I guess this is our week two preview of the 2011 Buffalo Bills season, but I'm not sure how much of a real preview it is. If you want your typical pre-game rundown, you can go to forty other Bills sites to get all your links to the same articles and posts about injuries and all that other bullshit. I could care less.
First things first. Everybody needs to calm the fuck down. I was just as excited as anybody else to see the madness that occurred last week, and I'd be a damn liar if I said that it had no effect on my outlook this week, but the Bills are a team that is still a looooooong ways away from making a major impact. I'm not trying to be a purveyor of doom, in fact, I pray to God that I'm wrong and this team cruises to a 11 - 5 season and a wild card birth. But this is still the same exact team that the majority of knowledgeable fans were predicting to go anywhere from 5 - 11 to 8 - 8 only a week ago. This team still has major issues, so sit back, take a deep breath, and R-E-L-A-X.
Are they better than we thought they were? Fuck to the yes. Am I telling you not to enjoy the game Sunday and be feel hopeless? No sir. All I am saying is stop with all this "Chan is taking us to the promise land" Bullshit, or even better, let's lock up Fitzpatrick to a long term deal. I love Fitzy. He is a goddamn gunslinger. He has a beard that makes Brian Wilson jealous (not the beach boy, Mom). He has maybe the greatest nickname in the NFL, "The Amish Rifle". However, Fitz has been anything but consistent in his career. Take a look at his stats from last season.
Take a look at week 3 and 4. Memorable games where Fitz looked like the man even despite the loss, right? Now look at week 5 and 6, where his numbers dip, and if you remember correctly, the offense was giving fans seizures of frustration with their inability to move the ball. Now remember back to the shellacking they gave Cincy in week 10. The following three weeks, Fitzpatrick was less than impressive. Sure, Buffalo almost won the Pittsburgh game, but the Amish Rifle also made some key mistakes that could have helped Buffalo avoid overtime, and thus the loss. Also keep in mind how awful he looked in week 15 against New England. Still has to face them twice this year.
My point, if not already painfully obvious, is that I think everyone needs to wait a few weeks before we start anointing this guy the next Jim Kelly. As fans, we jumped the gun with Flutie and Johnson. We jumped the gun with Bledsoe. And disgustingly, we jumped the gun with Trent Edwards. Let's all agree to just keep our feet on the ground for a few weeks before we go make some rash decision like trading Philip Rivers straight up for Fitzy in fantasy football, or maybe buying that $300 authentic game-day jersey from the Bills store. Baby steps people, baby steps.
This all brings me to my next point. IF this team continues to over-achieve and win big games, they are doing so IN SPITE of Ralph Wilson, not because of him. When he tries to take credit for any success this team might have this season, fans should drive to his office at One Bills Drive and collectively give him the finger....then drive home and mail him a box of human feces. Take a look at this gem he dropped on the Buffalo News yesterday
: "Buddy and Chan have done a fabulous job in identifying players that have been cut by other teams and working with them," he said. "They're doing a heckuva job. I'll tell you, we wouldn't be where we're at today if we had Buddy 10 years ago."
No shit, Ralph, you senile son-of-a-bitch. Maybe if you had any idea how a professional sports team is run we wouldn't be in this situation. GGGGRRRRRRRAAAAAARRRRR! Every time I read that quote I feel like smashing my head through a brick wall. I need scotch, hold on.......
Back. Now that I'm alcohol infused, I will try to get to the positive crap. After all, we are 1 - 0 and just got done beating a division winner 41 - 7. Not too shabby, and better than any realistic fan could have hoped for. Last week as the DGWU crew gathered in Yachtsman's man-cave, we watched in complete shock as this team looked like the real deal. On several occasions, captain naysayer himself repeated the lines "I don't like this. I'm not supposed to be this happy on Sundays".
