Names you should know

Let's call this week's column "Names in the News." While I was preparing it, a new name popped up: Steve McNair.

Steve McNair. If he plays against the Bills Sunday, he would be on two bad legs. Either way, what once looked like an automatic loss for the Bills is now more promising for Buffalo. Don't buy the idea that the Titans are ripe for the picking because they've lost two in a row. If anything, that could give them even more motivation. But a hobbled McNair or any kind of Billy Volek would limit Tennessee's offense.

Drew Bledsoe. The problem with the Bills' trying to run to set up the pass is that play action doesn't work well with Bledsoe at quarterback. He still has a strong arm, but he never has been a smooth, athletic ball handler. He is too mechanical; his awkward ball fakes rarely fool defenders. To understand this point, watch the way Bledsoe fakes a handoff and compare that with film of ballhandling masters such as Peyton Manning and Chad Pennington. Or look at Quincy Carter's play-action TD last Sunday against the Eagles. Now that was an awe-inspiring thing of beauty.

A.J. Feeley. He's not really in the news, but he's in my mind -- as a worthy successor to Bledsoe. The Eagles' number three quarterback is the type of young player who could develop into a viable NFL starter. He has four wins in five pro starts, and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Give him a team to run in the NFL Europe League, and Feeley could grow into a bigger role. Tom Modrak brought in Travis Brown based on what he showed in Philadelphia; Feeley would be a better solution to the Bills' problems.

Willis McGahee. The Bills have teased us all year with speculation that he would play this season. Don't be surprised that if poor weather or elimination from the playoff race threatens actual attendance at the Miami game, Buffalo would announce Wednesday that McGahee would be active. Just don't go there actually expecting him to play. Since I'm on an Eagles kick, you should look no further than Philly to realize that a group effort between McGahee and Travis Henry at running back can be successful. Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter and Duce Staley all are thriving.

Sam Adams. I was down on him earlier this season, but now he is playing as if he really wants to be with the Bills next season. He is earning that right. But please, Sam, lay off the donuts during the off-season.

Lawyer Milloy. He's not worth as much as the Bills are paying him, but he too is worth a lot more than he was early this season. He's not quick enough to cover a fast receiver or get over the top in cover 2, but he has done a fine job against slower tight ends and backs.

Gregg Williams. The efforts of Adams and others indicate how players want to play for Williams. But even the surge of the last two games shouldn't be enough to overcome his game-day blunders for him to keep his job next year.

Bruce Smith. He's a great player who hung around too long at the dance. He's one of the best pass rushers ever, but his career sacks record doesn't make him THE best. I'd feel better about the record if it didn't make me wonder how many of those sacks came as the result of lobbying, whining and pleading on Monday morning to have parts of teammates' sacks awarded to him. Congratulations to Bruce, who is retiring, on that great career.


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories