Dukes of Awesome

Donte Whitner might be the fan-friendliest Buffalo Bill ever. by errantremark

This just in from Facebook:

Donte Whitner is about to get another cell phone and call it the Fan Phone…as soon as I get it I’ll post the phone number on here…wont answer all the time but you guys can text and call me!!!! COOL?

Whitner, who really is active on Facebook, posted that today, and I’m hyper excited. This is how a star on a team really connects with his fans. I fully expect he’s going to get inundated with texts and calls and messages with little time to return them, but the effort is remarkable.

Whitner – our first current Duke of Awesome – is showing exactly how a player recovers his image after an unfortunate mistake.

Though realwiley asks: “although is he REALLY prepared to meet the fans? Things could get ugly if the team slides.”

I’d tend to agree, but Bills fans, for all their drunken hijinks, are incredibly loyal to their team:

UPDATE: Just to show he’s a good sport, this should be Donte’s voicemail message:



Return of the K-Gun? by errantremark

Tim Graham has a post today that should set any Bills fan who remembers the Super Bowl years shaking with excitement.

He forecasts the return of the no-huddle offense to Buffalo.

The Bills have dangerous receivers Terrell Owens, Lee Evans and Josh Reed, versatile running backs Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and Dominic Rhodes and quarterback Trent Edwards, who they believe can make quick decisions at the line of scrimmage.

“The no-huddle lends itself to guys that are big-play guys,” Wyche said, “because if you get a defense that’s just a little fatigued, just a little off their first-step quickness, and you get the explosive guys, they can hit the home run.”

Wyche, of course, is Sam Wyche – the coach who installed the offense with the Boomer Esiason Bengals, who inspired the Kelly-years Bills to do the same.

With a glut of skill players and what looks like a potentially reborn offensive line (Hangartner roughly equals Hull?), it is entirely possible. The one potential weak link? QB Trent Edwards.

But the no-huddle offense plays directly into Edwards’ strengths – he’s a fast decision maker, a quick release, and he’s smart. In fact, when the Bills opened last year 4-0, the hallmarks of the offense – quick strike throws, up-tempo rushing – were incredibly similar to a no-huddle offense, just run with huddles. Imagine that offense with more playmakers and less time for the defense to recover.

I’m excited just thinking about it.

Need more convincing? Remember when the K-gun established itself:

Better Know A Draft Pick: Cary Harris by errantremark
April 29, 2009, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Bills Obsession, Buffalo Bills, Defence Mechanisms, draft picks, Rookies

Back when we were posting regularly, the Dukes profiled each some of the Bills 2008 draft picks. So we’re gonna give it another go. Up first: Cary Harris.

Cary Harris

cary harris

Position: CB

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 180

College: USC

Hometown: Pacoima, CA

Why he’s awesome: Projected to go as early as the third round, the Cary Harris pick follows the ultimate fantasy draft rules: pick good players from good teams. And for a slight guy, he’s known as a big hitter with excellent coverage skills.

Why we like him: For a guy with a rep for poor ball skills, he’s come up in big moments for the Trojans, including that above pick in the Rose Bowl this year.

Why we don’t: He’s as durable as a rose petal and held together by strings. He’s missed time for a dislocated shoulder, ankle injuries, had a bad hamstring at the combine (which slowed him to a 4.57 40-time) and had arthroscopic surgery in both ankles prior to the 2008 season.

Tidbit about Pacoima, CA: Oft-battered in his movies Leonardo DiCaprio, tragically dead before his time Ritchie Valens, oft-injured outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. are all from Pacoima. As are the founders of passing fad Juicy Couture, which relates somehow.

Videos that should get you pumped about Harris, provided he holds up:

