The Buffalo Bills should be glad to have a bad example from which to learn, especially since it’s not their own. Analyzing what mistakes the Sabres made in free agency is a premier advantage of gathering everyone under the One Buffalo umbrella. Positivity is easier if you know how to avoid strategies that turn negative. Western New York hockey fans endure the effects of hiring unqualified workers. But the tank could help the hockey team in the future and the football one now.
Fans of both hope one squad can learn from the other. Past performance may not guarantee future results. Astute general managers recognize that good numbers may not apply in a new area code. A player’s advanced age may keep him from excelling in a new jersey. Similarly, an advanced system may flummox those who thrived under a simpler plan. All teams have to do is predict the future. It’s easier if you can notice patterns.
NFL soothsayers are merely able to tell how much free agents excelled thanks to their circumstances. It’s easier than reading tea leaves. Know who to turn down because their best games have already occurred, and you can start a fulfilling career as a general manager. Start by examining mistakes of those who previously held similar jobs. Their errors make your life easier if you examine the trend. Thank them for being born first.
Teams who don’t recognize the importance of chemistry inevitably explode. Good statistics accumulated in earlier seasons may indicate a player has more fine moments to come. Or, it could mean a guy will get one more contract after peaking. Take how adding Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, and the fabled Ville Leino was supposed to push the Sabres to the top. Instead, it sent them over the edge. They should hit the ground soon like a cartoon coyote as they ideally finish worse than Arizona.
Nobody has to remind Sabres fans that they’ve resorted to cheering for losses to have a one-fifth chance at Connor McDavid. Most egregiously, the perversely legendary Leino served as the Bizarro Fred Jackson. The costly free agent’s one contribution might be making the team that bought him out bad enough that they can draft a generational prospect. Don’t bother to thank him years from now.
If your restaurant’s food stinks, don’t hire more waiters. Free agency success comes not just by adding good players but ones that are good matches for how your team plays. A franchise that, say, gets a cornerback who’s renowned for being left alone like Darrelle Revis and sticks him in a zone may as well burn concession revenue as a halftime show. Tampa Bay is the sort of club that would hire Gauguin to paint their den. The only thing worse than losses is wasted potential.
The Bills have internalized some of their skating counterpart’s hard-earned lessons. Terry Pegula already pays carryovers who prove that throwing money around judiciously can help. Mario Williams shows the benefits of moving for work, as his 38 sacks over three seasons in Buffalo include the first- and third-highest seasonal totals of his career over the last two respective seasons. His easy-looking transition makes paying him a fortune seem like a bargain.
Of course, comparisons to offense smasher Super Mario are unfair for anyone. But Buffalo’s roster includes other free agents who have lived up to individual expectations. Manny Lawson has provided defensive depth with the capability to start, while positive contributors like Corey Graham and Boobie Dixon show how smart shoppers engage in careful research to get value for a buck.
Starving teams often resort to gorging on junk food. But empty calories are rarely fulfilling. Yes, this team still needs to improve at quarterback. Matt Cassel may or may not be the an answer, much less the answer. They could still sign other candidates, but fans may have noticed it’s tricky to find superstar passers in free agency. Buffalo’s best option for now may be trying to get better around whoever starts. Enhancing the guard and tight end positions may work in a way that sticking a marginal or declining stranger behind center may not.
Applying mistakes learned at that other business is one remarkable aspect about franchises sharing an owner. The Bills’ proprietor doesn’t even have to communicate to another person about why a player can change for the worse when someone new signs checks.
Sometimes, the moves teams don’t make can make a difference. Buffalo had enough sense to let the Browns have Josh McCown instead of wondering if he could be the answer to anything. An owner can buy his way to success. He just has to buy the right things.