It seemed like a dream come true to the NFL fans in Buffalo and the Western New York area. The betting websites watched as the Bills made one high-profile free agent signing after another. Instead of allowing all of the talent to leave Buffalo, the Bills signed up its current players and then brought in some help. But even after signing Mario Williams to the largest defensive player contract in league history at $100 million, fans are wondering how much better the Buffalo Bills really got this offseason.
Mario Williams was drafted as a defensive end where he excelled for the Houston Texans. When new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joined the Texans prior to the 2011 season, he moved Williams to linebacker where Williams excelled again. But playing linebacker is much different than being on the interior line and may people think that Williams’ injury last season was because of his unfamiliarity with playing linebacker.
The Bills will be moving Williams back to the line, and if you bet on sports, then you have to agree with that decision. But Williams was not the only defensive move that the Bills made. Buffalo also signed the New England Patriots’ best pass rusher to a contract when the team signed defensive end Mark Anderson. With Anderson, Williams and Bills’ veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams playing defensive line, the Bills could have the best pass rush in football.
Then the online NFL betting experts watched as the Bills drafted cornerback Antoine Gilmore. The speculation is that not only will Gilmore start, but his future in the NFL is bright. The Bills made some good moves in the offseason, but will it be enough to turn this perennial loser into a winning franchise?
The Bills made almost no moves on offense with the exception of signing current number one wide receiver Stevie Johnson. The Bills already have one of the best running backs in the AFC in Fred Jackson and an offensive line that is young but improving. Tight end Scott Chandler showed a lot of potential last season and could be just the outlet receiver and blocker that the team needs.
That leaves quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fans and the online sportsbook experts are not completely sold on Fitzpatrick yet. Bills’ fans point that as soon as Fitzpatrick signed his 6-year, $60 million dollar contract, his play declined rapidly. What fans are leaving out is the fact that Fitzpatrick suffered a rib injury in week eight and played with pain for the rest of the season.
With Fitzpatrick healthy for the 2012 season and the Bills’ new defense in place, this could be the season that the Bills start to make a climb back towards the playoffs. But fans should not be too surprised if this new team stumbles a little at the beginning of the season. These new players may be high caliber, but they all need to learn to work together under a new defensive system. It will take time to make the Bills a winner, but Buffalo fans have learned to be patient.
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