should get a ton of the carries. He won’t do it alone, however and whether the teams sticks with rookie Cedric Peerman, moves Le’Ron McClain back from fullback (where he went during OTA’s) or adds some work for Jalen Parmele. How the backs behind Rice shake out could impact his numbers very sigificantly.

Buffalo: With Marshawn Lynch suspended the first few games of the season, Fred Jackson will get his time to shine again. Jackson looked great in limited (sometimes not-so-limited) action last season. But the Bills acquired journeyman Dominic Rhodes this offseason to protect themselves and he’ll duke it out for lead bell cow while ‘Dis Muh Son’ Lynch is in Goodell’s pokey.

This battle, mostly between Jackson and Rhodes is critical because whomever wins the top spot might not relinquish it when Lynch comes back and could factor in with what the Bills do with the troubled back long term if he can’t get his head straight.

Cincinnati: I know the Bengals think they have some sort of hidden gem in Cedric Benson, and I’m happy for them but remain unconvinced. Benson did well behind a tragic offensive line, which will not be the case if rookie Andre Smith can get his act together. But I can’t help but recall all the problems Benson had in Chicago, so I am not annointing him anything and neither should Cinci. Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott are both good short yardage backs who can catch the ball and could make some noise.

Scott will have to overcome some maturity issues and they will both have to shine in camp to wrest carries away from Benson. That’s completely possible in my opinion so I will be interested to watch this camp closely.

Denver: There are three sure things in football right now – Brett Favre will be considering and waffling about a comeback in the spring and early summer, the Raiders will make decisions based on logic only they can comprehend and the Broncos running back situation will be a cloudy mess.

But have we lost one of those sure things? Surprising everyone in this April’s Draft, the Donks took Knowshon Moreno, the talented back from Georgia and the interwubs is all a-twitter (or all twittering) about Moreno carrying the whole load.

For sure, he can do it all – block, run, catch. But will Head Coach Josh McDaniels truly rely on one back? His former team, the Patriots, didn’t. Of course, you can argue they lacked a back like Moreno.

All I know is Moreno has the ability to do it. But with recent additions Correll Buckhalter, Lamont Jordan and Darius Walker, along with impressive 2008 rookie Peyton Hillis, this is a camp battle you have to watch. Considering they no longer have Jay Cutler slinging the ball, the run game is of paramount importance this year.

Indianapolis: It wasn’t that long ago that Joseph Addai was the answer in Colt-land at running back. A few injury-plagued seasons later, Donald Brown is drafted and Addai is poised to lose most of his carries.

Brown can do pretty much everything Addai can do, and might have the size to stay healthy as well. Most analysts feel it is only a matter of time before Brown takes over the higher percentage of carries in this obvious running-back-by-committee.

What I want to know is, what percentage does he start the season off with? A good camp by Brown could give him a large role in this prolific offense.

That’s it for today’s installment. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at some more teams, including who might be backing up MJD in Jacksonville, what Philadelphia is looking at if Westbrook stays hurt and who will be the top dog in the mess that is the Seahawks’ run game.

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Just when you thought it was safe to be a Bills fan- Terrell Owens is your guy! http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/just-when-you-thought-it-was-safe-to-be-a-bills-fan-terrell-owens-is-your-guy/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/just-when-you-thought-it-was-safe-to-be-a-bills-fan-terrell-owens-is-your-guy/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2009 00:51:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=414 According to NFL.com, the Buffalo Bills agreed to terms with Terrell Owens on a one-year, $6.5 million contract.

OK, so this one is a little out of left field and is terribly, terribly risky.

Owens has lost a step, no doubt but is still very effective, very often. He can still make big plays even if he also makes some big drops.

His affect on the Bills will be immediate.

We all know the TO flipside of that great talent and this is not a team that is currently trouble free. Given Owen’s history the Bills could be opening themselves up to some problems.

For example, Marshawn Lynch has made some awful decisions off the field the last couple of years and you have to wonder if Owens in a locker room is going to make that worse.

OK, so Pacman didn’t immolate his career because Owens was there. Fine. But TO wasn’t exactly playing nice with top target Jason Witten. Will he really play second fiddle Lee Evans? Is he capable of being a giving teammate who isn’t the focus of the offense?

And let’s not forget the list of shattered quarterback relationships in his wake. Three for three, right? Garcia, McNabb and Romo? And no he gets Edwards who has more than once faced questions in Buffalo about whether he is the right guy for the job?

Is this a recipe for success or meltdown?

In a vacuum, on paper, at first glance – this looks like it’s an upgrade for the Bills. As I said at the start, they have been desperate for a weapon to compliment Lee Evans.

Maybe it’s unfair to judge TO’s behavior before he actually puts on a jersey. Maybe this divorce with Dallas will turn him around.

And to be brutal, he usually becomes a problem after a year or so, so this one year contract should get Buffalo in and out before he annihilates the team chemistry and locker room.

