Bills may as well make the best of Lynch’s absence

By Anthony Bialy  |   Monday, July 06, 2009  |  Comments( 57 )

Buffalo Bills
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The Buffalo Bills will truly appreciate how good Marshawn Lynch once they’re deprived of his play. While that seems like an excessively upbeat view to take regarding his “resting,” the running back’s involuntary three-game suspension for off-field conduct could actually become a positive for both him and his team at the beginning of the season. It’s a miserable way of keeping Lynch fresh, but they don’t really have a choice.

Lynch, who's averaging 18.9 carries per game during his young career, has already been overused. The Cal man led the NFL in rushing attempts per games played as a rookie with 21.5. And, while he worked less last season, he still finished 17th in the league with 16.7 running tries on average during each of his 15 appearances.

Largely because of his heavy workload, Lynch has missed four games in his first pair of seasons; while that’s not an absurd total, the Bills have to make sure that he’s not annually losing games to injury. Lynch’s passionate appetite for contact has made him a young star who’s a delight to watch. But the downside is that he’s already coping with the tendency to get sidelined by rough play combined with frequent usage.

That said, Lynch was already facing a lighter workload during his third season even before his banishment. A functional aerial offense with two genuine targets in Lee Evans and Terrell Owens means fewer rushes for Lynch.

Plus, Fred Jackson will of course be around to take on some of the rushing load; he’s established he can handle it. On top of that, a reliable third option in Dominic Rhodes will further reduce Lynch’s carries, even if only by a handful. Factor in his 13-game personal season, and Lynch is, thankfully, going to carry the ball far less than he’s been forced to during his initial pair of seasons.

Lynch still needs to modify his free time tendencies. For one, he should avoid hanging out in vehicles that smell like Allman Brothers Band concerts. And he should also take care to continue to avoid harming or threatening anyone with a firearm; apparently, not committing a crime with a gun is a crime in certain parts of America.

But the Bills may as well consider the bright side while they’re denied access to their rusher. Namely, he could jolt the offense just by returning to work. Lynch will enter the Week 4 lineup fresh, just as every other player in the league copes with innumerable bruises.

He won’t be experiencing the effects of the couple of dozen carries he usually would have by that point; plus, he should be raring to go after an extended stay in detention. The Bills’ success relies on their backup backs stepping up during the interlude. But, if they play competently while the wideout duo plays extraordinarily, the squad should be in good shape when its roguish starting back returns from exile.

His Majesty Roger Goodell insists that Lynch has been naughty enough to warrant punishment. So, Buffalo may as well enjoy using its available weapons in the first three contests while looking forward to getting back its neutron bomb for the fourth. Irritating optimists always claim that attitude is everything; for once, even grouchy cynics may as well hope they’re right.
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About Anthony Bialy

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