The best thing to come out of the whole game was the sheer effort the entire team put forth. You could see how hard the team was playing on every down. That hasn't been present on a Bills team in years. Dicky J's lackadaisical attitude screwed this team up big time, but now they finally appear to be moving on. Marcell "Biggie Smalls" Dareus and Kyle "random white rapper name" Williams were pushing lineman all over the field, Freddie Jackson tore up the ground like a starting RB should, and the receiving corp, oooooooooh the receiving corp! Fuck Lee Evans. Stevie Johnson is a stud, plain and simple. That is one comment I will not hold back on after that win. Lock that that kid up now. David Nelson is a mini-stud. The 6'5" bad-ass made some fantastic catches and should easily fill my prediction of over 50 catches and 6 TD's
. Finally, Scott Chandler is everything I have hoped and dream of since Pete Metzelaars left, and I'm begging for big things from the waiver wire pick-up. Again, not getting too excited. everybody remember Mark Campbell's big, three touchdown game?
This week's home opener should be interesting. Saying that Oakland is a much better team than Kansas City defensively is an understatement. Richard Seymour and Matt Shaughnessy are beasts off the line, and despite no Asomugha this season, veterans Chris Johnson and Michael Huff (if he plays) force QB's to take the secondary seriously.
On offense, Jason Campbell is nothing more than serviceable, but worse QB's have smoked our Bills before. It does help that top threat, Jacoby Ford is ruled out for the game. At least I think he is. I'm too lazy too check. The real problem will come from Darren McFadden and Michael BUSH BUSH BUSH! (Disclaimer: you will only get that last joke if you attended Binghamton University from 1999-2003. So that means maybe three of you) Both players could give the defense fits. Keep in mind that Buffalo's offense last week allowed their own defense to face mostly pass plays due to K.C. being so far behind. Depsite that, Jamaal Charles still gained 56 yards on 10 carries. 5.6 per carry from the Raiders duo would spell doom for Buffalo. Best to avoid it and let Chris Kelsay take one for the team on the first play from scrimmage, and take a knee shot on McFadden. I'm O.K. with it if you are. Actually, I'm O.K. with it no matter what you think. I also asked the rest of the partners at DGWU for some pre-game comments. At the time I was ready to post, I only received a response from the Barrister. Surprise. The guy who has written our last three posts comes through again. Many similar, yet superiorly written thoughts follow: "Scizz wants a pregame comment from the Barrister, huh? Jesus, dude, how lazy can you get? And if you cite work, I swear I will smack you right in that pretty face of yours.
Moving on, as I must, I think this Bills game will come down to whether the Raiders run defense can be contained or, more to the point, whether the Raiders actually stick with it enough to give a talent like McFadden a chance to get going. Maybe the Bills run D is actually worlds better, but we don't know, because KC basically abandoned it (though, when you're down 20 in the 2nd quarter, you kind of have a knife to your throat....or a tomahawk...fucking racist fucking team name...eat a dick Kansas. And you too, Missouri). Oakland's O-Line is much better than the Chiefs, and if they start running all over the Bills, this could be a shit-show of an afternoon. However, I think its pretty clear that the Bills offense is clicking in a big way, and I expect that it will be able to put enough points up on the board to give the team a chance to win. If those points go up early, the main test for the Raiders is going to be whether they stick with the running game enough to hurt the Bills, or whether they start relying on Jason Campbell's arm. If they choose the Campbell option, Bills win. If they choose the running option, we'll see what kind of impact Dareus and Barnett actually have on this team.
And finally, it should be noted that last time I went to McFadden's for a Bills game, I had seventeen beers and five plates of wings. I was 25 years old. Sunday is going to be an exploration in how badly I've aged. Can't wait."
Aw, he thinks I'm pretty! On to my prediction for this week: 14 beers, 4 shots, 2 lbs of wings, and a hangover at 9pm. I don't make football predictions, but I usually have a pretty good handle on how drunk I'll get. Which reminds me! On Sunday, the DGWU crew will be recording episode 15 of the CrapTastiCast from McFadden's Saloon
on 42nd and 2nd in NYC. Matt Kabel of the NYC Bills backers
is an old friend, and has been awesome in making this happen. Get ready for another on location podcast! If you live in the tri-state area, we fully expect you to stop by and say hello. Don't look Yachter in the eyes though. He will either bite, scream obscenities at you, or both. And definitely DO NOT mention if you are from Rochester. Bottles will be thrown.
