Sabres are a good example

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The Buffalo Sabres this prior to this past season went and made a bunch of moves and despite all those moves still didn’t make the National Hockey League playoffs. They serve as a good example to Buffalo Bills fans.

The Bills themselves also made some noise recently by signing defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Then in the National Football League Draft added another cornerback in Stephon Gilmore and a left tackle in Cordy Glenn.

The thing is they are all new additions to the Bills. So, the full impact of the moves won’t be felt for years to come.

The first reason is that draft picks take several years to fully develop. There are some draft picks that make big impacts right away, but they are usually the first few players taken at the top of the Draft. The other is the little things called chemistry and experience.

The two are important in the fact that they work hand in hand and allow fellow teammates to cover for each other if one messes up, and a good example is linebackers in a 4-3 defense.  Lets say there is a run off tackle and the outside linebacker on the side that the play is running shoots the gap to try and make the tackle in the backfield but misses. An experienced middle linebacker in a group that has played together for a while would know that outside linebacker tends to do just that on that play, and runs down the line of scrimmage to make the tackle.

The Bills for the most part a very young team and are just learning how to win and be successful. That means they may improve. Just not enough to the liking of Bills fans.

In the end, unless the Bills win four games or less, Bills fans should be prepared for Gailey to be here in 2013 even if they don’t make the playoffs.

It’s a part of the game

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A lot has been said about the New Orleans Saints bounty program and the notion of hurting offensive players. The fact of the matter this is all a part of the game.

The whole issue is being brought up again as a film maker Sean Pamphilon, who was following the Saints last season, released audio of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams giving a speech before their Division round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers this past January. Speeches like the one Williams gave and encouragement to hurt the opponents, like Williams did in the speech, is a part of the game at all levels.

Former National Football League quarterback and current ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck confirmed this as on the Colin Cowherd show Wednesday he said, “Never ever was I on a team where a coach didn’t talk about injuries of the opposing player.”

This encouragment is the exact reason why NFL and National Hockey League coaches lie on injury reports or are extremely vague in their comments to the media. Because they know if they disclose what the injury is, opposing players will go right after the injury then.

“Little 32,” Williams said. “We want to knock the f#4* out of him. He has no idea what he is in for.”

Talk like that is common in every locker room at every level of football. The reason is that when you keep hitting offensive players so hard all game long, eventually they will not want to be out there.

Even though football is a physical sport, psychology is an important aspect of the game, because sometimes teams are evenly matched physically. That means the difference between winning and losing in these games is the will and desire to win.

With hard physically punishing hits being the best way to break a team’s will, along with the game being so violent in nature, a player knows from the very first time you put the pads on that by the time you played your last game there is a good chance you will have suffered an injury that will alter your life down the road.

That is the exact reason why retired players for years now have been seeking to change the way disability cases in the National Football League

“You have to be paralyzed for them to give you disability,” a former player said to Pamphilon

The whole reason that Pamphilon released the tape is, because Williams made reference to giving players concussions.

“Or was it because I have friends I love dearly who played the game and got their “bell rung” so many times that I fear they won’t remember their children’s faces by the time their kids have kids,” Pamphilon pondered as why he made the audio public. “Yep, I’m pretty sure the last one was the reason I wasn’t smiling.”

Pamphilon went on later in the statement made reference to Dr. Bennett Omalu who was the doctor that discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy in Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame center Mike Webster.

The funny thing is Pamphilon must have missed Dr. Omalu’s long time partner in CTE research Dr. Julian Bailes, who is now the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at NorthShore Universirt HealthSystem, comments on preventing concussion.

“Helmets have a natural limitation,” Bailes said in a Chicago Health article. “With some major collisions, the helmet—the head—stops moving. The brain, which is floating inside, can continue the momentum, hitting against the inside of the cranium possibly rotating and tearing fibers. Helmets work well for preventing scalp laceration, skull fracture and bleeding in the brain, but they don’t always prevent rotation and tearing of brain fibers.”

The article went on to state that there is now a possible new solution in preventing concussions. That being a collar that compresses on the arteries in the neck to increase blood flow and prevent sloshing, which is the term Bailes came up with for the process of suffering a concussion.

The collar in studies on rats is found to have reduced the tearing of brain fibers by 83 percent. In other words unless a device is created that can be inserted into a helmet and emanates some kind of field that stops sloshing, concussions will always be a part of football.

The only thing that Pamphilon really accomplished is destroying his credibility with all sports teams and his career as he released the audio without the permission of the team or coaches.

In the end, next year all the coaches and players that have been and will be suspended due to bounty gate will be back in the NFL, except Williams that is as his return depends on the approval of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, which is reviewed on a yearly basis, while Pamphilon won’t be allowed in a sports team facility long after they return.

Anderson’s addition is nice, however…

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The Buffalo Bills held a press conference yesterday ay One Bills Drive to announce the signing or free agent defensive end Mark Anderson. Anderson’s addition is nice, however injuries are still going to be the thing that makes or breaks their season.

