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Some reasons for concern about Bills

No doubt, Bills fans are still riding the wave of euphoria of Sunday's epic comeback win over the Raiders. Great. You deserved it. This is where I puncture the balloon with a dart of objective reality.

First of all, winning the first two games doesn't guarantee a thing, even if you're piling up yards and points in the process. Surely you remember 2003? The Bills went 2-0, scoring 30 points in both games. They finished 6-10, scoring 10 points or fewer in seven of the losses.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chan Gailey have a good thing going. The offense should continue to function at a fairly high level, assuming Fitz and Fred Jackson stay healthy and the offensive line sustains its early level of competence.

At the very least, the Bills should be on the fringes of the playoff hunt in the second half. It beats starting 0-8 and spending the last two months looking ahead to the draft.

But if you want to be taken seriously as a contender, you have to take your flaws seriously, too. The Bills have flaws, like every team in a league. There's ample cause for worry. Here are half a dozen reasons for concern.

*The pass rush: The Bills got virtually no heat on Jason Campbell. Shawne Merriman was no factor. In the first two games, there were few traces of the Merriman who terrorized the Bears in the preseason opener. I had trouble believing he could be close to the player he was before his injuries. I'm still wondering. They might have to start blitzing more, but that will further expose a secondary that made Jason Campbell look like, well, like Tom Brady. Imagine how the real Brady will fare on Sunday.

*Receiving depth: David Nelson is a revelation, and Donald Jones is OK. But Roscoe Parrish is hurt again, weakening them in the slot. Marcus Easley, a budding deep threat, is out for the year. Stevie Johnson has been nursing a sore groin for a month and cramped up against Oakland. If Chan Gailey is going to run four-receiver sets half the time, he needs a full complement of players. Gee, do you think they could use Lee Evans right about now? How about Naaman Roosevelt instead of Ruvell Martin?

*Touches for C.J. Spiller: He's not a featured back, but he is getting better. Spiller had his best rushing day as a pro with 63 yards on four carries Sunday. Gailey needs to find different ways to use him. When they drafted him, the Bills said he would be a big receiving threat. So use him more in the slot to make up for Parrish's absence. Use him in the Wildcat. Run some reverses.

*Offensive line: Fitz makes them better, but it's still a concern. Kraig Urbik is out a few weeks with a knee injury, weakening them at guard. They like Chad Rinehart, but don't tell me Geoff Hangartner wouldn't be a better option. The Bills didn't like Hangartner at guard, but he's starting at right guard for Carolina. That's working out OK.

*Leodis McKelvin: He says he didn't struggle against Oakland. What do you call it when Denarius Moore, a rookie fifth-round draft choice, grabs five balls for 146 yards and a TD? McKelvin has struggled since the Bills drafted him 11th overall in 2008. He has never earned a starting job on merit. For the second year in a row, he took over at starting corner because of an injury to Terrence McGee. It's time he figured it out.

*Fitz's new contract: The Bills are working on it, but the longer they wait, the more complicated it could become. What if he decides to try his luck in free agency? The same goes for Fred Jackson, who is also performing at a Pro Bowl level while being paid like a backup.

There are worse things than worrying about your stars being underpaid. I'm sure the average Bills fan prefers it to another dismal year of hoping they're bad enough to get a shot at Andrew Luck.

e-mail: jsullivan@buffnews.com

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