We’ve reached the bye week portion of the Buffalo Bills season and at least record-wise, not too many are shocked with where they stand. At 3-4 the Bills are probably around where most expected them to be, though the fashion in which they’ve arrived has been shocking to say the least.
The Bills have been abysmal on defense and if the trend continues could end up setting futility records that would make the Buffalo teams of the mid-1980s tremendously jealous.
Amazingly only one game back in the AFC East standings, Buffalo still has an opportunity to turn things around. The loss to Tennessee will likely prove to be crippler unless the team can manage a stunning win in one of their next two contests at Houston or New England.
We’ll wait until next week to start getting more into their next game with Houston. For now, here’s a list of team awards winners as we almost reach the halfway point of the season.
Most Valuable Player/C.J. Spiller: You can take that bust label he once seemed on the verge of owning and toss it in the incinerator because Spiller has become electrifying. Spiller always had the speed and athleticism to be elite but this season he’s become the complete package. He makes defenders look foolish in missing, hits holes with far more conviction than any previous point of his young career, and even runs a guy over now and then. By far Buffalo’s biggest home run hitter, Spiller is averaging a ridiculous 7.3 yards per carry, added 173 yards through the air and has scored five total touchdowns. Only a time share with Fred Jackson, a damn good talent in his own right will prevent Spiller from challenging for the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Potentially I think Spiller is as good a running back as there is the entire NFL—how about that.
Least Valuable Player/Ryan Fitzpatrick: Most teams will only go as far as their quarterback takes them, and with the Bills that won’t be very far. Fitzpatrick got the big contract extension last season and a new quarterback coach (David Lee) that was supposed to make him better in 2012, but at best he’s been a dime-a-dozen guy. His 15 touchdowns could be viewed as impressive, but he’s stunk in three of the four Bills losses and while good for the majority of the Tennessee game, his late fourth quarter interception was a back breaker. He’s constantly late on throws to open receivers and his few downfield attempts have some fans clamoring for the J.P. Losman era. Sooner or later the Bills staff will have to conclude Fitzpatrick isn’t the guy and give Tarvaris Jackson an opportunity and unless this entire organization really does have their heads stuck in the sand, there’s no way this guy should be the starting quarterback beyond this season.
Best Rookie/Stephon Gilmore: The first week against the New York Jets was a disaster, but since then Gilmore has pretty much shown consistent improvement. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a corner who posts a lot of interceptions, but he’s a physical cover guy who doesn’t play receivers 10,000 yards off the line of scrimmage like most Bills defenders and is pretty good at coming up for run support. He’s certainly not the most glamorous first-round pick in team history but from what I’ve seen so far, I like where he may be headed.
Most Promising Player/Cordy Glenn: Many considered him a project in the second round but from day one Glenn has looked like a legit starting left tackle in the NFL. It’s a shame he suffered an ankle injury because his play was warranting him a lock on the all-rookie team. Glenn has not only been excellent in pass protection but can get down the field and make blocks in the running game as well. He could be back in a few weeks and his return should give an offensive line that’s struggled a bit lately a huge lift. Glenn could have Pro Bowls in his future some day.
Best Attitude Award/Stevie Johnson: I give this guy a lot of creditor not publicly exploding and throwing his quarterback under the bus. He’d have every right to by now. Johnson now had one game of at least 100 receiving yards over his last 29 starts and that’s utterly ridiculous. The guy has talent and every week we see him running impeccable routes and making tough catches. He’s stuck in neutral flat-out because his quarterback doesn’t get him the ball often and accurately enough. Of course, it’s easier for Johnson to keep a cool head now that he got his (deserved) pay day this past offseason, but statistically he’d be regarded as an upper tier receiver almost anywhere with a better quarterback.
Unsung Player Award/Donald Jones: If you want complete honesty, I didn’t even have Jones on my final 53-man roster early in the preseason. Jones kept his No. 2 receiving role over challengers like Derek Hagan and Marcus Easley and his role shifted when David Nelson tore ligaments in his knee in Buffalo’s season opener. Jones has moved into the slot and done a fine job; catching 20 passes this season for 241 yards and three scores. Honorary mention to Bryan Scott, who’s played well in his full-time nickel linebacker role.
Dumbest Transaction Before Season/Tarvaris Jackson: Do I really need to elaborate?
Dumbest Transaction Since Season Started/Shawn Powell: Bills brass determined after the preseason that Powell probably wasn’t ready to be a NFL punter until next season and elected to keep Brian Moorman for another year. They should’ve stuck to their guns.
The “If You Take One More Dumb Penalty I’m Going To Jump Through My TV” Award/Erik Pears: I mean, really, big guy—that’s enough with the stupid penalties.
The “I’d Like To See A Lot More Of You Over The Final Nine Games” Award/Kyle Moore: He could become the next Mark Anderson, though we’ll never know because Anderson will take all his reps if his knee allows him later this season.
The “Stop Keeping Him On The Roster As Insurance” Award/Kirk Morrison: I’ve seen enough of Kelvin Sheppard through seven games to conclude I’d like Morrison active on game days.
The “You’re A Starter In The NFL By Default” Award/Nigel Bradham: Look, I like Bradham and think he has excellent NFL size and skills. He can become a very good linebacker. However, he’s simply too raw this early in his career to be starting at outside linebacker. The fact he’s starting right now is a complete indictment of Arthur Moats’ ability as anything other than a pass rusher, and an inexcusable oversight by the front office to not add a better outside option last spring.
The Roy Jones Jr Award-/George Wilson: For those who don’t know, Roy Jones was my favorite boxer of all-time. There were few things in sports I looked forward to more than a Jones fight and for years he was among the best in the sport. Then literally overnight against Antonio Tarver it seemed he aged 10 years. That’s how I’m starting to feel about George Wilson. I’ve always been a huge Wilson guy, considered him underrated on the field and perhaps the biggest leader in the locker room for a while now. His play essentially ran Donte Whitner out of town (thank God for that) and he always seemed to have a knack for making big plays. But Wilson is 31 now and there’s no denying he’s lost at least a step so far this season. He looks old, uncomfortable, slow and indecisive right now.
The “Keep Your Eye On This Guy” Award/T.J. Graham: I got a hunch big things are going to start coming from this kid. He’s been a little more involved in the game plan each week and has the speed to start making more impact plays. That is assuming, of course, Fitzpatrick can actually hit on throws to him.
The “Too Bad He Can’t Face Bobbie Massie Every Week” Award/Mario Williams: We saved the worst for last. Right now this seems like the worst free agent signing in the history of sports. Sore wrist or not, please do something to warrant your addition in the second half of the season.