Most of the offensive problems the Bills are experiencing through the first two games looked awfully similar to what has been going on in Buffalo the last few years. But quarterback Trent Edwards, one of the links to the past -- and some would say the primary problem -- didn't want to talk about the past after Sunday's game. Perhaps that was an indication he knew of his future would include watching Ryan Fitzpatrick start Sunday's game in New England.
"Let me get one thing straight -- this is a new year right now," he said after the 34-7 loss in Green Bay where he was held to 102 yards passing and a 37.0 QB rating. "A lot of the guys who are here weren't here the past couple of years, so there's no reason for them to be frustrated if they weren't here. On my end, I'm taking the approach that it's a new year and these last two games haven't gone the way we wanted them to go.
"To have these results is pretty frustrating, but I have to do a good job of looking in the mirror and fixing what I need to fix and somehow get these guys going. That's my job, that's what I get paid to do. Offensively when things don't go right, that's what you have to do."
Coach Chan Gailey didn't have a world of options, considering the results in the first two games. He said Fitzpatrick, who is more mobile and also accurate on the move, could give the offense a spark.
It needs one.
The Bills' passing game is non-existent. Edwards has completed only two passes of at least 20 yards in length, he has been sacked seven times already, and Lee Evans, the No. 1 receiver, had no catches in Green Bay and only four for 34 yards against Miami.
Evans, who has had to endure the likes of Edwards, J.P. Losman, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kelly Holcomb and a fading Drew Bledsoe as his quarterbacks in Buffalo, was asked if he feels like his talent is being wasted.
"I think moreso than that, you play this game for the people around you," he said. "If it was that easy to blame one thing or another, I'd probably be miserable. It's Week 2, we still have 14 games to play and make a difference. We have to look forward and not back. But it is frustrating (being shutout). Anytime you lose and you don't feel like you contributed to making a difference, it's difficult."
Evans is a legitimate deep threat, but he has the anti-deep threat as his quarterback. Edwards has drawn harsh criticism for two years concerning his reluctance to throw the ball downfield and settle for the checkdown pass, but he and Gailey both insisted that there were plenty of plays called to move the ball in chunks against Green Bay, but things never materialized.
"Trust me, we were trying to get the ball out of my hand and get it out there to Lee and the other guys, but a lot of things play into that," said Edwards.
Read: The line wasn't able to provide time, especially with linebacker Clay Matthews rushing from different spots (he had three sacks). Also, the Bills' weak corps of wide receivers behind Evans hasn't been able to get separation and get open, so Edwards has nowhere to go when Evans is double covered, as he usually is.
"We had several shots called down the field and we couldn't get them off," said Gailey. "We were a bad offense in the second half out there."
Gailey has a lot of work to do, and one of his primary responsibilities is to keep this team's collective head up, and that won't be easy, even with Fitzpatrick taking the ball at New England.
"That's always the challenge," he said. "The objective of the game is to win. If you feel OK about losing, we don't want you around. It better hurt when you lose. If guys aren't hurting and down right now, I'm worried about them. For the most part, our guys understand. We can be a good football team, but we're not, and we have to get there."
--The interesting timing of Marshawn Lynch getting his first start in the Buffalo backfield since midway through 2009 could not be overlooked. Lynch's name has been dragged through trade rumors ever since the team picked C.J. Spiller in the first round. No move was made in the offseason or in training camp, so the team came into the season with three capable backs. Spiller started the opener against Miami and struggled, and it was thought that Fred Jackson, who took Lynch's job last year, would start against Green Bay. Instead, it was Lynch, and it was almost as if the Bills were showing him off to the Packers who are in need of a running back now that Ryan Grant is out for the season. Neither side acknowledged a trade is in the works, but you have to wonder.
--Chris Kelsay has been working hard to reinvent himself. A defensive linemen his entire college and NFL career, he has been asked to play OLB in the Bills' new 3-4 defense. Kelsay seems fine against the run, and is even a little more mobile because his hand's not on the ground. However, he looks like a fish out of water in pass coverage. The Packers, managed to get TE Jermichael Finley lined up on Kelsay one-on-one and he beat Kelsay easily for a 34-yard gain. "They have a lot of receivers and a great receiving tight end," said Kelsay. "They executed and we didn't; they had a good day and we didn't."
--The offensive line is struggling enough, and lacks quality depth, so losing left guard Andy Levitre was a blow. Levitre suffered a neck stinger in the second quarter against Green Bay and could not return. Undrafted free agent Cordaro Howard was the only reserve guard active, and he came in and held his own, but the line had a tough time protecting Trent Edwards who was sacked four times. "It's very discouraging," said offensive guard Eric Wood. "It's terrible. We have to find out who we are and everybody needs to get better. We have to get it fixed quick or we're going to dig ourselves a pretty big hole."
--Veteran linebackers Reggie Torbor and Akin Ayodele both made their debuts for the Bills, but they played minimal roles at Green Bay. Torbor earned one of the starting outside spots in camp, but he suffered a chest injury that sidelined him for the final two preseason games and the opener against Miami. It was thought that he would start in Green Bay after practicing all week, but Chris Ellis was on the field at the beginning. Ayodele was signed as a free agent just before the start of the season when Kawika Mitchell went on IR, and after being inactive in Week 1, he saw some time against the Packers, but is still getting accustomed to the calls and his teammates.
--QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Sunday's game at New England. The Bills haven't beat New England since 2003.
-- RB C.J. Spiller had his role limited to third-down duty on offense, and he caught four passes for 23 yards. He was involved on special teams and had six kickoff returns for 174 yards.
-- WR Roscoe Parrish made the longest reception of the day, a 21-yarder later in the fourth quarter.
-- LB Andra Davis had seven tackles in the middle of the 3-4 defense.
-- WR Donald Jones returned a kickoff 18 yards, and then was replaced by C.J. Spiller.
-- LB Keith Ellison started at inside linebacker and had four tackles and defended a pass.
This report courtesy of The Sports Xchange
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