Buffalo's first two outings in this young regular season have left a lot to be desired. Nobody said it was going to be easy to have immediate success with all the new elements brought into the fray for this season. Most observers feel the offense has lagged behind the defense in terms of performance thus far, but defensive co-captain Marcus Stroud sees the Bills' 'to-do' list containing much more than just a few items on one side of the ball.
When asked what needs to be fixed to rebound from the team's 0-2 start, Stroud had just a one word answer.
"Everything," he said.
Stroud was asked if he could be more specific in terms of what the team needs to work on moving forward. His answer was the same.
"Everything is as specific as I can get," he said. "We've got to get better at everything if we want to win, top to bottom."
Fixing everything appears like a giant task for a Bills team that just got their season started. Stroud however, sees it differently.
"I'd rather have us to be in this situation now with 14 weeks left, than to have it come up again in Week eight, 10, 12, so hopefully we can get everything corrected now and get on the right track," he said. "The product we put out on Sunday is not something we want to represent, especially not me. It's just one of those things where we've just got to go out and get better, point blank."
Head coach Chan Gailey talked after the loss to the Packers last weekend about changing things up with personnel combinations and that began with his decision to start Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback this week and for the foreseeable future.
Quarterback is a position where you can foster the most change because that player touches the ball on every offensive play. But Gailey is in agreement with Stroud that the problems run deeper than that for this Bills team.
"We've got a lot that we have to work on," he said.
Offensively just stringing positive plays together has been a challenge. It has kept the Bills attack from sustaining drives.
"I think rhythm is a big word, just getting in to some sort of flow," said Fitzpatrick. "We've had a couple tough games in terms of not being able to be on the field much. There's a lot of different things that have kept us off the field, kept us from converting, but the biggest this is we've got to go out there and kind of find our identity and get in to a rhythm."
"Things are looking good in practice and what not, but it's a matter of coming out on game day and playing like practice," said Andy Levitre. "I don't think we're seeing that on film. It's a matter of cleaning that up and coming out on game day and getting it done like we've been getting it done in practice. It's not that we're doing things the wrong way, we just need to do them with the right techniques and execute."
There's little question that Buffalo has enough players to make plays, but as Stroud points out it takes more than ability alone.
"We've got a lot of talent on this team, but talent doesn't win games," he said. "We've got to go out there and execute and actually do the things necessary to win the game. You can't keep making excuses about the (new scheme) or the coaches. It's come to a point where it's our fault and that's where we're at now. It's our fault. We've got to go get it corrected amongst ourselves, every player to a man."
Stroud and his teammates are surprised and annoyed by their 0-2 start after all the work they put in during the offseason, but they're committed to making things right in short order.
"I definitely thought our record would be a little different than it is right now, but it is what it is," he said. "We're 0-2, so now it's time to turn it around."
But the task gets no easier this week as they travel to Gillette Stadium to play New England at a road venue where they have never posted a victory.
"It's going to be a challenge," said Fitzpatrick. "They've been a great team for a long time now and they're coming off a tough loss to the Jets, so even more so, they're going to be ready to play and fired up. It's going to be a great challenge to us to show where we're at and I think we're going to be up to it. We've just got to put in the work this week."