Losing Roscoe Parrish for the rest of the season to a dislocated wrist is a big loss. There's no doubt about that. You need that third receiver in this style of offense so it's going to be harder to function and find a rhythm. That third receiver is so important because you need that slot guy to keep defenses from just doubling both outside guys.
When I played I was blessed to have Don Beebe, James Lofton and Andre Reed, and then if I needed to I had (Steve) Tasker. So I had a pretty good receiving corps. So for a guy just getting settled in as the starting quarterback to have an injury to one of your top receivers doesn't help.
Filling the void falls to a couple of rookies in Donald Jones and David Nelson. I know it's an old cliché, but it's true, it's a great opportunity for one of those young guys to step up.
When you're in professional football and you're an undrafted free agent rookie that was overlooked, this is a great chance to really make an impact. Now is the time to put that extra study in to really know your plays inside and out. Then you want to work extra hard to make sure Fitz has confidence in you.
I think Fitz is confident in Nelson because he's been on the field more than Jones. And Nelson has made some plays this year on third down and even the fourth down play last week that led to a touchdown. It's a great opportunity for them.
It's a situation that I'm sure Fitz would prefer not to have right now in the middle of the season, but it is what it is. He's got to make the best of it and be able to work at practice and make sure that the communication in practice with those two guys is good.
He needs to have those two guys understand the different philosophies of what he's thinking and looking at in the red zone or in two minute or on third down. This is when you need to spend extra film time or time after practice to work with them and nail down some timing.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been doing a good job, but you have to make the plays when they present themselves at the end of the game. In order to put yourself in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in this league you have to make the plays at the end of the game to win football games.
We all hope that will come in time. He's doing everything that's needed at quarterback to take pressure off at that position, but at the end of the game he's had a few throws that haven't been where he wants them to be. I'm not saying anything that Fitz doesn't already know because to his credit he pointed to himself after the Bears game and said he didn't make a good enough throw on that play to Stevie (Johnson) that was open.
Two weeks ago when he audibled to Spiller on the go route and he overthrew him, even though he missed on that play, he had the confidence in his ability to put himself on the line when he needs to. That's a good thing, but the bottom line is you have to make it happen.
He's made some great throws through the course of most of these games, but to be considered elite you've got to make them at the end, and if he made a few of those the past couple of games the Bills aren't just winning, they could have a couple of games where they win by two or three touchdowns.
Now I still have confidence in him. I still like the way he's going about it. The offense just has to make the plays at the end because it's the difference between winning and losing. And as I said he knows he has to make those plays. Finishing games is the last hurdle for them right now.
Finally, I know a lot of fans want to see more of C.J. Spiller and I do too. He has to be on the field period. At this point in the season, rookies are not rookies anymore. Even though C.J. is young and they're bringing him along slowly, it's on C.J. now to convince them that he is ready to do more no matter the game situation on offense.
He only missed about a week of training camp, so C.J. is at the point now where he has to know the offense inside and out.