I'm really psyched about this feature. The SBNation AFC East writers, cajoled and threatened by Buffalo Rumbling's BrianG, got together and traded questions about each other's teams. So far, everything's been rather cordial, but I'm sure the gloves will come off by Week 3. In this story, you'll find my questions to the other head writers. In another story, I'll post questions posed to me with my answers. Without further adieu, here's the skinny from Buffalo Rumblings , The Phinsider and The Jets Blog .
The Patriots @ Bills Week 11 matchup turned out to be the highest scoring game for the Patriots. Many decried this as proof positive NE was running up the score. Is this how most Bills fans feel or was it a case of NE just playing 60 minutes?
Buffalo Rumblings : I can tell you right now that there were a lot of peeved Bills fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium that night - I was one of them. I personally didn't feel that the Pats ran up the score - Buffalo's defense didn't even attempt to play football that night; a junior high team could have thrown up 56. What irritated me was that New England's starters played so long - Tom Brady played into the fourth quarter, for crying out loud.
I don't hold anything against the Pats for that game, though - they dominated Buffalo through and through that night, and could have easily scored 60+. Rest assured that the Bills will have that game on their mind when we play y'all on November 9. I appreciate you bringing it up, though - now I'm glad I asked you about Spygate. ;)
Junior High team, huh? Not to call you out, but with a 7-9 2007 regular season, seems like the Bills played a lot of Junior High teams. They've made some moves on defense this year, so we'll have to wait and see.
Ever since Bill Parcells has arrived in town, he's begun cleaning house. What moves has he made that you view as beneficial and what moves could he make to further strengthen the team?
The Phinsider : Allow me to answer the second part of your question first. I don't think there are any moves that Parcells could make at this point in time that would be greatly beneficial to this team's 2008 success. Perhaps a couple of waiver wire guys prior to the regular season to add some depth might be expected. But that's it. However, I think a move that could further strengthen the team for beyond 2008 would be to deal Jason Taylor away at some point in time. It could be during camp or it could be during the regular season right before the trade deadline (a la Chris Chambers last season). But if any team offers a 2nd round pick for Taylor, it might be wise to make the deal and improve this team for the future.
As far a what Bill has already done, I love it. He's gotten rid of some of the underachieving veterans and has brought in some solid depth. The safety position, which was a big problem last year, is now very deep with experience. They aren't very talented players, but depth is no longer a concern. Same goes with the linebackers, where the additions of Reggie Torbor and Akin Ayodele will go a long way towards improving against the run.
But perhaps my favorite Parcells' moves all revolve around the classic Parcells theory that you build a football team from the trenches out. I love the additions to the offensive line and I'm even more excited about the additions to the defensive line. This team was dead last against the run in 2007, but that's sure not to be the case in '08. The addition of guys like Jason Ferguson and Randy Starks along with the drafting of Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford really shows that this team is dedicated to stopping the run. Needless to say, I'm very excited about that.
Depth is good. Talent and depth is better, but at least "The Tuna" has his head in the right place. It sounds like a team he used to coach, doesn't it? The Pats didn't have a lot of stars, but he sure was able to put them on the road to 3 Lombardis.
The Patriots just signed former Jets linebacker and free agent, Victor Hobson to a one year deal. I view this a good move to fill the gap between the old guard (Bruschi, Seau, Vrabel) and the new guard (Crable, Mayo) while the rookies come up to speed. Why did the Jets not re-sign Hobson? Performance? Cap space?
The Jets Blog : For the role you just outlined, Victor Hobson is perfect. He's a good insurance policy until the rookies get their feet under them, but I don't see Hobson starting 16 games in New England and racking up 140 tackles. I like Hobson, but he was playing the Weakside OLB in Mangini's 3-4, and he was too slow and too short to do the position justice. He's much better suited for the inside in a 3-4, but he's still not quite fast enough to be a more than a good ILB. So why did he play on the outside in New York? It was a matter of necessity and the Jets just didn't have the personnel to do anything else.
Hobson was a casualty for a number of reasons, performance being the main one. Like I noted, he'll add solid depth and should be able to play inside. But for the Jets, that's a spot that is already occupied by Eric Barton, a veteran leader and willing tackler, along with David Harris, the second year player who statistically would have matched up with Patrick Willis had he started a full season. I think that Hobson is well suited to play inside, but at a minimum, the Patriots should be looking to start their young guys by the end of the season in Hobson's place.
I like Hobson, especially for a 1 year deal. He'll fill the gaps between the veterans and the youngins, giving the latter enough time to reach NFL playing level. And, most importantly, give Bruschi or Seau some time to rest their bones. As much as I hate to admit it, they're starting to need it.
Props to Brian Galliford at Buffalo Rumblings , Matty I at The Phinsider and Brian Bassett at The Jets Blog . Great job guys. Check out their blogs for my answers.