Five Reasons The Bills WILL Draft Jimmy Clausen

Posted on March 25, 2010 by Joe Pinzone

Jimmy ClausenNot long ago, Buffalo Sports Daily contributing blogger Joe Pinzone listed five reasons why the Buffalo Bills would not draft Jimmy Clausen.  In his best effort to play both sides of the fence and cover all his tracks, Pinzone comes back with this column defining five reasons why we draft him.

Enjoy… Unless you hate Jimmy Clausen.

5) A New Hope (Insert Star Wars Theme)
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…the Buffalo Bills selected Jim Kelly in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. After a detour in the USFL, Kelly arrived in Buffalo with a ton of fan fair and was viewed as the savior for the franchise. All Ralph Wilson had to do was look at the crowd during the home opener against the Jets. It marked the first time in three years that the Bills were able to sell out Rich Stadium (Now Ralph Wilson stadium). Wilson and the Bills fans knew they had something special.

You always hear fans and the media ask, “how are the Bills going to sell tickets and pump up the morale of the fan base?” Drafting a quarterback like Jimmy Clausen may be the marketing tool that the Bills franchise needs. Heck, it worked with Kelly in 1986.

Now, we all know that Jim Kelly is like the pope when it comes to Buffalo sports. Every quarterback that puts on a Bills uniform will always be compared to number 12. I remember hearing the media and fans compare JP Losman to Kelly because of his attitude and cockiness (Too bad that’s where the comparisons ended). The fans need the next Jim Kelly more so than an alcoholic that needs a sip of vodka.

Well, you’ve already heard that Clausen has a little bit an attitude. Hmm… didn’t Kelly have a bit of an attitude too? I’m sure that’s music to fans ears that are starved for their next Kelly. I can already see the marketing wizards at One Bills Drive devise a commercial with “The Jimmy’s” staring in it. I can already see some sort of promo with Kelly passing the torch to Clausen.

If Clausen doesn’t help sell tickets, I’m sure he could sell his name…on the back of a jersey. Don’t ever discount merchandise. When you’re selling jerseys at 60 bucks a pop, that’s a nice chunk of change for Mr. Wilson. Plus, I don’t really see too many fans going out and buying a Dwan Edwards jersey. Everyone knows that the quarterback is the most popular person on a football team. Considering that Clausen played for arguably the most popular college football program in the country shouldn’t hurt his clout with the fans.

Drafting Clausen would represent a changing of the guard for a football team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years. I’ve always said that Bills fans aren’t exactly the hardest type of fans to give hope too. Hell, people were excited about signing Andra Davis. Having Clausen as the face of the franchise may create the same excitement that happened when Kelly played his first game in Buffalo almost 25 years ago.

4) Look whose your starting quarterback
Ever since Jim Kelly retired, the Bill have had 10 different starting Quarterbacks. By my math, that’s an average of one new quarterback starting every 21st game. Not exactly what you would call continuity.
Of all the incumbent starting quarterbacks, I can’t think of a guy more unpopular than Trent Edwards. Seriously, even as unpopular as Rob Johnson and JP Losman were, there were still a number of fans who believed in them entering their final years as a starter. It has been almost three months since the season ended and I still haven’t read a blog, listened to a talk show or had a friend tell me that Trent Edwards should be the starting quarterback next year.

No one wants Edwards here. I’m sorry, but unless Chan Gailey is related to God himself, there’s no way he can work a miracle with converting Edwards to a legit quarterback. Edwards represents the old guard of Buffalo Bills football-a complete failure. No ones wants to see anyone on this team start that has failed to live up to prior expectations.

In order to win in the NFL, you’re going to need solid quarterback play. Edwards is about as solid as oatmeal. He had his chance…and fell right on his face, actually he checked out (or checked down). Watching him quarterback this team was about as much fun as watching paint dry. Normally, when you’re watching a football game, you tend to take a bathroom break when a team is punting. My break actually happened during a Trent Edwards lead drive. At least Rob Johnson and JP Losman threw the ball deep. Edwards couldn’t complete a pass of over ten yards to save his life.

The fans aren’t the only ones that want Trent gone from this team, don’t forget that his teammates had lost faith in him and rallied behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes…Ryan Fitzpatrick stole your supposed franchise quarterback’s starting job. To think that the players had Jim Breuer’s back instead of Captain Check down should tell you something. As for Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter…please, he’s not even worth the space on this blog.

3)Is somebody out there?
Well, I’ve torn down the legacy of Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick, so where else are the Bills going to find their new starting quarterback? I don’t think signing Kyle Boller or Dante Culpepper are the answers. And please, don’t give me Mike Vick to the Bills jargon. The dude killed dogs and is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in NFL History. I’m not into having Buffalo become the stopping spot for players that aren’t wanted anymore or players that have to rebuild their careers (T.O. anyone?).

Now that free agency doesn’t seem to have the answers, you can always go to the draft. However, scouts have been saying that there’s a huge drop off between Clausen and the 3rd best quarterback in the draft. It changes daily who exactly is the third best option. The Bills may feel that with such a weak quarterback class in the later rounds, it may be smart for them to go out and draft Clausen.