Think the Rivalry is Kind of Dead? The Rivalry is NOT Dead. by pinkjerseyssuck

So if you’re a long time reader you know that a portion of the Dukes went on a Buffalo sports vacation down to sunny overcast Miami. If you’re a first time reader you just found out. The trip opened my eyes to a few things. 
First, if I bring Sahlen’s hotdogs next year I can use them to buy tickets (I am definitely not kidding). 
Second, it is really, really, uncomfortably humid/hot in Miami. 
Third, I do not speak Spanish. 
Fourth, Kent Hull is gigantic and Rolls has a ridiculous hairline. And
Fifth, the rivalry is not dead.
When it was first announced that the game in Toronto last year was the Miami home game some people were angry, but, for the most part, everyone just thought about it and decided they didn’t care that much. Why? Because Miami was *terrible* two years ago, because they hadn’t been serious competition for anyone in several years, and because people claim that the rivalry is “dead” between Miami and the Bills, including some Bills players. 
After a sweltering trip south, I now beg to differ.
I now hate Miami, and I hate their fans. None of them individually, but as a group. (Individually some of them were actually good-hearted, but I chaulk that up to the female presence in our group). It was painfully obvious that these fans could care less about their football team when a Bills jersey isn’t nearby. Here are a few examples:
1. The fly-over.
Look real close, it's there.
Look real close, it’s there.
2. The dedicated fans take their seats in the middle of the second quarter. 
THAT is dedication.
THAT is dedication.
3. You could recognize their fans by their pink shirts.
does torquiose + orange = pink?
does torquiose + orange = pink?
4. This guy was in the running to win a prize – because they give a prize to people who show up simply if they have dolphins colors on. Not the “best” outfit, just any. They bribe their fans to support the team. 
Fan of the Game
Fan of the Game
5. Half of the Dolphins attendance was jazzercising women in pink shirts who left as soon as their show was over. Once they left there were more Bills fans.
Bye, bye.
Bye, bye.
6. The WORST, and I mean WORST theme song ever. Ever. Terrible.
7. Even their cheering sucked. The most obnoxious man boy “Dolphan” I’ve ever seen tried rallying the 2 rows behind him when the Dolphins managed to get a safety, to no avail. A safety? Come on, dude. 
Now, after soaking in all the above information, realize that I have never been trashed talked so much in my life… and it wasn’t even good trash talk. You don’t see the celebration that you see at the Ralph when the Bills win. No. You see people walking, talking about their trailer homes, and then when they catch a glimpse of blue and red, attempting to trash talk by saying “it’s cold in Buffalo!” and “you lost to the worst team in the division!” and then going back to their conversations about how fun it is to excessively sweat 364 days of the year.
Really? That’s the best you’ve got? Ugh. 
And so now I have come to realize why people continue to fly to these games year after year. The Rivalry is alive and well, even if it is only with the fans of each team. I now officially hate the Dolphins, and I hate the Dolphans. And I can’t wait until next year when I go down there and watch us WIN. It will feel so sweat sweet. 

The Curious Case of Fred Jackson by errantremark

So Freddie Jackson is another no-show to Bills voluntary workouts, along with Terrell Owens and Jason Peters.

With TO, you know you’re gonna get a top flight athlete who knows the game, regardless of his off-the-field shenanigans.

With Peters, it’s a situation that we knew about, with him holding out for a new contract or new team, whether he deserves it or not.

Now there’s Fred Jackson, a restricted free agent. The Bills do have the upper hand, owning his rights and the ability to match contracts with any other team. And with a glut of free agent veteran backs out there, there’s a very good chance the Bills won’t have to match one of those offers.

So at face value, the Bills are playing this smart, in line with their usual negotiating style. Eloquently titled “Fuck you negotiations” by realwiley – the Bills always play like they have the upper hand, even if they do not. And with the market and needs (lots of RBs, having a stud back in Lynch), this seems smart.

But the Bills would be smart to simply sign F-Jax to a reasonable contract and get his ass into the fold as quickly as possible:

  1. The looming suspension of Marshawn Lynch: The safe bet is the Bills will be without Marshawn Lynch for at least two games, but possibly as many as four. So it’s understandable that the Bills looked for a veteran backup – Fred Taylor and… Maurice Hicks? I guess if you’re getting a backup-backup, Hicks is a step up from Xavier Omon, but not much. Fred Jackson had almost twice the yards of Hicks’ best season (2005) last year. And F-Jax has been very effective both in support of and in place of Marshawn Lynch. And while there are more experienced replacements out there, they’re also more expensive.
  2. Public Relations to NFL Players: Right now, Buffalo has a reputation of being a team of last resort for many veteran players. All you have to do is look at our free agent signings and losses over the years – Marcus Stroud was considered damaged goods, and it took a lot of money to win his services. Terrell Owens was pretty much out of options. Jason Peters wants out, and so did Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield and more. Mainly because the Bills didn’t want to pony up for proven talent that they developed. Kawika Mitchell was a lone exception – the Bills were insanely lucky to get him (even if his impact has yet to be gauged). I know money plays into this, but being proactive in signing F-Jax – a reliable contributor – could have an impact in how Buffalo is perceived by players.
  3. There’s no one out there better: The current crop of NFL free agent RBs includes Ruben Droughns, Ahman Green, Rudi Johnson, Warrick Dunn and Dominic Rhodes, about the only back that would be intriguing for the Bills would be….I guess Dunn, really. Johnson wants to start full-time, and the others are either old or ineffective now. Dunn is old, but he can still play and probably would take a back seat to Lynch. But that would render F-Jax to 3rd back, when he’s much more than that, and being only 28, gives you more production at a chaper price.