The Bills at the beginning of last year showed that they have a talented team with an explosive offense. That is until injuries started to ravage the Bills and opponents figured out that you could pass all day long on them.

Now, teams won’t have the luxury of being able to pass all day long. If anything teams at first are going to run the football more. That will change later in the season if history keeps repeating itself.

The fact of the matter is the Bills have placed 15 players on injured reserve each of the last three years. Also, two of those years the number of players placed on injured reserve was over 20.

It doesn’t matter how talented your team is; if your starters keep on getting hurt for the year your going to wind up in the basement of the NFL.

There might be a little bit of relief for the Bills this year. According to reports, the National Football League Competition Committee is recommending a rule change to injured reserve. That being one player hurt early in the preseason or regular season can come off injured reserve in week six and be activated by week eight.

That is some good news as there is always a case of a player breaking an arm or leg and missing the season, even though they were all healed by mid-season.

In the end, if the Bills want to make the playoffs they need to find a way to minimize the number of players that get hurt each year.

Bills have another option at offensive tackle

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Currently the Buffalo Bills could use a starting left tackle as Demetrius Bell remains unsigned with free agency opening tomorrow. Well the Bills have another option available to them in tackle Levi Brown.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, via Pro Football Talk, the Arizona Cardinals have cut Brown. The reason being the Cardinals coudln’t justify his salary cap number of $17 million this upcoming season.

Brown maybe one of those rare impact signings that you will see. Brown will turn 28 years old this week and has started every game the last four years.

In the end, with Jared Gaither also available, the Bills are better off going to free agency to solve their starting left tackle problem.

Bills enter free agency in good shape

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Free agency in the National Football League opens on Tuesday on time this year. As for the Buffalo Bills they enter Tuesday in pretty good shape.

The Bills got their biggest names resigned in wide receiver Stevie Johnson, tight end Scott Chandler and kicker Ryan Lindell. The only two names that remain that the Bills should consider resigning are offensive tackle Demetrius Bell and cornerback Reggie Corner.

Corner isn’t a starter, but a quality depth player and with Terrence McGee still on the roster they will need someone like him.

As for Bell, he is debatable as offensive tackle Chris Harriston filled in fine for him last season. However, there is also Jared Gaither is available and proved to be a quality starter with the San Diego Chargers last season.

So, what doe that really leave the Bills?

Linebackers: They are all set there as Kelvin Sheppard should be in the middle with Nick Barnett and Author Moats on the outside. Most likely there will be a competition between linebackers Chris White, Danny Batten and Moats with Moats winning it out due to his talent.

Defensive line: They are set at the defensive tackle position with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams as the starters with Dwan Edwards and Torell Troup rotating in. As for defensive end, the left side should be fine with Chris Kelsay being the starter and Alex Carrington the backup. The right side is where the concern as the starter will be Shawne Merriman, but he has been plagued by injuries and there is no real backup behind him.

Defensive Back: At safety they are definitely all set there in regards to starters and backups. The question is cornerback as Terrence McGee has been plagued by injuries and Leodis McKelvin has been inconsistent. However, Aaron Williams last year gave a needed jolt to the group and if he continues to develop they should be okay.

Quarterback: There has been some lingering doubt about Ryan Fitzpatrick being the franchise quarterback for the team. However, in my opinion that was all erased when wide receiver Stevie Johnson signed his contract and Fitz shaved he’s back in his head. What it showed is that the guy is going to go to hell and back for you no matter what happens. He has a fire and a passion for the game I haven’t seen since Jim Kelly retired.

Running Back: Probably one of the best one two punch in the entire NFL.

Wide Receiver: They have dynamic number one in Stevie Johnson who I think will prove to be one of the elite wide receivers in the next couple years. Also, they have a solid slot receiver in David Nelson. The only question is the starting number two wide receiver.

The Bills have high hopes for wide receiver Marcus Easley, but a knee injury wiped out his rookie season and a illness wiped out his sophomore year. Donald Jones looked okay before he was injured, but if there is any doubt they could make a run at San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson or even bring back Lee Evans who was cut by the Baltimore Ravens recently.

Tight end: The team has a solid starter they resigned in Scott Chandler. The only question is his backup as they really don’t have one for him at this point.

Offensive Line: The only question is left tackle as last year’s starter Demetrius Bell and we already addressed that earlier.

The Broncos are fools

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The Denver Broncos are reportedly in the mix for free agent quarterback Peyton Manning. Well they are complete fools for doing so.

The Broncos already have a young quarterback that has a lot of potential in Tim Tebow. He is a quarterback that proved last year that he is a deadly runner and with a passing game that is starting to develop.

In 11 starts Tebow threw for 1,650 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The key part is that is impressive is the touchdown to interception ratio as most quarterback in their first full season as a starter are usually a 1:1 ration in touchdowns to interceptions. What Tebow’s ratio tells you is that he understands the mental aspect of the game and that the only thing holding him back are mechanics.