The recording will start around 11am for pre-game and we will be staying after to watch the game, and perhaps get some fan reactions. We will be the old guys in the front of the bar staring awkwardly at younger women while getting aggressively intoxicated.
I leave you with one of my favorite Rap Groups of my college years, The Beatnuts. Enjoy the entire video, however skip to the 2:32 mark to see my man Greg Nice dancing the same exact way I fully expect the Barrister to be dancing by halftime. That right there would be worth the price of admission.
Incredible Bulk or Aaron Maybin? You decide the future!
Not too much to talk about really. Due to the Sabres incredible run, we here at DGWU have totally fell off the wagon in paying attention to the draft. The only thing that I've really been able to talk about is the lack of skill the Bills have shown in drafting in my EPIC FAIL series. You can zip over to the right of the page under tags and click on "epic fail" in order to check them out and realize the silliness of recent drafts.. HOWEVER, my hopes are high this year. Buddy Nix looks like he may have finally made some proper selections (although Spiller still drives me crazy) and this year they have a prime spot by picking 3rd overall.
Almost everything I have read and seen lately has the Bills taking OLD Von Miller 3rd overall. I'm torn on this because I absolutely love Cam Newton's athletic ability, but I recently heard "draft expert" Mel Kiper say that Von can contribute immediately due to his skill in pass rushing and coverage. Also his name is so close to legendary announcer Van Miller that maybe it's a sign. Who knows, I'm an idiot.. There are also rumors the Bills like QB Christian Ponder in the second round and...Wow. Just re-read everything I wrote. Worst. Draft. Preview. Ever. But what do you expect with the amount of Sabres obsession and alcohol consumption that we have all put in our systems lately? Check out Joe's draft coverage over Buffalowins
for some true intelligence. He has put together some great posts and interviews leading up to the big day.
You know what is insanely crazy? The Yachtsman and I going to meet and hang out with Andre Reed tonight for the first round of the draft tonight. BOOM! Mr. Reed is in town to announce the Bills 2ns round pick tomorrow at Radio City, so he contacted Matt over at the New York City Buffalo Bills Backers and said he wanted to watch at a Bills bar with the fans. Incredible. You can view the draft party e-mails here
. Also check out Andre on twitter @Andre_Reed83. So come join the DGWU crew and Andre friggin' Reed at McFadden's on 42nd and 2nd in NYC for the 10th annual draft party. Cheep beer, free wings, NFL draft, and ANDRE REED!!! What else do you need?? Cam Newton, maybe? O.K., I'll stop.
You can go anywhere else in the Buffalo blogosphere right now and read some amazing posts about the Sabres playoff game tonight (especially here, here, and here), so I figured I'd write something a little closer to my heart. There is a great feeling in the air right now. For me it is a combination of terror, anxiety, and pure adrenaline...I call it a "PuppaBeebe". It brought up some memories that I have been wanting to share for awhile now, so here goes nothing.
Home Sweet...kinda home
As most of you know, the authors of this blog are ex-pats, uplifted from their roots and currently living in or around New York City. However, I am not "technically" from Buffalo or it's surrounding suburbs. I grew up 50 miles South of Buffalo in a tiny village/farm-town whose only claim to fame is one quasi-celebrity
and one quasi-pro-athlete
. It was a great little place to grow up in, but for the longest time when asked where I was from, my reponse was "Buffalo". There is rarely a person in New York City who knows where the hell Franklinville is, so Buffalo is the easiest answer. Yet Buffalo is a place I have always identified with. I mean since there was NOTHING in my town, Buffalo was where my family and friends traveled for shopping, entertainment, and anything else non-cow related.
Most importantly, Buffalo was where my teams were. The Bills and the Sabres were the real reasons I identified with Buffalo. Sure, I spent time on Chippewa partying....after I turned 21 of course (Hi Mom). I wasted countless hours roaming the Walden Galleria. I tried weekly to convince my parents to take me to Duff's or Anchor Bar. But the teams were my true love. These teams as it turns out, or more importantly their fans are one of the main reasons I am still living in the Tri-State area. Confused?
