When I saw Marv’s number pop up on my phone I immediately thought back to the game’s final minutes. The most important defensive series of the game was coming up on third down, and Donte Whitner was calling it game. Knowing everything we’ve learned about him over the past few seasons, you had to figure something was seriously wrong.
It’s not the end of the world, but week-to-week is bad enough. On a defense already hurting with injuries and big names out, adding Whitner to the list only makes a huge division match up even tougher. We all keep going back to that tackle against the Raiders, but there was something about Whitner’s actions that really sums up everything about him.
A few weeks ago 289 sent around an email asking who to put on a new “Fab Four” shirt. The main conflict was whether to put in “Poz” or Donte Whitner as the representative on defense. My vote was for Donte, but only because I really feel like he is the true leader of that squad. With Whitner out an unknown period, someone else has to step into that role; and maybe Paul can be that guy. We can only hope.
I’m the one that posts here the most often, but a lot of what we do is still a group effort. The reason we have four writers in the first place is because a lot of what we talk about comes from our own conversations, so if you ever see “Rich and I were talking” or something to that effect you at least will know what is up.
In any event, what we have discussed the most since yesterday’s game is the possibility that the division is a lot different than we imagined. Miami looks better, the Patriots are still there, and maybe this Bills team isn’t as good as they looked and felt like four weeks ago. Rich has a theory about the Jets I hope he gets around to writing, as well.
The idea that the Bills aren’t “as good” is interesting, because I still think they are good. However, there is a major difference between “good” and “great”. A 5-3 Bills team is still a playoff team, but there aren’t many people that will say this team has a shot at making some serious noise. Rich said it best today: “I can totally see this team going 9-7, missing the playoffs and everyone somehow regarding it as an accomplishment.”
I think he’s right, but for me missing the playoffs will be a monumental collapse in a year that was designed for the Bills to succeed. The window is open, the playing field is level, and this team is beating themselves with mistakes we thought they had put behind them. We were convinced Trent was beyond those mistakes and the defense was holding strong, and suddenly we aren’t so sure.
The reason it is so bothersome is because for a lot of people this year looked to be it. This is the year the Bills break through and play January football that matters. You win the division and you get a home playoff game. Just the thought of what that would feel like is enough to give you some hope, and even after that hope slips a bit it only makes you want it more.
I suppose that means I’m back in character today.