Some thoughts below.
1. It is comforting to see Allen showing improvement in his ability to throw the short passes. He is clearly a work in progress, and he will need to show that he can connect on the long throws like he did last year, but he does seem to be showing that he can get better. Overall, Allen is a great fit for McD, the team and Buffalo in terms of his work ethic, demeanor and personality, but he will need to continue to improve and show that he can have success throwing the ball when the Bills need it (i.e., when they get behind in games or in a high scoring battle).
2. Our recent first round picks (Allen, Edmunds and Oliver) were boom or bust types to a degree when drafted, and they all seem to be a work in progress. I really don't know whether Edmunds is playing well or not. Does he have the instincts to be the long-term answer at MLB? Does he move over to OLB if Lorenzo Alexander retires after this season? Way too early to make judgments about Oliver, but I would like to see more, even in his first year.
3. While I am not sure that our recent first round picks are fully meeting expectations at this point, particularly given the draft capital used to move up for Allen and Edmunds, I have been impressed with some of the later round picks, including Knox, Sweeney, Darryl Johnson, Siran Neal, Singletary and Taron Johnson. I am confident in the ability of our front office to identify talent, as noted below.
4. It has been years since I have felt this way (since Levy, Polian and Butler), but I am really comfortable with McD as our head coach, Beane as our GM and the quality people we have in our front office. I hope they are here for the long-term, because I believe over time they will build a very strong program (and have already put into place some building blocks). This team, at least at this point, lacks the circus atmosphere and in-fighting that we seem to be seeing with so many other teams.
5. I did not understand all of the free agent signings this past off-season for the o-line by the front office. I understand now with the various injuries, and it is a nice change that the Bills have some depth at the position given where other teams are struggling with injuries to their o-line (as the Bills have in past seasons) Not sure if all the new players are starting caliber, but, at a minimum, they do seem to be quality depth.
6. Teams will continue to run the ball on us until we show that we can stop it. I would expect this from the Browns tomorrow, and we have the Ravens and Steelers upcoming on our schedule.
7. Next year will be a critical year. We will have significant cap space, in part because our young players (i.e., White, Allen, etc.) will still be playing on their rookie contracts. We will go into next season with fewer needs than this past off season, but you can make the argument that the defense will need some significant upgrades at d-line and linebacker. A pass rushing end and a run stopping DT should be high on the list. A number one WR is on the list for the offense. If Brady retires or moves to another team, even better for next season.
8. I don't care that we have had an easy schedule. We are 6-2, and I am enjoying this season. We have had to deal with the Pats and Brady for so many years (playing them twice), so there is no reason to apologize for a soft schedule, particularly since the AFC is weak overall this season, and other teams are benefitting from this as well.