Looking at the team today bright is not the word you would use but looking ahead there is a lot to be encouraged by.
LT - Glenn is looking like one of the best young LTs in the game right now, very strong and very mobile. Blocks well in line and is great at blocking in space and on the run. Is also an efficient pass protector.
LG - Levitre has quietly established himself as maybe the best LG in the AFC with Logan Mankins. Very quick and very strong in the run game and in pas pro. Great at leading in space.
C- Wood has had injuries but is now healthy and has justified his first round selection. Did a great job overall containing the best DT in football (Wilfork) in both the pass and run game.
RG - Urbik - Not quite as highly regarded as the rest but Urbik came to Buffalo as a waiver wire pickup and has become a more than reliable starter. In fact he could be among the top 5-10 guards in the AFC right now. His absence in the Bills lineup was definitely noticed.
RT- Pears/Hairston - Either one have been stout at RT. Both offer solid pass protection and hold their own in the run game.
OL overall - In my opinion this is the best OL unit in the NFL right now. The Saints line would have been with Nicks but with his move to the Bucs I think the Bills are #1. They are simply overlooked due to our record.
DL - We all know the characters - I think this DL is a work in progress and will slowly improve as a unit. A better scheme with better coaching may be the answer but more time together and being healthy is also key. Mario, Kyle, Dareus, Anderson and Merriman are all battling injuries right now that are forcing them to play at less than 100%. I think next year is the year they really show up.
Secondary - Young secondary and that is the biggest problem. Byrd is good but still learning to impact a game consistently. Gilmore is showing why he was a top ten selection but also showing his youth at times. Mckelvin is slowly getting confidence back in his game and Williams who has had a horrible year is out for a while which may do him some good. Mckelvin actually seemed to have a good game on Sunday as Brady found no deep plays open. Wilson and Searcy will be an interesting battle to watch the rest of the season.
Overall I think we are fine in the secondary and next year it can be a very strong unit.
LBs -- Easily the worst unit on the team. No playmakers, no fiery hitters, no one good in pass coverage. They are the main reason our DL rarely gets to the QB. Smart QBs continue to use RBs, backs and receivers on short routes that abuse our LBs. We need serious talent there which will completely reform our defense. What we need is a defensive QB as right now it just seems we have no identity.
Receivers -- This group is developing into a very strong unit of dynamic players, each brings something different to the table. Stevie obviously the main target, after that Jones has made a niche for himself as a reliable slot receiver that has the speed and quickness to separate inside. Chandler has become a threat to any defense over the middle, great hands and knows how to run routes and find spots in zones. These three form a solid core and if TJ Graham can develop into a solid #2 on the outside we will have all the required ingredients.
QB -- Fitz is the best we have right now, but if someone can come in and learn the Gailey system and add to it a stronger arm and more accuracy then we have a top 3 offense.
RB -- Any QB who steps into the huddle for the Bills will have the luxury of having these two RBs who will make life much easier, especially for a rookie QB. Trading Jackson is no longer an option as he is much more valuable to the Bills than he is to another org.
Bills Overall - Young team, loaded with talent in key areas, except at QB, for me that means that we are not far away. Any QB who steps in to this team will have plenty of advantages right away. We also need a QB on defense however, either at safety or at LB. Someone to take charge and make adjustments when needed.
The Bills really are not far away from being a contender in the playoffs let alone making the playoffs.