One of the things we like to do here each week is talk with an opposing blogger and learn about the opposition. And that's why Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings will join us twice this week in preparation for Sunday's Dolphins/Bills game.
Today, Brian answers 3 questions about his 5-1 Bills team. I have also answered 3 questions about the Dolphins - which you can check out over at his site.
Matty I: Alright - be honest. Did you really think the Bills could be this good this quick to start the season? And who/what have been some of the key reasons as to why the Bills have been as good as they have been?
Brian G: Honestly? I thought they were going to be good. I didn't think they'd be 5-1. I might have guessed (and subsequently prayed for) 4-2, but clearly, they've exceeded everyone's expectations up here. We haven't had many pleasant surprises in this area for quite some time; we've had a whole bunch of them this year.
DE Aaron Schobel said it best: when asked to name the biggest factor in the Bills' surge up the standings this season, he succinctly replied, "We have a quarterback now." Trent Edwards is the difference; a better defense certainly doesn't hurt. But I sense you're about to ask me questions about both of those topics...
Matty I: Let's talk quarterback. Trent Edwards looked promising last season. But he's been playing out of this world this season, to be honest. So tell us about your QB. What are his strengths/weakness and so on?
Brian G: I could write novel(s) about this guy. There's so much I'm hearing about what Edwards is on and off the field, what he means to his teammates, how he carries himself - it's all good news (for us, anyways). He's doing everything right. We're so excited about this kid, however, that we tend to get a little carried away - he's got more work to do. We still haven't made the playoffs in 8 years.
Strengths: poise, accuracy, the ability to read coverages, leadership. He's got a good arm. He knows where he's going with the football. He's just one of the more balanced quarterbacks in the league, and if our line can keep him healthy, he's going to get better and better. I'm not sure there's a weakness to his game other than general inexperience and a lack of production in the TD department. He's thrown 5 touchdowns in 5 full games; to be elite, you need to be more potent in that area. I think it's coming. But what he brings to this team from a leadership standpoint is invaluable for now. I think he's on his way to great things. Perhaps Edwards/Henne is the next generation Kelly/Marino...
Matty I: I'm amazed at the turnaround of Buffalo's defense. Last year, they were 31st in the league, surrendering 363 yards per game. But in 2008, they are just outside of the top 10 and are only giving up 293 yards. What do you attribute this to?
Brian G: Health is the biggest factor, in my opinion. The team lost so many starters last year it was unreal, and I think the biggest loss was MLB Paul Posluszny. He was on his way to a great rookie year, and when he went down, we lost not only production, but the development of a key young player. Poz has been outstanding this season - he's done better than expected in coverage, blows up plenty of run plays, blitzes well, and is the team's leading tackler.
Clearly, the importing of Marcus Stroud and Kawika Mitchell has helped, as has the development of guys like DT Kyle Williams and nickel CB Ashton Youboty. Williams has been playing out of his mind; he doesn't look anything like a former fifth-round pick. The talent level is better, they're staying relatively healthy, and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is a bit more creative in his scheming. Opponents can still chew up yardage and put up points on this defense, but it's much more difficult than it has been in recent seasons.
All I can say is that we can only hope that Trent Edwards/Chad Henne becomes a 21st century version of Jim Kelly/Dan Marino. Because if that was to happen, it means Henne is indeed the QB that we all are hoping he is. So from Brian's lips to God's ears!
A big thanks to Brian for helping us out. And remember to head over to Buffalo Rumblings to see what he asked me about our Dolphins.
And we'll have more from Brian tomorrow as we prepare for the 1st meeting of the year between these two rivals.