Bills offense will be different

How will the Bills replace Peerless Price, Larry Centers and Jay Riemersma, who made up nearly half of their passing offense last year? [This is an excerpt from Steve Tasker's upcoming column in Shout!, which will be on newsstands this week, or call 1-800-93-BILLS for a copy.]

The answer is they probably won't need to replace them.

This is an offense that is going to take a different direction than last year. In 2002, it kind of had the "top down, we're going free" approach. Nobody expected the Bills in the playoffs. They had a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator; they were going with a still-unproven running back in Travis Henry, and they just wanted to see how they were going to go. So they said, "You know what? Our defense is going to struggle, so we're going to have to go for broke every play."

This year, they're going to be much more methodical. They're going to go to the running game more; they're going to use a power run game and they're going to use the play action pass more. You're not going to see Drew Bledsoe drop back seven steps and throw on first down every series like he did last year. So there's simply not going to be room in this offense for two guys to catch 90 balls, as Price and Eric Moulds did in 2002.

This is going to be a more traditional offense. Let's face it, they got off to such a fast start last year and the defense was playing so poorly, they said, "You know what? Let's see what kind of numbers we can put up."

When opponents decided, "OK, you can do what you want, but we're not going to let you throw that deep ball. You're going to have to do other things," the Bills didn't care. They wanted to throw that football around. That was their offense, they did it well and they kept doing it. Later in the year it caught up to them, and they didn't have anything else to fall back on. So the offense didn't progress in areas it otherwise would have had the Bills been in games where they had to protect leads.

Steve Tasker, a seven-time special teams Pro Bowler during 12 seasons with the Bills, is an NFL analyst for CBS Sports. His column appears periodically in Shout!.

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