Ali/Frazier. Yankees/Red Sox. Ferris Bueller/Ed Rooney. And then there is this....
As we all know, Buffalo and it's surrounding counties are not exactly a hot bed of financial success and opportunity right now, nor were they almost eight "holy shit" years ago when I graduated college (pause to fight anxiety attack and tears. Aaaaaaaand I'm good). However, after graduating in 2003 I got a job in Cheektowaga and there I worked for a solid nine months at a job that sucked. The people were cool but it was wiping me out. I was working 75-80 hours a week, I missed my college girlfriend who was in Long Island, I gained over 20 pounds, and I was not doing anything that even remotely resembled what I thought I would be doing after graduation. I knew I had to leave the area I loved.
Enter June 2004, and I was on my way to New York City. I had a couch at my best friend's apartment in Queens, a couple grand in the bank, and absolutely zero job prospects, but I figured what the fuck; let's do this. The problem? I had no idea what "this" was. I eventually found a shitty job that paid enough to get a decent enough apartment but life in the city was not exactly for me. I had a few friends here, but damnit I missed Western New York. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just missed it. I was seriously considering calling it quits and heading back home. Maybe I wasn't meant to be here and needed to be within driving distance to Mighty Taco or Jim's Steak-Out. I was about to start looking in to leaving New York, and then it happened:
The details are still fuzzy from most of these days
It was the 2004 pre-season and I was dying to watch my Bills play. I googled "Buffalo Bills Bar NYC" and found a bunch of dead-ends. I would call bars and ask about Bills' fans watching their games and got the basic "No, we don't show those games anymore" or "I have no idea what you are talking about". Then I found it; The Buffalo Bills Backers of NYC
at McFadden's on 42nd and 2nd. I sent an e-mail to a random guy named Matt and the following Thursday night I was watching a pre-season game with about 10 other Bills fans AT A BAR IN FUCKING NEW YORK CITY!!! Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal now, because every sports team seems to have their own "spot" in the city to watch games with other fans, but at the time this was cutting edge. God's honest truth, the only other fans that were pulling this off were from Pittsburgh, Boston, and Philly. After that night the rest was history. I never missed a game at McFadden's for the next three seasons. It was my release, my connection back home, my excuse to get drunk on a Sunday afternoon and fall asleep on someone's lawn at 6pm in the middle of Flushing (actually happened).
I don't think I have ever told anyone this, but if it was not for McFadden's I would not be here. I was sick and tired of New York and having that little taste of Buffalo/Western New York once a week saved me from leaving. I just needed a fix. A $20 all you can eat and drink fix with total strangers who had the same passion that I had. I met people there that I am still friends with today. My girlfriend and I actually became an official "couple" after I took her to McFadden's a few years ago. I kid you not. Drunk and in our matching Poz Jersey's
, we declared our admiration for each other and made it happen. You can't make this shit up.
This past year, despite the fact that the Bills are a terrible franchise, I decided to grab a couple of friends and go back for old times sake. It was like I never missed a game. The Bills slaughtered the Bengals and the only difference was the celebratory drinks at the end of the game. Instead of a SoCo and Lime shot, it was a 12 year Macallan's (Thanks Nate).
Things done changed
Then it happened again. It was Spring 2007 and I started becoming disillusioned with the big city. I had a huge break-up and was in the middle of switching careers so the entire idea of "NYC" just made me bitter and angry. Western New York seemed like the best place to go in order to lick my wounds and revitialize. Wrong again. All I needed was the Buffalo Sabres, NHL playoffs, and some die-hard fans. The Sabres were on their way to winning the President's trophy and I was following every game. It was one of the only things making me happy over that time span.
I distinctly remember my college friend Dri telling me to come hang out with her at some bar on the Upper East Side called Kinsale Tavern
because her boyfriend was bartending there. She promised he would put the Sabres game on because they had the NHL package. So I called up one of my high school buddies who now lived in the city and a couple of friends I had met at a bar during the playoffs the previous season and we decided that this place was a prime spot for our hockey needs. In fact, Dri even said that there was a couple of lunatics that were coming in for almost every single game that season anyways, so they always had the game on. Enter The Yachtsman and The Apologist. A bond was formed.
