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NFL Off-season 2013 A-Z: Buffalo Bills

Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports

This is the fourth installment of a 32 part series on the 2013 NFL Off-season Team-by-Team Analysis. 

2012 Record: 6-10 (4th in AFC East)

Key Free Agents: FS Jairus Byrd, G Andy Levitre, WR David Nelson, DE Shawne Merriman, CB Leodis McKelvin, FB Corey McIntyre, WR Donald Jones

Coaching Moves/Changes: Total Re-vamp: Hired HC Doug Marrone, DC Mike Pettine, OC/QB Nathaniel Hackett

Cap Space: Approx. $20 million

2013 Draft Picks: 8 (1), 41 (2), 71 (3), 102 (4), 136 (5), 167 (6), None (7) 

Off-Season To-Do List: 

-Lock up Jairus Byrd. It's guaranteed that the Bills will have to give Byrd a high offer for his new contract, but it will be worth it. The 26 year old free safety had a combined 76 tackles last season with 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles in 2012. The Bills need to make one thing this off-season, and that's keeping Byrd in Buffalo. The young safety is the spark of a young, developing defense that still has a few years to go until they are legitimately scary. Until that season, make sure Byrd settles in at the Queen City.  

-Start over with Marrone. And by start over, I mean build a new team. The Bills have had a dismal record since they managed their 4 Super Bowl appearance in the early 90's. The city of Buffalo is tired of the losing, though they stick with the team year after year (seriously, Bills fans might be the most loyal fans in football.) It's time that the Bills forget their losing ways, and 2013 is a good place to start. They brought in a young coach in Doug Marrone and revamped their coaching staff by bringing in new offensive and defensive coordinators. They have a new, fresh look on the sidelines and are ready to start anew. Time to put Buffalo back on the football map. 

-Dump Ryan Fitzpatrick. I'm a Buffalo native myself, though I've associated myself with the Minnesota Vikings since 2007. I seemed to be the only one not comfortable with Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center before the Bills gave him a new contract halfway through the 2011 season. The 30 year old Harvard grad main have the brains for the position, but he's always lacked the elite talent needed to carry a team like Buffalo. Any team that carries a QB with a 76.8 career passer rating is going nowhere but down (granted, he is improving, but much too slowly.) There has been talks of drafting Marrone's QB Ryan Nassib, but I can't help thinking of Nassib of a younger Fitzpatrick. What Buffalo needs is an RGIII or Colin Kaepernick. It's time to ditch the pocket passers and sign a QB with some wheels, which brings me to my last point:

-Give Tavaris Jackson a chance. This year's QBs in the draft are none too spectacular, so I think that the Bills should hold back this year, draft some linebackers or o-lineman, and let Jackson take the wheel. He's just the type of QB that I think Buffalo needs. His career passer rating is about the same as Fitzpatrick's, but the guy has some wheels. He's spent most of his career being ridiculed for his inaccurate passing and lousy pocket presence, but those can be worked on. Except for the 2011 Seahawks season, Jackson has never been given the chance to be the main man. And by main man, I mean someone that the team bases it's new offense around, which is something Seattle did not do. What Seattle did do, however, was let Jackson start for a year and focused on drafting a QB the next chance they got, which is where they landed Russell Wilson. You know the rest of the story there. I'm not saying a Tavaris Jackson-led Bills team is playoff bound, but it's a step in the right direction.

2013 Schedule-Difficulty: 6.5/10

Home: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Chiefs, Falcons, Panthers

Away: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Browns, Steelers, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers 

Projected Record: 8-8 (T-2nd in AFC East with NYJ)

Want to read the off-season preview for another team? Here's what I have done so far: 

ARIZONA CARDINALS  

Atlanta Falcons 

BALTIMORE RAVENS  


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