|This week's cheerleader is a member of the Buffalo Jills.|
Big Blue View: Who is the quarterback of the future in Buffalo? Trent Edwards? JP Losman? Somebody who isn't currently on the roster?
Buffalo Rumblings: I don't think there's any doubt that the quarterback of the future for the Bills is
Todd Collins Rob Johnson Drew Bledsoe J.P. Losman Trent Edwards. Coming into this season, I honestly thought that we'd answered this type of question based on Losman's promising 2006 season. However, the regression that Losman showed (yes, I still think he can succeed in this league), coupled with the uncommon poise, awareness and accuracy of the rookie Edwards, doomed Losman's fate. Edwards is 5-2 as a starter, and while he hasn't come close to being very productive, he's got a lot of promise.
So for now, Edwards appears to be the clear-cut starter for 2008. He was drafted by the current regime much lower (#92 overall) than they thought he'd go, and the coaching staff loves him. His style fits well with the preferred conservative, management-oriented style of Dick Jauron. It's not going to be easy for the youngster, though - Edwards will have to learn an entire new offense next year as offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild has accepted the head coaching job at Colorado State.
BBV: The Bills are 7-7 and virtually eliminated from the playoffs. Still, would you classify this as a successful or unsuccessful season thus far?
Rumblings: As close as you can get to "raging success" without actually getting there. Sure, we missed the playoffs for the eighth straight year. But the fact that we came this close with a rookie quarterback, two rookie running backs, and 14 guys on Injured Reserve is pretty incredible. I'm not making excuses - eight straight years of playoff-less football hurts - but the Bills have faced incredibly long odds all season, starting with the loss of Kevin Everett in the season opener. This season has proven what Dick Jauron can do for a franchise; he's a steadying influence, and with the roster's talent level increasing dramatically for next year, this team should be primed to make some real waves.
BBV: We know tackle Jason Peters will represent the Bills in the Pro Bowl. What other players who Giants fans might not be familiar with should we watch out for Sunday?
Rumblings: I'll give you two names - first, Jim Leonhard. The starting free safety took over when Ko Simpson went on IR after Week One, got injured himself, lost his starting spot to George Wilson (a converted wideout), then re-gained the starting spot when Wilson hit IR a week ago. Leonhard is a student of the game, a heady guy, and versatile enough so that the Bills move him around quite a bit. If the Bills can get in the face of Eli Manning, you can bet that Leonhard will be in the correct position to make a play on the ball.
Remember Fred Jackson as well. Rookie Marshawn Lynch gets all of the pub (and he deserves it, as he's 60 yards shy of a 1,000-yard rookie season), but the Bills are using Jackson much more as the second part of a dual-back rushing attack. Lynch will still get most of the carries, but when the Bills are looking for a big play on a screen, Jackson's been the man. Having two backs fresh throughout the game - and capable of making game-changing plays - is something that the club plans to utilize going forward, so expect to see plenty of Jackson on Sunday.
BBV: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in a Bills' uniform who would it be, and why?
Rumblings: Hands down, Osi Umenyiora. Buffalo's Cover-2 scheme only thrives when the team is able to get pressure on the opposing quarterback; the Bills, however, have only accumulated 19 sacks this season. Their lack of production in this department has hampered the back seven's ability to make plays, and is largely responsible for Buffalo's extremely low rankings defensively. A presence such as Umenyiora's up front would have a dramatic effect on the playmaking ability on this defense - and as a result, we'd win a lot more games.
BBV: When you look at the Giants do you see a good team, or are you scratching your head wondering 'how in the world is that team 9-5?'
Rumblings: Honestly, when I look at the Giants, I see a team that is a leader shy of being the NFC's best team. I love the defense that Steve Spagnuolo has assembled - that pass rush is the best attack in the league, and there are playmakers in the secondary to complement it. There is a wealth of offensive talent - and I have to say, I love Brandon Jacobs. He's one of a very few number of running backs that I will stop everything to watch. His style is awesome.
The lack of substantial leadership coming from Eli Manning and, more importantly, Tom Coughlin, is what is hampering your team from my perspective. When something goes wrong for your club, there's no steadying influence - and the problems snowball. That's how collapses occur; I honestly hope it's not happening to your club again, because I'd love to see this Giants team make a deep playoff run. They're an entertaining bunch - plus, I hate the Cowboys. If Coughlin is let go, and a competent coach is brought in that can light a fire under Manning's butt, the Giants will be elite. At least, that's what I believe.