Barnett worth the risk

Standard

The Buffalo Bills announced Sunday that they have signed free agent linebacker Nick Barnett. Even though Barnett missed significant time in two of the last three with his former team the Green Bay Packers, signing him was well worth the risk.

Barnett missed most of the 2008 season after tearing knee ligaments and missed most of last year due to a wrist injury. However, when healthy Barnett is a better player than the recently departed Paul Posluszny.

Posluszny may have recorded a career high in tackle last season with 151, but there are other areas that Barnett is clearly better at than Posluszny.

Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills website

First, Barnett is clearly a better pass rusher than Posluszny. Barnett in his last full season in 2009 recorded four sacks while Posluszny has never recorded more than two in a single season.

Another other area that Barnett is better in is pass coverage. Barnett in 2009 and 2006 recorded seven pass deflections in each year while the most Posluszny has ever had was six. Also, Barnett has recorded more interceptions over the first four years of his career with seven than Posluszny’s mere four, three of which came in one season.

Finally, there is one other area that Barnett has proven to be better at, and that is staying healthy. Before 2008 Barnett only missed two games out of five full seasons. Posluszny on the other has only played one full season of his first four years in the National Football League.

Posluszny for his entire football life has played in the North East being born in Pennsylvania, playing college football at Penn State and his first four years with the Buffalo Bills. So, what do you think is going to happen in his first  year round heat football season? He is going to suffer some kind of muscle or ligament injury that will end his year.

In then end, considering that Barnett is also making three million less, I’ll take my chances on Barnett thanks.

AFC East won’t be dull

Standard

Many people were surprised when the New England Patriots traded for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. No what happens there is one thing for sure now.

Thing surely won’t be dull in the AFC East this year.

Many people expect the wide receiver to have a great year. I don’t know if that is going to happen as Ochocinco has only a month to learn the entire Patriots offense.

Courtesy of the Boston Herald

What most likely will happen is that Ochocinco will have same stats like last year at first and then start having great games when he has the offense down.

However, that is not the first thing that comes to mind. The big question to me is what antics will he be able to get away with under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Ochocinco most likely will tone it down unless he has the permission of the head coach as great opportunities like this don’t come along often.

In the end, buckle up AFC East fans, because it is going to be one crazy ride.

A method to their madness

Standard

Like many Buffalo Bills fans, when I heard Bills general manager Buddy Nix say that they were moving Arthur Moats from outside linebacker to inside linebacker my initial reaction was if they are stupid. However, thinking about it the move actually makes sense.

Many people forget that Moats started training camp last year at inside linebacker. Then later in the camp they moved him to outside linebacker where he made plays on the field later in the year. That means if need be Moats can easily move back to outside linebacker while he gets looks at another position.

Also, what it does is it allows the Bills to get a full look at outside linebacker Aaron Maybin. Maybin didn’t get a lot of snaps or looks, because the team was dissatisfied with his play at practice. It got to the point where he wasn’t on the game day roster a couple of times last year.

Courtesy of Trialx.com

However, there is hope for him as one of his close friends is fellow Bills outside linebacker Shawne Merriman. That means the Bills are looking for Merriman to mentor Maybin until he is ready to take the field. Merriman terrorized quarterbacks earlier in his career so if there is anybody that can get Maybin going it is him.

The Bills have a lot of time in that department as Maybin’s contract runs through the end of the 2013 season, actually it  runs through 2014, but it is voidable by the player. So, Maybin can learn under Merriman for two years and then take his place if Merriman doesn’t workout. Or, Maybin could take outside linebacker Chris Kelsay’s place, if Merriman works out, as he turns 32 this October.

In the end, hopefully things work out, because losing absolutely sucks.

The method to his madness

Standard

Courtesy of Sportsblinks.com

Many Buffalo Bills fans were wondering why the team signed wide receiver Brad Smith. Well the answer isn’t quite that simple as there are a couple of factors.

The first factor is a change in the collective bargaining agreement that increase the active game day roster. The change is that the third quarterback on a team’s roster will be able to come in at any time during the football game. Previously, when the third string quarterback came on the field before the fourth quarter the first and second string quarterbacks weren’t allowed back in the game as they weren’t on the active game day roster.