Actual photo of Yachtsman and Apologist? You be the judge.
There was no turning back now, Kinsale had literally become our home. We knew all the bartenders by name and they knew us. The Owner was well aware of our congregation and he made sure to have Blue on draft (Thanks to The Yachtsman) and flatscreens with sound for us every game. One random night they even let us hang a Sabres flag up that stayed there until just a few months ago. I made friends during that playoff stretch that I will be close to my entire life. I have been to a wedding of a couple that I met at Kinsale and they even have a brand-new beautiful baby boy (I told them to name him Jhonas. Didn't happen). Bottom line is, if it was not for The Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, I most likely would have bailed on New York and some of the best friendships of my life would have never been formed. I sure wouldn't be writing for this blog. Although maybe Phil from Blue & Black & Gold
would have me if I ended up in Buffalo? Wink.
These teams bring people together. Yeah this Pegula thing might be a bit over-played, and maybe we are a biiiiiit too confident as fans heading into this first round match-up, but damnit doesn't this feel great right now? I know both teams have broken all of our hearts insurmountable times, but when it comes down to it it's not just about the teams, its about the people you watch these teams with. Those people are WNYers, and they are fucking phenomenal. Corny cliche finished. Enjoy the series everybody and look for round two of the DGWU Sports podcast next week! OOOH! AAAH! SABRES ON THE WARPATH!!!!Sidenote: Watching the game toninght at Kinsale (like old times) on 93rd and 3rd. Stay tuned to find out where else you can join DGWU Sports to watch the playoffs!
Why do the players I like always let me down? Also, I am MEGA constipated right now.
Apologies to anyone who actually checked the blog last weekend looking for my addendum to my 2007 draft class anaylsis (Ha). I truly sat down to type it up Saturday afternoon, but quickly realized I had way to much to say about the top two picks from this specific draft class, and that entire draft in general. I started remembering a lot about the actual day, as well as my huge expectations and love for both of these players. It was no longer a quick post, but becoming a full blown column, so I figured I would save it for today. Before I get into it too much, a little about the day itself.
April 28th, 2007. McFadden's Sports Bar in New York City. 1 p.m. This was before the NFL realized they could make even more $$$ by moving the opening rounds of the draft into primetime, thus ruining what was always a fantastic day of sports talk with friends and heavy drinking over several hours. I met up with several friends and fellow Bills' fans that day, but arrived with my good friend TomDogg at about Noon in order to get a spot by the bar. It was going to be a good day.
The beer started flowing immediately, and as JaMarcus Russell walked to the podium, signaling another EPIC, EPIC, EPIC failure for the Oakland Raiders, I felt confident. Buffalo was coming off a much improved 2006 season under new Coach Dick Jauron, and more importantly new GM Marv Levy. The draft class from the year before appeared to have some solid sleepers (obviously I was wrong
), and the available draftees of 2007 looked incredibly deep. The bar was packed, and as a result of the draft itself taking place in NYC, people that were actually at Radio City started trickling in after their teams had selected. TomDogg and I actually ended up hanging out with a couple of Green Bay Packers' and Arizona Cardinals' fans. It was a joyous occasion for all. In fact, before Buffalo ever selected, my favorite moment of the draft occurred. But more on that later. On to the heartbreak.
How's my Drivin'? Call 1-800-555-THUG
I loved this pick. I don't care what anyone else says. I knew he could be trouble, but everything about him football-wise was amazing. He worked hard, played harder, and was actually thrilled to come to Buffalo. I wanted Patrick Willis more than anyone else, but after San Fran snatched him up right before Buffalo's pick, this was my next favorite choice. And since Marv made the pick, I figured that the worries about his character issues were in the past. Obviously that last part was incorrect, but everything Marshawn did on the field in his 3+ seasons with the Buffalo Bills made me happy. Yes, he had his moments in 2009 where he thought he was an outside the tackles runner, but he eventually reverted back to his power running ways. I could be wrong, but I don't think I ever questioned his heart or work ethic.
