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It’s About The Big Guys

March 21, 2010

I’m setting my bar waaaaaaaay too high here. 3 posts in 2 days? Let’s hope I can keep this up.

Anywho, Bob Matthews of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote an article today analyzing the Bills’ recent futility in drafting quarterbacks. The title of the piece, “Buffalo Bills due to land quality QB in NFL draft”, made me laugh because it reminded me of a recent gambling escapade my friends and I experienced on a roulette table. Having witnessed the marble land on red 7 consecutive times, my friends and I all promptly decided that black was “due” and each laid nominal sums of money on black. You already know what happened next: the marble landed on red for THE EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE TIME and, also promptly, we all lost our $20. What to do next? Well, we should absolutely lay more money on black again… Sure enough, my buddies and I put another $20 on black the very next turn.  LET’S GO!  We all pumped each other up yelling “We’re due!” as the ball spun around completely oblivious to the fact that each spin is an entirely new gamble. This time, however, we won (YES!), justifying all of our incorrect notions that sometimes, even in things completely outside of our control, we’re all due for a W.

Point being, as in roulette, teams should never factor selection history into their decision making in the NFL draft, which in many ways is a high-stakes gamble itself. Why? Because as my friends and I idiotically proved to one another, it has no impact on the eventual outcome. Inevitably, human nature often creeps in and drives us all to factor in historical precedents when assessing risks. However, in terms of draft selections, especially that of quarterbacks, there are literally hundreds of other considerations that should take priority. Arm strength, accuracy, leadership, and poise under pressure all come to mind right off the bat.  How we drafted in the past?  Probably the bottom of the barrel.

Look, the Bills need a quarterback. God knows we don’t currently have one of the roster with the exception being potentially, and I do stress potentially, Brian Brohm. But this team has literally so many other holes on it that inserting a rookie quarterback Week 1 would, honestly, probably ruin his career before it even began. I’ll tell anyone that will listen to me that a quarterback is only as good as the offensive line in front of him allows him to be. A QB can undoubtedly make the 5 big men in front of him appear better than they actually are (Aaron Rodgers comes to mind here), but all the talent in the world cannot fend off Julius Peppers coming from the blind side untouched. Life over. Like, maybe very seriously forever.

Just look at the Bills. On paper last year, the Bills fielded a pretty decent offense. Sweet Lee Evans and TO on the outside, rookie Shawn Nelson at TE, and Freddy/Beast Mode in the backfield. So… what happened?  Well, Trent “Check Down” Edwards became so terrified he was going to have his head taken off on every passing down that he refused to throw downfield. Insert: Ryan Fitzpatrick. At this point Bills fans’ standards were so low that he actually received admirable reviews, at least initially. I’ll sum up his season by saying this: Ryan Fitzpatrick should literally not be a starter on any NFL team. I don’t care how bad you are, someone else is available that can bring more to the table than Fitzpatrick.

With that analysis, you can imagine how pumped I was to read that the Bills’ coaching staff was prepared to give the incumbents their shot at the starting position. That being said, do I think that Bradford, Clausen, or Tebow is the answer? NO!  The Bills need to draft at least one, if not two tackles before they even think about selecting a quarterback. Any new quarterback does not stand a chance to succeed on this team with the offensive line as it currently stands. Period.

So what does this all have to do with Matthews’ article? Well, as I stated before, the draft, especially with quarterbacks, is a big time gamble. With roulette, the difference between winning and losing depends on where a marble ball ends up and not how many times it landed in a particular square prior to the new roll. You give yourself a better odds, however, by understanding what numbers are next to each other in order to hedge your bet. Sure the payout might not be as great, but at least you don’t put yourself in a red or black all-or-nothing situation. In the same way, there are ways to build a club that prevents teams from being faced with an all-or-nothing rookie quarterback situation. This literally and figuartively starts with the 5 fat men that surround the quarterback on every play–the common denominator among all NFL teams today. To any NFL observer, it’s obvious to see this has yet to occur with the Bills.

In the coming years I remain hopeful the Bills will build a solid o-line and eventually find that Pro Bowl QB to lead us out of this current state of patheticness. In the meantime, though, I’ll continue to place my bets and watch the marble spin around, reminding myself with each turn that sometimes we’re all due for a W.

Go Bills.

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