So I just don’t get why the Bills are holding back on F-Jax – we can’t afford valuable contributors to be out of workouts with the regularity the Bills seem to maintain – it sets bad precedent for the current team and any other players we might hope to attract. And it certainly isn’t making Turk, Dick and Perry’s job any easier.

Sorry Trent – Cutler to the Bills makes sense by errantremark

Let me start by saying this: I really like Trent Edwards. I think almost all Bills fans do. He’s smart, he’s accurate, and he’s talented.

But he’s also injury prone. Always has been too – part of that is from playing behind lackluster offensive lines at both Stanford and with the Bills, but, well, he always seems to be dinged pretty good. It’s not that I don’t think he’s tough, but some guys just don’t have the luck. And based on his history, Trent’s talents might be overcome by luck.

Which is why, unfortunately, the Bills should make a grab for Jay Cutler. Yes, MendolaBills fan message boards, FTLT et. al, you’re on to something.

Comparing most (yearly) stats, Cutler is measurably better across the board – more TDs, more passing yards, higher passer rating. You could argue that Edwards has a better win-loss record and better 4th quarter stats – and you’d definitely be correct – but overall, it’s hard to argue with Cutler’s Pro Bowl selection last year, and his ability to absolutely take over games. He also had to make up for absolutely horrendous Denver defenses in his tenure as starter.

Trent Edwards Bills QB

I truly believe Trent Edwards is and will be a really good quarterback, and I’d honestly be content if the Bills kept him (especially with Brian Galliford’s projections + TO). But the Bills are in the unique position of having a skill-rich offense (Marshawn, Evans, Reed, Steve Johnson, TO, and whichever tight end the Bills draft) and assets desirable to the Broncos, namely a quality starter in Trent Edwards and draft picks.

What it ultimately comes down to is ceiling:

Trent Edwards is a talented, smart quarterback with an adequate arm who is injury prone. Best comparison: Chad Pennington. A very good quarterback, and you can win with him.

Jay Cutler Broncos QB

Jay Cutler is constantly compared to Brett Favre, but a more apt comparison (and what sends Bills fans into a tizzy) is Jim Kelly. A big, smart QB, rocket arm, and attitude. I think Cutler has gotten a bad rap in this whole scenario, as both Cutler and the Broncos have behaved, well, oddly in their falling out. But remember that screaming match Cutler got into with Philip Rivers and the entire San Diego bench? And then the fact that he f@cking won?

That’s badass like Jimbo. Which is why the Bills should probably consider it.

Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills QB Great

(PS, I know Mendola already did the Jimbo-Jay comparison. He is quite awesome and dashing.)

The Buffalo Bills get their vintage Ferrari by errantremark

Well, I suppose it’s time we weigh in on this whole “T.O.” thing that’s gotten Bills fans all hot and bothered recently.

Our kneejerk reaction to the T.O. signing was like most people: “WHAAAAAAAAAA????????”

Now we Dukes, as batshit crazy Bills fans as anyone else, can’t wait to see a Bills offense with a real live weapon on offense, or at least one that will allow our other weapons to shine. But as everyone well knows, T.O. has baggage. Some of our local experts seem to think this won’t be an issue.

And you know what? For the most part, we agree. Think about it – it’s a one year deal. He’s basically auditioning for another job. If you look at his first year numbers with both the Eagles and Cowboys, T.O. puts on a freakin show when money’s on the line.

Also: Owens is 35. As good as he is – and even was last year – he’s aware his window of excellence is slowly shrinking. That being said, the man is still an absurdly fit, strong and fast specimen of a football player (sorry for the Kiper-eroticism, but it’s true). The window is indeed closing, but even a 75% Owens is better than 90% of the league.

To go along with the age thing, Owens is in no better place to change his legacy than Buffalo. Will Leitch made a great point of this – if T.O. were to lead the Bills to a Super Bowl win, that would change everything we know about the guy. And here’s the thing: he doesn’t even need to go that far. The playoffs – maybe with a win or two – would go a long way towards helping Owens’ rep. He’s starved for attention, and the Bills (and us fans) are starved for the relevancy, the excitement of the playoffs.

The Bills are currently better than most people think – we have talent for sure. Who, however, outside upstate New York knows this? No one. This is a prime springboard for TO, where he’ll be the de facto face of the team, even if he’s not the official leader. Everything good will be attributed to him, and likely anything bad. Does that bother you? Me neither.

So thanks James Hardy for kowtowing and giving up 81. Thanks Trent Edwards for asking for him, and thanks to Russ Brandon for taking a risk on a high mileage, temperamental Ferarri. There’s a damn good chance this exotic stallion could break down, and even a chance it won’t even start, given its finnicky history, and might even launch itself out a window. But if it works, what a rush it could be: