Thursday, October 19, 2006

Loss Man

In the Buffalo sports world, a strange inversion has taken place: it's the NHL Sabres who have the region going crazy (probably because they're going to win that Cup thing everybody talks about!), while the NFL Bills are what we talk about when the Sabres aren't playing for a few days. Strange days...but here's a thread on BfloBlog about the Bills and their problems. Wow, we're more down on the Bills than I thought!

Here's a comment I left there, in response to something Geek said:

[Geek]Let me ask you this; If JP finishes the season with a 55% completion rate, 15TDs and 16INTs for 2400 yards, where do we go from there? Do we stick with him for another year and hope he improves or do we find a better option?[/Geek]

Interesting numbers, because they’re almost identical with those posted by Steve McNair in his first full year as an NFL starter (52% comp, 2665 yds, 14TD, 13INT), Rich Gannon’s (52% comp, 2278 yds, 16TD, 16INT), Matt Hasselbeck’s (54.8%, 2023 yds, 7TD, 8INT), and not too far off Carson Palmer’s (60.9%, 2897 yds, 18TD, 18INT). Those guys turned out fairly well. McNair and Gannon aren’t likely Hall of Famers, but both had long and productive careers.

Maybe Losman will be like them, or maybe he’ll flame out. We don’t know yet. His faults are undeniable, but they are also correctable, and while he still can be maddening to watch, it seems to be equally undeniable that he’s playing better now than he did a year ago. And it also seems undeniable to me that this team has far more grave and structural reasons for not being terribly good: the Bills are downright bad at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, to the point where if you had Steve Young in his prime going under center, I don’t think this team is better than 3-3 right now.

And the Marv Levy bashing is kind of disheartening, I must say. The guy is picking up the pieces left by years of bad coaching, poor talent scouting, and bad drafting. And it goes back farther than Tom Donahoe: John Butler’s last few years here weren’t anything to write home about, and that 2000 draft was an unmitigated disaster. Gregg Easterbrook pointed out in a recent column that you can’t whiff an entire draft without entering a prolonged period of decline as a franchise, and that’s exactly what the Bills did in 2000. Levy’s had one draft, one off-season signing period, and six games so far. How realistic is it to expect that the Donahoe/Butler aftertaste would have left our mouths already?

Summing up: Losman is showing signs of improvement to me, but it’s slow improvement and he needs to step it up. But JP Losman is nowhere near to being this team’s biggest problem.

SO sayeth I.

(I mention John Butler's 2000 Bills draft above; the BfloBlog guys summed up that draft here. That draft was an utter disaster for the Bills. If that had been a good draft, at least two or three of those guys would still be starting here. Ugh.)


brylun said...

Who would you rather have at QB now: Leinart or Losman?

Anonymous said...

I think Losman has the rest of this year to prove he should be there in September. If he improves every week as he has, he should be good to go. However, a franchise cannot invest more than two seasons waiting for their franchise to be worthy.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Who would you rather have at QB now: Leinart or Losman?

My position has remained the same: neither has been around enough to make that comparison meaningful. Leinart's started two games. Since when is that long enough to make an emphatic statement that he's the guy for the ages?