By all accounts, Clausen is the most ready made pro because of learning in a pro style offense. He’d be more inclined to be the opening day starter than Tim Tebow or Dan LeFevour.

2)Offensive lineman are overrated
Now, just so we are all on the same page, I’m writing this column as if I’m in the Bills office and they are telling me why they will draft Jimmy Clausen. I’ve stated countless times that I think the left tackle position is the most important on a football team. However, I’m not going to act like a talk show host and say it’s my way or the highway.

I know a lot of fans and media think that the Bills have to build their offensive line based around the cold, arctic air of Western New York: “We need players who are going to get physical and represent old-time football. We need guys that drool and smell. We need the frozen tundra of Ralph Wilson Stadium. We need our version of the hogs to battle in the elements and bring back Cookie and OJ.”

Oh please. The greatest Bills teams of all time use to score 40 points a game with an offense that would pass for over 300 yards a game. The key to the passing offense was Jim Kelly…not Howard Ballard. History shows that with the right talent, you can definitely have a high powered offense in the cold confines of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Back to the present, have you ever taken a look at the offensive lines for the Colts, Chargers and Saints? They aren’t exactly household names over there. The Saints only gave up 13 sacks last year. Did you know who their left tackle is? Anyone?…Bueller?…Bueller?… It was Jermon Bushrod, a guy selected in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. No pro bowls, no nothing. The Colts only gave up 14 sacks and their left tackle was some guy named Charlie Johnson. No relation to the former Bills wide receiver, Charles Johnson.

The biggest reason those teams didn’t give up many sacks was because the offensive system was designed to get rid of the football fast. Not to mention, I think Peyton Manning and Drew Brees had something to do with it. I’m sure if Peyton Manning was the Bills quarterback, Derrick Dockery would have made the pro bowl. As for Jimmy Clausen, he played for a below average offensive line at Notre Dame and was still able to put up great statistics.

Also, lets give credit to Chan Gailey. Whoa! What?! Yes, I’m going to give my first ever compliment to the head coach. During Gailey’s two years as the coordinator for the Dolphins, the offensive line only gave up 28 and 27 sacks each year respectively, which ranked near the bottom third of the NFL. The offensive line consisted of two second rounders, two fourth rounders and one undrafted player. Only their center Tim Ruddy, had one pro bowl appearance for the unit.

So, if Chan Gailey can make chicken S#$t into chicken salad with the Dolphins offensive line, why can’t he do it here? Fans have to realized that it’s a collective involvement with your quarterback, offensive scheme and lineman that makes pass protection work.

1) You can’t pass up on a franchise quarterback
If I had a crystal ball to look into the futures of Jimmy Clausen and Bryan Bulaga, and found out that both players would be sure fire Hall of Famers or Pro Bowlers, I would definitely pick Clausen with the 9th pick.

All you have to do is look at the playoff teams from this past year to see who their single callers were. They were all franchise quarterbacks. This is a quarterback driven league and if you don’t have the right guy throwing the football, you’re going to be picking 9th in the NFL draft for the next 10 years.
Just check out the teams that are picking in the top 10 this year. All of them have issues at quarterback or are tyring to groom guys they have selected in earlier drafts. Unless you have the Ravens 2000 defense or the 85′ Bears squad on your team, you’re not going anywhere with Trent Edwards as your quarterback.

For over the last seven seasons, the Bills offense has never ranked higher than 25th in total offense. Ugh…that’s just a disgusting stat. The Bills haven’t had a quarterback pass for over 300 yards in a game since 2006. The Bills haven’t had a quarterback pass for over 20 touchdowns since 2002. Hell, they have only had one..count quarterback eclipse the 20 touchdown mark in the last 14 years!! The offense is desperate. Since, it seems like every year Ralph Wilson always complains about the offense (and money), he may be thinking that finding a quarterback is the team’s number one priority.

As for Clausen, a lot of experts think he’s the most ready made pro quarterback to start next year. He’s learned under Charlie Weiss, who tutored Tom Brady. Clausen’s got size; good arm strength that can fit balls into tight windows. He has an extremely quick, snappy release. He has played under the microscope of one of the most pressured pack programs in the country. He has gotten better every single year he has been the starter. Even some coaches feel that Clausen is a leader (although others say he’s not). You can’t deny the guy’s talents.

If you’re looking to draft a quarterback and you come across one that you think can be the franchise, you take him. No questions asked. I don’t care if you have other holes on your team. If you think Clausen is going to be a staple for your team for the next 15 years, then you sign his ass. Unfortunately for the Bills scouts, they don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future. It’s a risk to pick a quarterback that high, but what exactly do the Bills have to lose?

(Joe is a Buffalo State graduate living in New York City as a freelancer on TV shows for different networks.  He also has his own outstanding sports blog called JoeFromNYC.  You can read this post and many other interesting takes and insight by visiting his blog right here)

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3 Comments on Five Reasons The Bills WILL Draft Jimmy Clausen

  1. James

    Wait a waste of time reading and waste of space.

  2. Tweets that mention Five Reasons The Bills WILL Draft Jimmy Clausen : Buffalo Sports Daily --

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  3. James

    What a waste of time reading this article

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