'Why players have surgery right before camp'

People ask, "Why would a player have surgery right before training camp?" That, of course, is the case with Bills wide receiver Reggie Germany, who will probably compete for the No. 3 spot, but could be slowed in the battle by recent knee surgery.

The reason behind late off-season surgery is simple: Doctors want to give players the chance to heal from injuries naturally through time and rehab. Surgery is always a last resort. But there is a point in the off-season that they've determined when surgery must be done or else the player will be in danger of missing important parts of the preseason, or even regular season. That's the point when the team can't wait any longer for injuries to naturally heal. That's why you see players getting surgery right before camp …

With Drew Bledsoe the solution at the quarterback position – where questions had existed since Jim Kelly retired – now the Bills must solve different problems. Is the offensive line going to come together? Is Travis Henry going to be able to run better behind this offensive line than he did last year? Are the players going to stay healthy enough to be a contender late in the season?

Everybody in the locker room feels like Drew has answered some significant questions about their offense. His experience, leadership and savvy alone are going to help an offense that was a little bit directionless last year. He gives the offense credibility – just because he is a proven veteran who has won in the NFL for many years. That's a huge step …

All the smart teams run first. If your running game is good, it's always easier to throw the football because there are not so many guys dropping into coverage. Now Eric Moulds and Peerless Price often let us know when they're not getting the ball. But just because the Bills will have a run-first mentality doesn't mean Eric and Peerless won't catch the ball as much this season.

When there's a second-and-two instead of a second-and-seven, teams can throw a 35-yard ball down the field, knowing that on third and two they can get the first down with a run. In Kevin Gilbride's offense, Buffalo should get into more conventional down-and-distances, such a third and three, third and four, second and five or second and six – where there's a 50-50 shot of a run or pass. If teams often find themselves in a second or third and nine, not too many running plays are going to help them out. The Bills will have more opportunities to throw the football just because of the down-and-distance factor.

When a team faces a second or third and long, it is attempting more low-percentage passes. So from that standpoint, it looks like there is more opportunity for the receivers, but in reality those opportunities aren't as good as the opportunities that come along in second or third and short situations resulting from a consistent running attack …

Every time a team takes a player such as Josh Reed so high in the draft, they're really drafting an insurance policy. The Bills were certainly drafting Josh to make sure they have a guy next year who has one year of experience if Peerless goes to another team after his contract is up. 

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!. For more of Tasker's column check out Shout! on the newsstands the week of July 28. Or call 1-800-932-4557 to subscribe.


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