After a pathetic loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, the Buffalo Bills are off to an 0-2 start to the 2007 season. The Bills put on a pitiful display against the Steelers, who totaled 420 yards of offense compared to 223 for Buffalo. Bills quarterback J.P. Losman managed only two completions for five yards in the game's first half, and Buffalo's defense has allowed a mind-blowing 890 yards in two games.
The Bills, quite simply, look like they're in serious trouble; they lack talent in many key spots. The coaching staff has implemented a conservative ball-control offense, but the defense is too porous to play in that manner. The Bills can't protect a lead and head coach Dick Jauron is unwilling to open up the passing game.
Losman has been a source of frustration for fans over the last few seasons. Now in his fourth year, the Tulane upshot has had plenty of shaky performances, but was starting to show signs of promise last season. So far this year, he has looked awful, partly due to Jauron's overly conservative game plans. When the offense needs to stage a comeback, he is never willing to place the game on Losman's shoulders. As a result of Jauron's lack of confidence in Losman, the quarterback is taking steps backward, looking almost as clueless as he did two years ago.
The Bills have been in a rebuilding state for the past several years. It seems that whenever Buffalo adds an important piece, the team loses two or three more. London Fletcher-Baker, Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes and Willis McGahee are all gone. In this year's draft, the Bills made seemingly smart picks in the first two rounds, selecting California running back Marshawn Lynch and Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny. Instead of giving the two some time to adjust to the NFL, both have been thrust into the starting lineup.
The once-prominent Buffalo franchise, which played four Super Bowls in the early '90s, hasn't made it to the playoffs since 1999. Since then, the Bills have only had one winning season. And now, no NFL franchise may be in greater jeopardy. The future of the team in Buffalo depends mostly on owner Ralph Wilson's health. If he were to die, the team would be inherited and probably sold by his family, then likely be moved to a warmer and more prosperous area.
The team is taking the right approach this season. While the overall talent level is significantly below the NFL average, the franchise seems to have spent well in free-agency. The Bills have more rebuilding to do and a lot of talent to replace, especially on defense. The best way to do that is through the draft, though, not free agency. Despite the possibility for redemption, Losman, Jauron and the rest of the franchise may be running out of time and opportunities to get it right.