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Can The Bills Turn It Around?

Before 2008, New England had sat on a lofty perch atop the AFC East. 6 out of 7 division crowns and that 9-7 Jets team that did win it with a tiebreaker, couldn’t even make it to the Championship game.

Teams in the division had tried using high draft choices, former Belichick assistants, former Patriots Lawyer Milloy and Drew Bledsoe, and even his royal highness Lord Favre to attempt to dethrone them. The Jets even tried an early season cheating bombshell and all that did was help unify the Patriots toward a 18-0 run that came to an end in Super Bowl XLVII. 2008 was the remarkable Miami Dolphins Parcells Remix, where Bill and head coach Tony Sparano brought a team from 1-15 to 11-5 in one year. In 2009, Rex Ryan helped bring the defense to a #1 ranking and the AFC Championship Game. In the 2010 season, it appears the division will be back to a more level playing field. Sure, superstition would proclaim it the Bills’ turn. The cupboard is just too bare. On offense last year, the Bills were 30th in yards, 28th in scoring, and last in first downs and third-down conversion percentage.
• Keeping expectations in check: the Bills lost two of probably the five best players on the team: Fred Jackson, Jairus Byrd, Paul Poslunzsky, Aaron Schobel, and Terrell Owens.

The 2009 Bills were weak at quarterback, weak in pass rush and extremely weak on the O-line, particularly pass protection.
• Reasons for optimism: I’m sure some bitter Bills fans would mention Ralph Wilson’s age, but I’m going to go with C.J. Spiller. If they can find ways to get him and Fred Jackson on the field at the same time often effectively, that would not only justify the pick but increase their overall scoring.

Also, it’s worth noting that Chan Gailey operated pretty well under bad conditions in Kansas City, moving the ball with Tyler Thigpen and no running attack during his last year as play-caller. Ironically, with Haley taking over with Cassel and the #1 tailback of the second half of the year, the Chiefs only scored 3 more points than the season before, 294 compared to 291. In fact, in that 2008 season, Thigpen and Gailey meshed so well that, after getting only 1 game of 14+ points out of the six without Thigpen, they were able to pass that mark for nine consecutive games before fizzing out in a 16-6 loss to a surging Cincinnati. Gailey’s background is wide receivers and he may get more out of Jauron’s leftovers and the new players brought in.
Also, this roster may not be complete yet. With Jocquie Bell running so well in practice and preseason, they may move Marshawn Lynch who just got injured, however. For more on the first preseason game, check out this article from WIVB.

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