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Bills May Be Ready to Charge with a Few Solid Moves
Chan Gailey and the Buffalo Bills got off to a surprisingly solid start in the first half of the season. The Bills recorded wins over the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots to start the season and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was one of the top stories in the NFL.
The Bills could not sustain their success and the second half of the season was awful, but the Bills are by no means a disaster. They have several areas to improve and fine tune, but a solid offseason could give Gailey and long-suffering Bills fans a playoff-contending team.
The biggest need the Bills have this offseason is to develop a significant pass rush. The Bills could not put any pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year and that's primarily the reason the defense struggled so badly. Shawne Merriman did not work out for them at the outside linebacker spot and young players Arthur Moats and Danny Batten are not productive at this point. The Bills have to find outside linebackers who can turn the corner, flatten out and get to the quarterback.
On the same note, finding pass rushing defensive ends in free agency or the draft is also a priority. Chris Kelsay is solid at the position but the Bills don't have any other productive players at the position. Nose tackle Marcel Dareus is outstanding and more depth at the defensive end position will keep him from getting double-teamed on a regular basis.
On the offensive side, the Bills may need to replace wide receiver Stevie Johnson if he leaves through free agency. Even if they keep him in the fold, the Bills need to get Fitzpatrick additional receiving help.
The Bills also have a strong need at the left tackle position. Demetrius Bell played the position with great effort last season and had some early-season success, but he could not sustain it and the Bills need to improve in that area.
The Bills have a solid running game as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller give them one of the top running back duos in the league. If they can get their pass blocking to a similar level as the run blocking, it will keep opponents from keying on the running game and it will give Gailey's offense more versatility.
Pro Football Weekly—Buffalo Bills
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