The second is that Smith was actually a quarterback in college for the Missouri Tigers. Smith broke numerous records at Missouri and here is the list according to Wikipedia:

  • First player in division 1-A history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for 4,000 yards in career
  • First player in division 1-A history to pass for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in a season twice in a career
  • Second player in division 1-A history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in a season
  • Fourth player in division 1-A history to score 200 points and pass for 200 points in a career
  • Sixth player in division 1-A history to pass for 200 yards and rush for 200 yards in a single game (vs. Nebraska on October 22, 2005)
  • Most rushing yards in division 1-A history by a freshman quarterback
  • Holds school record for:
    • career rushing yards
    • career total yards
    • most points in a game (30) and most touchdowns (5) (vs. Texas Tech on October 25, 2003)
  • Holds 68 different MU, Big 12 and NCAA game, season and career records (as of 12/2005)
  • 2006 Independence Bowl MVP
  • 2006 Hula Bowl MVP
  • 2002 1st-Team Freshman All-American by FWAA, The Sporting News, College Football News, and Rivals.com
  • 2002 Honorable Mention All-American by CNNSI.com, College Football News
  • 2002 and 2003 honorable mention All-Big 12 by AP
  • 2002 and 2004 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by coaches
  • 2003 4th-Team All-American by College Sports Report
  • 2003 3rd-Team All-Big 12 by coaches
  • 2005 Draddy Trophy finalist
  • 2005 Honorable Mention All-Big 12
  • 2005 Davey O’Brien Award Semi-Finalist
  • 2010 Pudding Pie Award

Yeah, I think throwing the football isn’t a problem. Also, Smith has done it a bit at the NFL level out of the New York Jets version of the Wildcat Offense.

Lastly, as Chris Brown of the Bills website pointed out, Smith, along with the signing of free agent quarterback Tyler Thigpen, give the Bills three consistent mobile quarterback options. That means they don’t have to change up their game plan in the middle of a game like they would of had to with quarterback Brian Brohm last year.

In the end, you got to give Bills head coach Chan Gailey and general manager Buddy Nix some credit, because defenses are now going to have fits with the Bills offense come Sundays.

Beware of free agency

Standard

Year after year free agency gets a ton of hype, especially when a big name is on the market, however time and time again free agents fail.

Two years ago the big news in free agency was defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth signing with the Washington Redskins. Now, Haynesworth is no longer a Redskin as he was traded to the New England Patriots Thursday.

The fact of the matter is teams sign players mostly on reputation. Some of it is based on a players skill and where he would fit, but not as much as it should be.

What NFL fans should be concerned about is if their favorite team resigns their free agentsplayers. If they don’t who gives a crap, because the player will be hitting the market again in two years after they are cut for being a bust.

There are only a few instances where a player signed in free agency works out like when the New Orleans Saints signed quarterback Drew Brees and when the Buffalo Bills signed

courtsey of Total Pro Sports

linebacker Takeo Spikes, that is before he blew his achilles tendon out.

A good example of how important it is to resign your own players is the Bills. Of their first round draft picks since the turn of the century only one pick made it to a second contract with the Bills and that is wide receiver Lee Evans.

What it goes to show is that that the team has so much turnover that the players no longer fit their schemes or they are terrible at drafting players. Simply, if a team is not resigning their own players they aren’t going to be very good, because there will be a lot of holes.

In the end, drafting well has and always will be what will make or break a team.

One big question still looms

Standard

There is one question that I have that still remains unanswered even though we have a new CBA in the NFL. That being can NFL teams spread out signing bonuses like they used to under the previous CBA.

Under the old CBA teams were able to spread out signing bonuses. That allowed teams to actually spend more in cash than the cap really was.

With a new CBA to be in place very soon the question has still yet to be answered by the NFL, or even reported by the media.

That is a big question that has yet to be answered. All that has been reported is that teams must spend 99 percent of the cap in cash this year. That clearly doesn’t address if teams are allowed to go over the cap in actual cash.

In the NFL there are two ways that NFL teams go about handling the salary cap. The first one is just what I just explained. The other is a cash to cap system where teams count the full signing bonus against the cap that year and only spend up to what the cap number is.

