After a brutal offseason, there is nothing Buffalo Bills fans want more than to see their beloved team get back to their old winning ways.
This offseason has seen the passing of long-time Bills owner Ralph Wilson, leaving the team still up for sale and in need of a new stadium in order to remain in Buffalo, New York. As if that isn’t bad enough, Hall of Fame Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, the greatest player in the history of the franchise, is battling cancer. Bills fans need something, anything, to give them hope again.
The Bills are in the midst of the longest playoff drought in the NFL. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, and have only have one winning season in the 14 years since. Under new head coach Doug Marrone, the Bills finished 6-10 this past season, the record they have earned in four of the last five seasons.
Last season wasn’t horrible: there were three or four close games that the Bills could have won with just a little more help. Things are looking up for Marrone and the Bills, especially considering things can’t get much worse.
Fans in Buffalo are ready to rally around the new ownership, and they are very excited to see fourth-overall draft pick Sammy Watkins in action this season.
Watkins is just what the doctor ordered for the Bills: a young, exciting player to draw attention away from all the negatives of this past offseason and get fans excited for another year of football in Buffalo.
However, Watkins came at a price: in order to trade up to the fourth pick in the draft, the Bills had to trade the Cleveland Browns their first-round selections in 2014 and 2015 along with a fourth-round selection in 2015.
Watkins is the electric, explosive, play-making receiver that second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel needs to improve his game in 2014. Considering everything the Bills had to trade away to grab Watkins out of the draft, expect coach Marrone to utilize him in every way possible.
In order to get the most out of Watkins, however, the Bills will need to make some major offensive adjustments. The Bills ran the ball more than any other team in the league this past season, while ranking 23rd in the NFL in passing attempts. If the Bills really want Manuel to improve and get the most out of Watkins this season, they will have to switch up the play calling a bit to incorporate some more passing into the offensive scheme. Watkins has the speed to make plays after the catch; so the more the Bills can get him the ball, the better their chances in 2014.
It’s been a while since the Bills have been considered a winning franchise, and they would love to get back to their old winning ways. Watkins definitely has the talent to help lead a team to victory, but he can’t do it alone. Give him some time to grow along with Manuel and bring in some help on both sides of the ball, and one day Watkins just may be the face of a Bills team that is seen as a legitimate Super Bowl competitor.