Five Questions with Buffalowins

I exchanged emails this week with Joe from Bloguin’s excellent Bills blog Buffalowins. My answers are posted over on his blog. Jump it to hear what he has to say about Ryan Fitzpatrick, Steelers fans, and the PSU/Buffalo connection.

BB: In the few Bills games I’ve seen this year, Ryan Fitzpatrick has played some pretty good football. Is this a guy the Bill can build around or is he just a stopgap at QB for the time being?
Buffalowins: That seems to be the million dollar question. Honestly, I haven’t decided yet. I’ll say this about Fitz, he has improved greatly since last year, as he’s on pace to pass for the 2nd most touchdowns in franchise history for a season. He has two games of four touchdowns or more (all on the road), and has given life to a passing game that has been anemic for the last 8 seasons.

Another thing working for Fitz is that even though he’s been in the league for five seasons, he’s only started 29 NFL games. If you ask me, his progress is exactly what you would want in someone who has started that many games. I think if you put Fitzpatrick on the Steelers, around that defense and running game, their record would almost be identical. The problem for Fitz is that he’s surrounded by a bush-league defense and an inexperienced offensive line. Bottom line, if you surround Fitzpatrick with superior defensive players and a left tackle, he can win in this league.

I think most fans who aren’t on board with Fitz are just obsessed with getting the first pick in the draft because it’s the one pipeline that the Bills haven’t looked into in finding a QB. As Bills fans, we have been duped into believing that this guy or that guy was going to be the franchise. I can go over games in which everyone thought JP Losman, Rob Johnson and Trent Edwards were going to be “The Guy.” Because of that, people are really gun shy about anointing him as a legit starter. Is he a franchise QB? No. Can he win if he has 3-4 all-pros playing on defense? Yes. So, I guess, I’m leaning towards yes, only on the merit if the team finds some players on defense.

BB: A couple of our writers and a bunch of our readers are big Penn State fans. Buffalo has recently drafted a few guys from PSU with varying success. Can you talk a little bit about the careers to this point of Paul Posluszny, Lydell Sargaent, and Aaron Maybin?

Buffalowins: Eh..Well, Aaron Maybin has become the walking punchline amongst Bills fans. He’s been deactivated for over a month and he still hasn’t registered a sack in his NFL career. He’s quickly becoming one the worst players in team history. They moved Maybin to OLB in the off-season, and whenever he would rush the passer, he would look completely lost and just try to bull rush the offensive tackle. Plus, he doesn’t play well against the run. I think it is just a matter of time until he gets served his walking papers. As for Posluszny, he gets tackles, but they seem to happen anywhere between 4-6 yards down the field. I’d like for our inside linebacker to be able to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He also has issues when it comes to covering backs or tight ends and he doesn’t play well when he tries to go right to left on the field. Sorry Penn State fans, but the Lions, who are on this team, aren’t exactly growling.

BB: Name a player or two who is flying a little under the radar right now that the Steelers should watch out for on Sunday.

Buffalowins: Stevie Johnson. This guy has shocked everyone with his play. He’s a former 7th round pick, who had only 12 receptions for his career coming into this season. Now, he’s one pace for 82 catches and 1,200 yards. The Bills have been looking for a complimentary player to Lee Evans for a long time. Not only have they found the guy to accomplish that, but he’s now the number 1 option on this team. Johnson is a great route runner and has really deceptive speed for a guy his size. On the other side of the ball, look out for DT/NT Kyle Williams. He’s having a stellar season and is tied for 2nd in the NFL for tackles by a DT/NT. He’s also incredible when it comes to anticipating the snap count in order to get a great jump on the ball.

BB: I’ll only speak for myself on this, but if Pittsburgh’s sports teams all disbanded tomorrow I’d totally become a Buffalo fan in football and hockey. I’ve always thought Buffalo has had an awesome fan base that has been overlooked because of the lack of recent success. What do Bills fans think of the Steelers? The teams are pretty close geographically. Is the respect mutual or am I way out in left field on this one?

Buffalowins: Honestly, I think we are kind of jealous of Pittsburgh fans. Not only are we close geographically, but we are close in personalities. We are both blue-collar cities, who love our sports teams and happen to be small markets. The only difference is that your teams have like 10 championships and we have an Indoor lacrosse league title. It kind of flabbergasts me because we are both small markets, yet, you’d think we were the Royals and you guys were the Yankees. As far as mutual respect, yeah you can say that, because of the blue-collar roots and not being obnoxious fans.

BB: How do you see the game playing out? Will the Bills be able to expose a few weak spots in the Steelers defense or will they have the same fate as Oakland did last weekend?

Buffalowins: I think the Steelers get this one. They just have too many weapons on offense and the Bills aren’t exactly equipped to deal with the balanced attack that the Steelers offer. Look for Heath Miller to have a great game, as the Bills don’t play well against the tight ends. Defensively, the Steelers are as good as they come and know how to go after the QB. I assure you, our tackles aren’t equipped to handle guys like Harrison.

Steelers: 34

Bills: 17