The two headed Freddie Jackson-Marshawn backfield was solid. At least this fan/writer/teacher/handsome sonuvabitch thinks so. It could have worked long-term, I really think so. However, the ridiculous drafting of C.J. Spiller ended that pairing before it ever had a chance to REALLY get started. Here there was two players with very different styles and skills in the Bills' hands, and they dropped one for a lousy 4th round pick (which they will most likely fuck up) because "the best player available at the time of the draft" was an undersized specialty player who "could be" a "gamebreaker". I feel like Dr. Evil with all of these quotations, but for God's sake this STILL pisses me off.
Some of my favorite moments watching the games from Calico Jacks in NYC happened to be when Marshawn would bust a 15 yard run up the middle without any hole ever opening up, my friends and I flashing the BEAST MODE sign and going nuts. I know many people loved the Spiller pick originally, and just as many, if not more were fine with the Lynch trade to Seattle. but c'mon people. Tell me you didn't miss Beast Mode even a little bit when you saw this run during the playoffs last year:
In theatres this summer: Marvel's THOR
Just as I was settling into loving that Marshwan selection, someone yells out from the bar "IT SAYS BUFFALO IS ON THE CLOCK!!!" The place erupts in cheers. Everyone in the building with any inkling of knowledge knew exactly what had just happened. The Bills had traded up to the 34th spot in order to select Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny. It was no secret that experts and fans alike had been predicting that Buffalo would make some sort of move to grab "Poz".
Originally thought to a mid-1st round selection, Poz slipped down the charts and Buffalo jumped at the chance to have a Shane Conlan clone. Conlan anchored the Bills' defensive backfield through the 90's and hell, Poz even wore his jersey number at Penn State in his honor. How could this go wrong? It was a perfect fit. I for one was even more excited because I had just started dating a girl who went to Penn State who was football obsessed, and this gave us a little common ground to enjoy games together. In fact, one of the first gifts I ever bought her was a Poz jersey (and before you make fun of me for that, she loved it, and is still with me today. So suck on that).
How has the pick turned out? A resounding meh. I hate to say it, but Poz has been no better than a run-of-the-mill NFL linebacker. That isn't necessarily a bad thing considering that so many players are out of the league within three years, but he has not lived up to the huge expectations that Bills fans, myself included set forth on him. He also has not exactly been a player of great health. The first mistake was moving him to middle-linebacker in a poor 4-3 defense, but I could go on with that for another 2000 words.
This upcoming season (if there is one), Poz will be a free-agent. Although Buffalo has tendered him an offer, it may mean absolutely nothing if a new CBA is agreed upon. What should Buffalo do? I honestly don't have an answer. Poz had a strong season in the new 3-4 defense, creating six turnovers (which was tied for the NFL lead) and was among the league leaders in tackles despite missing several games AGAIN with injury. But Poz has yet to make a pro bowl, and last year was a contract year.
As you saw fron the title of this post, I have been emotionally invested in both of these players. From day one I was a huge supporter. I own a Poz jersey. I own a Marshawn BEAST MODE t-shirt. I absolutely thought that these guys were the future of the team. But alas, I have been let down again. I'd like to say I'm still holding out for Poz to return and have a monster season that I always knew he was capable of, but that would be a lie. I have honestly become quite indifferent about the entire situation (kind of like anything political in the U.S. at this present moment).
Which brings me to my most lasting memory from the 2007 draft. The Miami Dolphins were on the clock with the 9th pick overall. They desperately needed a quarterback and Notre Dame star, Brady Quinn was still available. In a bar with mostly Buffalo fans, everyone was almost certain that Quinn would get snatched up immediately, especially after the commisioner walked to the podium made with time still left on the clock. What happened next was one of the best examples of unintentional comedy in the history of sports:
Ted Ginn Jr. A guy that many draft experts might fall to the 2nd round. Hilarious. I wish I had video of McFaddens when that went down. Tagliabue did not even get the "n's" in Ginn out before the bar erupted in laughter. Amazing. Even my friend TomDogg, who is a diehard Giants fan still considers this an amazing moment. Then again, the Dolphins have made the playoffs in the last 10 years. EPIC FAIL.