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Dwelling on Sacks

Well, Aaron Schobel didn't let me down. In Tuesday's newspaper, I said Schobel would probably tell us sacks are overrated. That day, in one of his rare -- and typically self-serving -- interviews with the local media, Schobel did just that. It was about as predictable as some of the guy's rush moves.

"I play 1,000 plays in a year and you all judge me on five or 10," Schobel said.

Gee, I wonder if Schobel and his agent took that approach when they negotiated that $50 million contract with the Bills in the summer of 2007. Do you think they laid out all his thousands of plays and told Bills management, "Let's not make too much of his sack total?" I'm guessing they pointed to his career-high sack total from 2006 and demanded he get the money that comes along with it. I can't imagine they used the Bills' sorry 2005-06 run defense, or the team's losing record, to justify that deal.

There's more to it than sacks, as Schobel suggests. But the fact is, he hasn't been making big plays. He has just one sack. He hasn't been a difference-maker. He made Mike Gandy, a proven mediocrity, look like a Pro Bowler in Sunday's blowout loss. Look at the film. Schobel didn't have to deal with many double-teams. Gandy basically handled him one-on-one.

Speaking of sacks, by the unofficial count of Buffalo News football writers, Jason Peters has now allowed six sacks in four games. Wow. Peters was responsible for two sacks in 15 games all last season when he went to the Pro Bowl. He hasn't exactly been dominant in the run game, either. But I'm sure Peters would also insist that stats are misleading, and that sacks don't tell the whole story.

Sorry, but these guys are held to a higher standard. Schobel is making $7 million a year. Peters held out of training camp because he wants a deal that would exceed that. I hate to dwell on the negative after an encouraging 4-1 start, but both Peters and Schobel have been disappointments in the first five weeks. At least Schobel admits he needs to play better. He says he's been lining up too wide. Eight years in the NFL and he's still trying to figure out where to line up?

So who do you think has been the Bills' most disappointing player in the first five games? Schobel, Peters or someone else? Frankly, I can't think of a third player who comes even close.

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