One reason Knox is unlikely to change his philosophy and put the ball in the air is his receiving talent—or lack of it. The only quality wide receiver is Bob Chandler, who is often double-covered and is not too fast, either. As a result, Quarterback Joe Ferguson throws too many interceptions—a league high of 24 last year.
The more the Buffalo offense runs the ball the more the Buffalo defense will stay off the field, which is the best place for it. The Bills are terribly weak on the line and at linebacker. The secondary, particularly Safety Tony Greene, who intercepted nine passes in 1977, is better than average, but too often it gets burned deep because opposing quarterbacks have time to count the house while waiting for receivers to get open.
After years of front-office power struggles, Knox now has full authority. Significantly, he has arrived with a few new scouts, who he hopes will improve the miserable drafting that has handicapped the Bills for a long time.
New York thinks it is headed in the right direction under President Jim Kensil and Coach Walt Michaels. However, with one of the youngest teams in football and one of the toughest schedules, its success is some time away. The best thing the Jets have going for them is young Quarterback Richard Todd, who has proved that he can unload the bomb as well as throw with touch. Wide Receiver Wesley Walker is tops in the NFL in average yards per catch at 21.1. Unfortunately, Walker also drops a few.
Todd has been intercepted more than he should be, one reason being that opponents could hang back and wait for the pass in the absence of a New York ground game. Trying to remedy this, Michaels has used his most recent first draft picks for massive offensive tackles, Marvin Powell and Chris Ward. Michaels has also tried to shift the emphasis on the Jets' defensive line from strength to speed by trading Tackle Carl Barzilauskas and End Richard Neal and switching to the 3-4. Nose Tackle Abdul Salaam's name means Soldier of Peace. Michaels hopes he isn't one.
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