Canisius denies Baron rumors

Sabres extend win streak to pass Capitals


Super Mario picks Bills

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

Slow down, Buffalo. The Bills haven’t accomplished anything yet.

They did do something pretty big, signing the second biggest free agent (regards to Peyton Manning) available, but I’ve been hearing people say – whether serious or not – that the Bills can win the Super Bowl.

Just because Mario Williams is a Buffalo Bill doesn’t mean that this team is ready yet. Ever since former Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel retired prior to the 2010 season, the Bills have lacked any real pass-rush threat. The reality of the situation is that while the Bills filled a huge void by signing Williams, they still have needs, albeit not as many as past offseasons.

As of early this week, the Bills have one left tackle on their roster: former fourth round pick Chris Hairston. I believe Hairston can be a starter, but I am not comfortable knowing that he has no competition right now.

The Bills resigned wide receiver Stevie Johnson a couple of weeks ago and have eight other receivers on the roster. None of them are proven starters.

The roster has a lot of interesting options at cornerback, but who knows who the starters will be. Drayton Florence can be a solid player, but struggled down the stretch in 2011. Terrence McGee restructured his contract so he likely isn’t going anywhere, but hasn’t stayed healthy. Leodis McKelvin will get his last chance to become an efficient and consistent player. Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers have shown potential but neither player has earned his spot yet.

I believe that general manager Buddy Nix will address all these needs on April 26-28 during the NFL draft. Until then, I can’t begin to predict what will happen to the Bills this season.

The Bills need to prove their talent on the field before they can be picked to even make the playoffs. This team already has chemistry, but it has to mesh with Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and whatever new pieces will be added during the draft.

Don’t get me wrong, this is all exciting. Never have I witnessed such a big-name free agent sign with any Buffalo sports franchise. When Terrell Owens signed, the circumstances were much different; Owens had limited options while Williams had plenty.

A legitimate pass-rushing threat has been needed in Buffalo for years. Rushing the quarterback is just as important as having one. Like it or not, the Bills have invested in Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback for right now and it looks like they are serious about building a team around him.

Early last Thursday evening was one of the most relieving times – both as a sports fan and as an aspiring journalist – that I ever experienced. Being sick for all three days of “Mario Party” was a blessing in disguise; I never had an excuse to pull myself away from the radio, the TV, or from to stop following the story. Once it finally happened it seemed all my hard “work” had paid off.

Embrace this, Bills fans. Mario Williams chose Buffalo. Mario Williams chose this fanbase to play in front of for the next six years. Will the Bills win a Super Bowl in that time span? I don’t know. I do know, however, that this city needed this to happen and I very much look forward to watching Bills football in 2012.

-Nathan Barillari

TAGGED: buffalo bills, canisius college, mario williams, the griffin

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