But like a former leader of the free world said: ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I won’t get fooled again.’.

Or putting it like TO once did: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck…..

But the upside here for the Bills could be huge.

Finally, Lee Evans gets the weapon he desperately needs across from him. Let’s face is – James Hardy wasn’t cutting it. Until he figures out how to use his big frame to muscle the ball away from the secondary, he’s not going to be a big enough factor to affect the coverage on Evans. I DO have a lot of hope and expectation for Steve Johnson to emerge down the road, but they need help now. Owens will distract the secondary and we could be in for some epic production for Evans who started off so hot last year only to fall by the wayside when secondaries adjusted to his work.

Trent Edwards finally has another weapon and as I just mentioned, it will make his other main pass target more effective. That’s a plus too.

And as the passing game becomes more of a threat, it should open lanes up for the run game and Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. That’s already a pretty effective tandem carrying the rock. How about when they don’t find the secondary at the second level because they were burned a few times by the new Owens-Evans tandem?

Assuming Head Coach Dick Jauron uses them effectively, this could be a very dangerous offense.

This is a risky move for Buffalo. It’s got a huge risk factor in it. But if it pays off, the Bills could be a sustained threat in the AFC East this year, perhaps not fading offensively once the opposition adjusts to their offense.

Would I do it? Would I want my beloved Jets to do it? No, I don’t think so.

But it’s a gamble I respect and the kind of move that sometimes pays huge dividends.

Then again, it might also be the type of move a very desperate franchise might do as well, and the sort that could burn a team to the ground as well.

Should be fun to watch though.

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More Trouble With Marshawn Lynch http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/more-trouble-with-marshawn-lynch/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/03/more-trouble-with-marshawn-lynch/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2009 18:20:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=413 Since it’s a slow news day I thought I would get to a situation that’s been flying a bit under the radar with Free Agency and Terrell Owens hogging the spotlight.

Back in early February, Marshawn Lynch was arrested in Culver City, California on felony charges of possession of a concealed firearm. There were also four joints found but they were not included in the charges stemming from the arrest as the cops couldn’t determine whose they were or who was smoking. (Easy way to fix that by the way – head everyone over to Tito’s Tacos and but a lone burrito in the middle of a table. First one there is the stoner. Tito’s Tacos is pretty tasty by the way or was when I last ate there half a dozen years ago. Check it out if you ever have the chance. End Tangent.)

Since then, Lynch has had his mom come out and say she’s gonna break out the switch, the Bills come out and say they have to wait and see if this changes their draft plans and now John Clayton saying on ESPN that the league will probably consider last year’s hit and run brouhaha in his potential suspension and that might result in a 2-4 game ding.

Between this and latest the Brandon Marshall issues, I know there is a bigger article percolating in my brain, but for now we’ll focus on Lynch and not the larger question of talent and trouble which keeps popping up.

Lynch has tremendous talent and – from personal experience I can tell you he’s a nice guy. Very engaging and very charming. He also does an impressive standing backflip.

But despite the positives, he’s now been involved with two pretty significant instances in two years. That isn’t a great average.

The Bills agree and I think they – like Clayton – are worried Lynch will get dinged not just for the gun incident, but for the hit and run. Yes, that’s double jeapordy but this isn’t the Court System it’s the NFL. And history counts with Sheriff Goodell.

So let’s assume Lynch is gone even two games (let’s pretend he gets four and bargains it down to two in the appeal). What does this mean for the Bills?

Well, first of all, the Bills tendered an offer to RFA Fred Jackson. That was after a brief fling with Fred Taylor who ended up a little further north in New England. Jackson was pretty solid in his regular duties last season, so much so that Lynch Fantasy owners were panicking that he might get replaced. And maybe Jackson was getting too many carries, but he was hot and you had to think they were already planning to use him a little more this season.

Well, after last season, the signing was likely to happen anyway, but it took on more seriousness with Lynch potentially sitting a few games.

Because the Bills have to be wondering if Lynch will keep his streak alive for a third year or incident. Long term, if they cannot be sure he will keep his nose clean then they need to solidify this position. And let’s face it – Lynch hasn’t given them a lot of room to be cavalier. They need to be careful.

So Jackson is likely to get a significant number of carries in both the preseason and potentially the beginning of the regular season. The Bills need to have consistency at the position – they need it for Edwards and the passing game, they need it for the overall run game. They cannot afford to be one weapon down.

And again, even if Lynch isn’t suspended this time (and I find that a dubious possibility) they cannot assume he won’t mess up again. That may seem harsh but you really cannot blame them.

Keep an eye on Jackson and don’t be surprised if the Bills take a long look at the running back position somewhere in the draft whether or not a suspension comes down prior to the April draft date.

Marshawn Lynch is an incredibly talented back, there is no denying that.

There is also no denying he’s going to be on a short leash. He’s got two strikes so far.

A third and the Bills might decide he’s out.

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