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Kelly's Call: Merriman a potential piece

Posted Nov 5, 2010

The Bills acquisition of Shawne Merriman off waivers this week was a good thing as I see it. Buddy Nix from the very first day he came on board said it’s not going to happen overnight. I remember him telling me right from the start that the team is in a transition period, and even though the fans have been hearing that for years, it will take time, but we’ll bring in the people we need to and turn this thing around hopefully sooner rather than later.

Granted, Merriman’s production has been compromised by injury, but this move is low risk, high reward. He’s still just 26-years old. There should be a lot of football left in him. You just hope that a new environment with a new defensive coordinator might give him a little boost in terms of what he wants to do on the field again.

I don’t know Shawne, but from what I’ve been told about him he always wants to be the best. This is a great opportunity for him to come in and try to help get things turned around. The key is getting him to see the big picture and to realize it might take a year before things really start to look on the up and up. Hopefully he’s thinking that way.

You need to put the pieces of the puzzle together and even though Merriman can be one potentially big piece, there are probably four or five more big pieces that need to be added to this thing. We need an offensive tackle, we need another good pass rusher, another linebacker, another cornerback. We’re a handful of players away from being a really good team.

Hopefully with some of the people that we have and in due time when free agency comes up along with the draft the team can really build this roster back up to where they can begin to restore a winning tradition like we had in the 90’s.

Fitz showing good leadership
It’s been great to see Ryan Fitzpatrick perform the way he has the past couple of weeks. That Baltimore game was something else the way he was carving up that defense, and even last week leading the offense on that touchdown drive to tie the game against the Chiefs late in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

I still remember Alex Van Pelt telling me that if Fitzpatrick ever got a good opportunity to get out there and play he could make good on it. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he makes good decisions and he’s not afraid to try to put the football in there.

Sometimes you have to force a ball in there and he’s not afraid to do that. Now at the end of the game against the Chiefs after Roscoe (Parrish) had that 33-yard return to midfield, I wished they had mixed the run game in a little more at that time.

I was watching the game with my nephew Chad (Kelly) and I was talking with him about the situation the Bills were in at the time. With 1:17 left and all three of your timeouts, you want to be able to get yourself close enough for a high-percentage field goal.

So you don’t want your quarterback taking five and seven step drops there. You don’t want to get sacked. So I thought they could spread the defense out and run out of it and get three or four yards a clip and try to get inside the 30 if possible so your kicker has a 46 or 47-yard field goal attempt. If anything is above 50, it’s more of a 50-50 shot. You want to give your kicker every opportunity to win the game for you there.

So I was a little disappointed to see them throw after they got the first down at the Kansas City 41-yard line. Now from what I’ve been told there was a run play drawn up there with 32 seconds left and two timeouts remaining, but Fitzpatrick checked out of it.

The outcome of that play might have been a negative at the time. However, on the plus side you know that he has enough confidence in himself that if a play is there he’s going to audible out and try to get to the right play. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. So a minus because at that time in the game you want to position your team for a realistic field goal attempt, but a positive in that he’s not scared to take that chance and make a big play.

Truthfully I think the Bills are getting closer to posting that first victory after seeing them push a pair of 5-2 teams to overtime. They’re becoming more of a team, but I think their lack of talent is what’s keeping them from getting over that hump. They’re just not solid all the way around.

Sometimes the right call can help make the difference. In those crunch time situations you’ve got to play smart football and it seemed like both teams struggled to play smart at the end of regulation and in overtime.

I will say however, that I do feel good about Buffalo’s chances this Sunday against Chicago. So hopefully they get that first win for Chan Gailey this week.

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