Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for! Your weekly (since this is the second time I’ve done a “Getting to Know” post I can officially call it weekly) post on learning the Chiefs’ upcoming opponent.* This week it happens to be the Buffalo Bills.
*Including a lot of useless information, hyper-linked pictures and videos you will (should) find amusing, as well as anything else about the team Chiefs fans hate for a week that I deem entertaining.
So here we go!
Just like any discussion on an offense, it starts and ends with the quarterback position; and the Bills quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick. A Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick blew the socks off the Wonderlic test, but unfortunately, didn’t blow the socks off NFL scouts. Taken 250th overall in the 2005 draft by the St. Louis Rams,* he eventually made his way to the Bills in 2009 where he became the quarterback who sucked the least amount.**
*While other matchups in the NFL this weekend include the battle of former number one overall picks, Alex Smith with the 49ers and Matthew Stafford with the Lions, the Chiefs-Bills matchup includes the not-too-often battle between seventh-round picks. Our own Cassel was actually taken in the same draft, 20 spots earlier at 230th overall. Exciting stuff here.
**And I would be lament not to mention Tyler Thigpen is listed as the second string QB on the depth chart. Here’s a look at what Chiefs fans are missing.
Well not only did he suck the least amount, but Fitzpatrick did well enough to earn a six-year extension worth $59 million, with $24 million guaranteed at the beginning of the 2011 season. But, unfortunately, he didn’t have to promise he’d be worth it. With a 24-23 TD to INT ratio in 2011,* Fitz was less than stellar. He was, however, the second-coming of Jim Kelly against the Chiefs last season, when he threw for 208 yards on 17/25 passes (68 percent), four TDs and zero INTs. That, of course, came in the Chiefs home opener last season – ONE THAT WE WILL AVENGE.
As far as the rest of the offense: The Bills entered the season with one of the best running back tandems in football. With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (who Eric Berry affectionately knows as Coach Fast) in the backfield, the Bills were in good shape. But one game into the season, and flagship back Jackson is already injured once again with a knee injury. In his place, Spiller has been a bit of a disappointment as a 2010 first-round draft pick. In his first two seasons, he only recorded 844 yards rushing and four TDs. In one game this season, however, Spiller has looked like the ninth overall pick he was, rushing for 169 carries on 14 carries and 1 TD in a losing effort against the Jets.
For the wide receiver position, the Bills will be missing slot receiver David Nelson for the rest of the season after tearing up his knee against the Jets (luckily for Nelson, his girlfriend should be able to take care of him). The Bills still have the notorious Stevie Johnson, who in Kansas City might be known more for the player that ended Eric Berry’s 2011 season than a sometimes funny, sometimes strange touchdown celebrator. Coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, Johnson is the alpha-male of the Bills receiving corps. Opposite of Johnson is Donald Jones, who had a TD and 41 yards receiving last week. Also added to the receiving group was 2012 third-round pick T.J. Graham out of North Carolina State.
For the tight end position, Scott Chandler has been a decent player so far, and started the 2011 season off well with a five-catch, 63-yard, two-TD game against the Chiefs (but honestly, who didn’t have a TD against the Chiefs that game?). Last week, he added another TD to his resume. Head coach Chan Gailey seemed to know how to exploit the Chiefs last season using Chandler, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried it again this year.
Finally, for the offensive line, Evan Silva at Rotoworld ranked the Bills unit as the 13th best in the NFL entering 2012. They were graded out as the best pass protecting line last season, giving up the league-low in sacks at 23 in 2011. Nevertheless, they did not pass on upgrading their unit, and brought in left tackle Cordy Glenn from Georgia with their second-round pick and took Florida State tackle, Zebrie Sanders, in the fifth. Glenn is starting immediately, and anchors a good line that includes (from left to right) Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik and Erik Pears.
The defense was been a thorn in the side of the Bills for several years now. Four of the last five drafts, in fact, the Bills have taken a defensive player with their first round choice.* In 2012, it was CB Stephon Gilmore out of South Carolina. He was added to a defensive backfield that includes 2011 second round pick CB Aaron Williams,** SS George Wilson, and FS Jairus Byrd.
*2009 first round pick, Aaron Maybin, is no longer with the team.
**2008 first round selection, Leodis McKelvin from Troy, is listed as Williams’ backup.
Wilson and Byrd are regarded as one of the best one-two punches there are for a safety unit in the NFL. Wilson had 106 tackles, four INTs and two forced fumbles in 2011 while Byrd added 98 tackles, three INTs and three FF. Just these numbers alone should explain why they are so highly regarded.
Finishing 26th in total defense in 2011, the Bills also went out and got perhaps the second most coveted free agent this offseason, that being DE Mario Williams. Switching to a 4-3 defense in 2012, Williams and his six-year $100 million contract look to improve the Bills front seven. Williams won’t be alone though. 2011 first round pick, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams, and Mark Anderson anchor the defensive line. Veteran linebacker Nick Barnett, 2011 third round pick Kelvin Sheppard, and musically talented Arthur “DaBody” Moats round out the linebacking corps.*
*In case you were wondering, Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman was released by the Bills before the season. What a shame.
Let’s make this short and sweet:
Kicker – Rian Lindell – 80.9 FG percent
Punter – Brian Moorman (who you best remember for this hit*) – 37.6 net punt yard average
*As a Missouri Southern State University alum, I have to spew a little smack toward a Pitt State alum. #Division2Rivalry
At the end of the day, I think the Chiefs will (must) win on the road against the Bills. Of course, that’s what I thought last season, too …