Team: Tamworth Two – James Goodson/Mat Ward
2014 Record: 6-7, 4th pick based on head to head.
Draft – Duke Johnson (RB), DeVante Parker (WR), DeAndre Smelter (WR), Vic Beasley (DE)
Free Agency – Jonathan Stewart (RB), Darren McFadden (RB), Heath Miller (TE)
Trade – Andre Williams (RB)
Free Agency – Coby Fleener (TE)
Trade – John Brown (WR), Markus Wheaton (WR), Vernon Davis (TE), Orlando Scandrick (CB), Darren Sproles (RB), Jurrell Casey (DE)
8th in points scored, 6th in potential points and 8th in selection efficiency. These are not pretty stats to be starting from. An AWE of 6.43 against their 6 wins says they slightly underperformed as does the 75% chance of hitting 6 wins minimum, but ultimately they were part of the middle morass, the teams who could have finished anywhere from 4th to 7th. The question is do they have players on the books who can be expected to perform significantly better this year, and have they improved their roster enough in order to make that leap up into the top 3, or will they remain reliant on luck in the middle section to make it through?
Truth be told, the team still looks like an also-ran. Two have become one at RB where the top two runners from last year, LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson, are now both on the same roster, limiting the points potential. The other options at RB are either not guaranteed to be the starting back or, based on recent history, not likely to last the season. Besides which, the O-line in Buffalo is not the kind that to inspire predictions of dominant running performances, even if that’s what the Bills need given the lack of an NFL-quality QB.
The story is similar at wide receiver where Alshon Jeffrey stands out as the only option close to elite. This could be the year he pushes himself up into the top 6 or 8 receivers in the league, but if he doesn’t this could turn into a miserable year for the Two as Landry, Parker, Crabtree and Wallace are all developing or in new pastures and none of them represent anything close to a guarantee. The Miami offence promises a lot and could offer nice boost but equally the large number of mouths to feed in the new system could limit production.
Quarterback is sorted with Aaron Rodgers, assuming he stays injury free, otherwise there are risks around Carson Palmer, returning from injury, and Brett Hundley, a 5th round draft pick for the Packers who can be described as raw at best.
One of the strongest DT pairings in the league isn’t the gateway to a strong defence, with talent further down the roster patchy at best but a smattering of rookies bode well for the future.
Goodson has previously intimated the team has a 3 year plan so going into year 2 with a number of players with the potential for growth lines up with that. The risk is that the team will need to hit more often than they miss for this to turn into a playoff team in 2016. If the GMs have as good an eye for talent as they think they do they won’t have a problem, but either way they don’t look to have the strength to make a playoff run in 2015.
6-7. 2014 all over again. They’d better hope they can push on after this year, becoming the Jason Garrett of consistent middling seasons rather than the Joe Philbin.