Seahawks Insider

The 5 spot: Bills in focus

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 14, 2012 at 5:57 am with 23 Comments »
December 14, 2012 6:02 am
Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams. (AP file photo)

Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, who regularly covers the Buffalo Bills, steps to the plate to answer five questions on the team. We appreciate you taking the time Mark. You can check out Marks work in print here, and on Twitter here.

Check out the Q&A below.

1. Marshawn Lynch seems like a different person after the midseason trade that sent him from Buffalo to Seattle in 2010, running for over 1,000 yards the last two seasons. What were the issues that led to the Bills wanting to move on from Lynch, and what do you think the response will be to his return from the fans on Sunday? (I know the game is in Toronto, so that could make a difference in fan response.)

Gaughan: I think the Bills viewed him as too much of a high-maintenance player after he had some run-ins with the law. They had a very good running back in the fold in Fred Jackson, and they had a new regime taking over that wanted to turn the page. So they drafted C.J. Spiller. I don’t think there will be much response in Rogers Centre, a smattering of boos and cheers. If the game was in Buffalo, then there would be a fair amount of boos for him.

2. The Bills received a lot of attention during the free agency period after signing defensive end Mario Williams to the most lucrative contract for a defensive player in league history. Williams has 10.5 sacks on the year, but has he lived up to the lofty expectations that come with his immense contract?

Gaughan: He hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations because the team isn’t winning, and he started off slowly due to the fact he suffered a wrist injury just before the regular-season began. It may be impossible for him to live up to the expectations placed on him by the contract. But he has seven sacks in six games since having a surgical procedure on the wrist during the bye week. And he is playing very stout run defense, just like he did in Houston. So he’s not part of their problems, he’s part of their solutions.

3. C.J. Spiller was one of the most explosive players in the 2010 draft. He’s on the verge of rushing for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and has an impressive 6.6 per carry average. However, he’s still had to split carries with Fred Jackson, who was recently placed on the injured reserve list with a knee issue. Do you feel Spiller has been used effectively?

Gaughan: He has been used effectively but not enough. He needs to get the ball more. There are some understandable reasons why he hasn’t gotten the ball in this situation or that situation. But the bottom line is he’s their best offensive weapon and he hasn’t gotten it enough. The offense was on the field 58 plays vs. St. Louis and he got eight touches. They lost by three.

4. The Bills are headed toward a 13th straight season of missing the postseason, the longest playoff drought in the league. Is there a feeling that Chan Gailey is on the cusp of getting things turned around after three seasons as Buffalo’s head coach? And is Ryan Fitzpatrick the long-term answer at quarterback?

Gaughan: There were high expectations the Bills would make a strong push for a playoff spot this season, so there is great frustration and disappointment in their 5-8 record. Gailey is on a very hot seat, as far as the fans are concerned. General manager Buddy Nix has stated several times he has no desire to start anew with a different coach. Ryan Fitzpatrick is widely viewed as not being the long term answer at quarterback.

5. How do Buffalo fans feel about having to play every year in Toronto? And what are the reasons for the annual trek across the border?

Gaughan: Bills fans generally don’t like the Toronto arrangement. A fair percentage of them, however, do recognize that the series is good for the team’s bottom line and that the team has mostly maxed out the corporate sponsorships and support it can get in the greater Buffalo area. So regionalism is very important to the viability of the franchise. The Bills say roughly 20 percent of the fans at games in Orchard Park are from Southern Ontario, and a tad more than 15 percent of them are from the Rochester area (an hour east of Buffalo). So without those two regional markets, Buffalo would not be able to fill its stadium.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. montanamike2 says:

    I bet a lot of Bills fans can’t even get into Canada, they’re upset about 100 miles? We have to go to the other side of the continent.

  2. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Yea, Montana is a long way from just about anywhere but it sure is a beautiful place to go. I almost talked my girlfriend into moving there a couple years ago.

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I’m glad we don’t have Mario Williams and his big contract.

  4. princeaden says:

    Georgia, agree and agree. I too think this game is a bit dangerous and will be quite telling as to how much this team has matured or needs to mature. That said, I think we will go into Toronto and take care of it. Lynch will get his requisite 22 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown. Wilson will pass for 242 yards and 2td’s and we come home 27-13 winners. SF loses in Foxboro and hello Sunday night at the Clink. What an event that will be.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    Everyone seems to be looking past this game and onto Dec 23rd, myself included. I just hope that it’s only us outside the VMAC that’s guilty of this. If they do lose to the Bills, it devalues the past two weeks and returns Seattle to the hyperbolic “pretenders” moniker the national sporting press likes to refer to them as.

  6. Any game on the road is a “dangerous” game for this team.

  7. trout_hound says:

    At least the game will be at a somewhat neutral site. If we can keep Spiller contained, and unleash the Beast, we will be fine. It’s our road defense that needs to step up.

    I agree Georgia, Montana is a beautiful place to live, I must say. I love it here.

  8. sluggo42 says:

    With Jackson out, spiller gets more touches. This guy is dangerous. They key is going to be keeping the offense on the field with long drives and time of possession. Hopefully fitz does his standard meltdown and their coach is actually as bad as their fans claim he is…

  9. GeorgiaHawk says:

    It will be interesting to see if Trufant and/or Hill will make any significant contributions moving forward now that the youngsters seem to be doing well in their place.
    I think I prefer they stay with the youngsters because sadly I think father time is catching up with Trufant and Hill.

  10. Helenahawk says:

    Montana is a wonderful place, the last best place. But today is only 18 degrees outside, and that is not enough degrees for my old bones. Brrrr.
    I think the Hawks will do fine this week. The hunger and desire this team has has been on display the last two weeks, and by halftime the Bills should be on the ropes. I think we will see a contest of wills, with the Hawks having better talent, and I hope better coaching. Our D is better, our O is better, and I hope their coach makes the bonehead move instead of ours making the bonehead move. The homefield advantage is not very strong here, so I like our chances.

  11. Sluggo, agree. More touches for Spiller is scary. Especially, since the SF game, it seems the run D has taken a step backwards. It may be just perception, but maybe SF gave the league a blue print on how to run against the Hawks.

  12. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I keep saying it so perhaps it will happen this week. Thomas is due for an int or more.

    I also want to see Wilson throw some tds and get closer to the rookie record, however not if it means we lose.

  13. montanamike2 says:

    I’m amazed how many Montana fans are here!
    It is cold and there’s a lot of snow here in Bozeman, if anyone ever visits remember to bring swim shorts.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    After college I spent nearly a year at Big Sky, just south of Bozeman in the Gallatin valley. Heaven.

  15. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I just started posting over at Seahawks Addicts, ( like I said over there) It seems kind of weird, like someone cheating on their girlfriend, but it’s not so bad after you find out your girlfriend is going to start charging you.

    Jumping from ship to ship is usually not my thing, ( because I like stability) however I have a gut feeling that this is the best thing to do for now. At least until I get a clearer picture of what site will be best to stay with.

  16. montanamike2 says:

    I live at 4 corners, by the hot springs, it’s about 1/4 way to Big Sky.
    You must have passed it dozens of times. The place was nasty and it suspiciously burned down 10 days before being reposessed. Now it’s rebuilt into a world class facility. Back to football, this is a must win game. We have the talent on paper, we just need to execute.

  17. “It seems kind of weird, like someone cheating on their girlfriend, but it’s not so bad after you find out your girlfriend is going to start charging you.”

    That’s some funny shit!

  18. I’d sign up if the monthly subscription for the blog was $4.95 or less. That seems reasonable to me. But, $120 per year translates to two tickets to the game…that’s way too much and especially for those of us who only use the blog and could care less about the newspaper. Oh, well..it was a good thing while it lasted.

  19. NYHawkFan says:

    It wouldn’t be hard to start your own blog. Obviously there are enough posters here to support one, but what Eric and the other Tribune guys bring to the party is access to the players. (Thank you Eric, you do a great job.) You’d need someone running the blog to have a press pass in order to do what Eric does.

    Therefore, ‘the powers that be’ (at the Tribune) are betting that while we may disappear in a huff for a time, we’ll eventually return and be willing to pay (hopefully a modest price) to get the ‘inside’ content we desire.

    If Seattle’s D can contain Speller, this game won’t be close. We’re a more balanced and powerful team on offense IMO.

  20. NYHawkFan says:

    Today’s front page of NFL.com features a photo of Russel Wilson with the caption: “How far can Russell Wilson lead the Seahawks in the playoffs? NFL GameDay experts debate”

  21. mojjonation says:

    Willimas is a younger and more expensive version of Julius Peppers. You handle him the same way. Chip him, rub him, push him, just disrupt his flight path to the QB enough and it should keep Wilson upright. Not that RDub can’t escape, but I bet it would be more frustrating to not be able to get to the QB than to chase him out of the pocket and have your buddies tackle him.

    The Bills have been irrelevant since Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas left. Another year in the tank is nothing new to them. I support us keeping them there and having the fans enraged by SuperMarios enormous contract.

  22. yellaman says:

    This my last weekend to participate on this site so i just wanted to comment that the hawks need lynch to have a big game and for the team start off quick because whenever we start slow on the road it appears to be a confidence builder for the home team and gives them confidence to win the game. We need another fast start like we had against AZ i looking forward to a meaningful hawks vs. 49ers game

  23. With all the CB troubles – our pass rush HAS to be present ALL DAY LONG. They don’t need sacks – but they need hurries, knock downs, and happy feet out of the QB.

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