Obviously, this is a big issue as there first method allows teams to spend a lot of money that translates usually to spending on free agents. That of course leaves teams like the Buffalo Bills, who uses the cash to cap system, at a big disadvantage.

In the end, hopefully it is the cash to cap system that is in place, because parity is what got the NFL to be the biggest sport in the U.S.

 

It is a bad day for Giants fans

Standard

Courtesy of the AP

It is being reported Tuesday that when the National Football League’s waiver wire opens on Thursday the New York Giants plan to cut three offensive lineman. Simply, Tuesday was a bad day for Giants fans.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Giants will part ways with guard Rich Seubert, center Shaun O’Hara and offensive tackle Shawn Andrews.

Andrews and O’Hara missed a considerable amount of time as neither started more than seven games last year, so their release is not that surprising. Seubert may have started all 16 regular season games, but he suffered a major knee injury in the regular season finale, so it looks like he could possible miss a lot of the year.

The question is now how will they fill the voids those three leave behind. Yes, the Giants were overdue for an overhaul on the offensive line, but three guys in one day will really degrade the quality of the offensive line play this year.

In the end, Giants quarterback Eli Manning better have his running shoes on this year, because he will be running for his life now.

 

Ravens aren’t wasting time

Standard

With the collective bargaining agreement passed by the NFLPA teams can get back to work on their rosters and apparently the Baltimore Ravens aren’t wasting any time.

Courtesy of the Examiner.com

According to the Baltimore Sun, via Pro Football Talk, the Ravens have release running back Willis McGahee, tight end Todd Heap, nose tackle Kelly Gregg and wide receiver Derrick Mason.

It is surprising that the Ravens have dumped so many veterans in one day, but we all knew this day was coming. Simply, the Ravens can’t get past division rival Pittsburgh Steelers who are much younger.

The Ravens are getting old real fast as there have been questions about the defense’s leaders in safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis. Both players are up there in years and have saw their play decline as well and it wouldn’t be surprising if they are gone as well by the end of the week.

In the end, all good things come to an end and it looks like that is the case for the Ravens.

Back to business

Standard

Smith and Goodell at Monday's press conference announcing CBA

With the NFLPA unanimously approving the collective bargaining agreement Monday it is back to business for everyone in the NFL.

It was a long drawn out process, but like usually when it came to crunch time things got done. So, on to real football commentary.

The first and foremost thing the Bills have to do is resign free agent linebacker Paul Posluszny. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Bills.

The old salary cap teams could actually spend more than the cap by spreading out signing bonuses over the length of the contract. While it isn’t clear if teams can still spread out signing bonuses, the one thing that is for certain is that the Bills have salary cap space.

The Bills approach to the salary cap was a cash to cap system. Meaning what ever the salary cap was that is what they spent up to in actual dollars. That means if they if they gave out a five year contract with a $10 million signing bonus the Bills counted the full $10 million against the cap instead of just NFL’s formula that was two million.

In regards to Posluszny’s contract the Bills will have to give him what he wants or he will walk.

As for other free agents the only real glaring need is at right tackle. However, with the Bills taking tackle Ed Wang in the 2010 NFL Draft the team will most likely go with him or someone else on the roster. So, don’t expect the Bills to make a big splash this week in free agency

In the end, hopefully they are smart and keep Posluszny and their other free agents, besides safety Donte Whitner, because there isn’t enough time to get someone outside of the organization up to speed.

Now we know why Wilson voted yes

Standard

Courtsey of NFLgridirongab.com

In a surprising near unanimous vote, National Football League owners voted 31-0, with the Oakland Raiders abstaining, to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement,

Well now we know why Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson approved of the new CBA as well.

That reason was revealed in the NFL press conference that followed the vote by owners. That being, via Pro Football Talk,  owners approving of a new supplemental revenue sharing program. The details of which have yet to be reported.

What it means is that the Bills will get help to keep up with the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins to compete. Also, it should help the Bills be a little bit more attractable to any future owners.

However, a deal is set yet as NFL players have to ratify the proposed CBA. Reports right now are that some of the NFLPA executive committee aren’t thrilled with it.

In the end, hopefully NFLPA will approve it so that and we can all get back to football