The good thing with mechanics is that they are easily correctable and Tebow already showed that he is a hard worker as he improved his throwing motion. Tebow coming out of college had a long windup windmill motion. Even if he still has it as long as Tebow keeps working on that eventually he will fix it.

Manning on the other hand is going to be 36 years old this month and is on the downside of his career. Also, Manning has had three neck surgeries in just two years. On top of that he still isn’t throwing the football like he used to, and may never will.

In the end, if they knew what was good for them they would stick with Tebow.

Bills fans should forget about Williams

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With the Buffalo Bills signing wide receiver Stevie Johnson many Bills fans are turning their attention to free agency. Many Bills fans should forget about the biggest name in defensive end Mario Williams.

Time and time again the biggest names in free agency have not really lived up to the hype. The only player so far that has lived up to the contract that they signed as a free agent is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. In my opinion not even Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is living up to his.

Peppers in 2010 signed a six year $84 million contact, which averages out to $14 million a year. so far in two years Peppers in 2011 recorded 11 sacks and 8 in 2010. Peppers 11 sacks has him tied for 11th place in the National Football League.

Williams is coming off a year in 2011 that was ended early by a torn pectoral muscle after five games and in 2010 he only played 13 games. That sounds like a player whose body is starting to break down.

Now, lets take a look at his sacks the previous two years in a 4-3 defense. In 2010 Williams recorded 8.5 and in 2009 recorded 9.0 sacks. The NFL leaders in sacks record over 15 sacks a year.

In the end, Williams isn’t worth the amount of money it will take to sign him.

Regier made the right moves

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Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier entered Monday with the tough decision to be either sellers or buyers Monday. The Sabres were neither, but still Regier made the right moves.

The first move by the team came in trading center Paul Gaustad to the Nashville Predators for a first round draft pick in this summer’s up coming National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Gaustad has been a fan favorite, but his salary at $2.3 million doesn’t really justify his skill set. Yeah, he is good defensively and one of the best in the NHL on face-offs, but the NHL is turning into a high scoring machine as many teams are now copying the Detroit Redwings and other top Western Conference teams.

The  second move came in trading forward Zack Kassian to the Vancouver Canucks for rookie center Cory Hodgson. The final trade saw the Sabres sending defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani to Vancouver for defenseman Alexander Sulzer.

Many Sabres fans are upset over the team trading Kassian, but the matter of the fact is the team is stocked at forward and that means he wouldn’t have made the team any time soon. Also, the Sabres are thin at natural centers and flipping Kassian for Hodgson was a smart move.

The reason being Hodgson can play right away. Even though Hodgson is only a rookie he is having a solid season as he already has 16 goals and 17 assissts. Sabres forward Thomas Vanek in his rookie season scored 25 goals, so if Hodgson keeps playing well he will finish with 20 goals this year and will become a key player for the Sabres for many years to come.

Also, fans need to remember the Sabres also have center Luke Adam waiting in the wings. With Guastad being traded that will open up significant playing time for both Adam and Hodgson on the  team. Time that they wouldn’t have ever saw with Gaustad on the team.

In the end, today wasn’t about this season it was about winning for many years to come and Regier has setup the team for just that.

Get it Done

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It was reported earlier this week that the Buffalo Bills trade contract offers this past week the agent for wide receiver Stevie Johnson. It doesn’t matter how many times they swap contract offers the fact of the matter is the Bills net to get it done.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix and Johnson swapped contract offers early last season. However the two never got close, so Johnson shelved talks until after the season was over.

Johnson contract talks got interesting after getting flagged a couple of times for excessive celebration. Many people point to those two incidents as the reason lost to the New England Patriots and New York Jets, but that is far from the truth. The only thing it did was prove Johnson’s importance to the offense.

The Bills were leading the Patriots 21-0 when Johnson got benched for an excessive celebration penalty. From there the offense couldn’t do anything and the Patriots went on to beat the Bills 49-21.

Johnson also is the first wide receiver in Bills history to have back to back 1,000 yard seasons. Thus again proving how important he is.

In the end, no matter how you feel about his endzone celebrations losing Johnson would be a huge blow for the Bills development.

Time for Edwards to go

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Many Buffalo Bills fans felt that Bills head coach Chan Gailey was making a mistake hiring George Edwards as the team’s defensive coordinator. Well they were right as it’s time for Edwards to go.

The Bills defense has been unable to generate a consistent pass rush. Lets face it besides outside linebacker Arthur Moats and defensive lineman Marcell Dareus there isn’t any and that is Edwards fault.

Seriously, when was the last time you have seen the Bills call a cornerback blitz? We occasionally we see a safety blitz by the Bills strong safety. Even a blitz by a linebacker are rare as you may see one or two a game.

They have talent on that side of the football, especially cornerback. Yes, the Bills cornerbacks have been burned, but what do you expect when you have no pass rush. If you let a quarterback  sit back in the pocket all day he is going to find a open receiver.

In the end, as the saying goes it is a coaches job to put his players in position to succeed, and Edwards clearly isn’t doing that.