One of the disadvantages of social media is that it seems to disrupt my ability to remain in complete denial about the Bills during the off season. June used to be my favorite month in the NFL off season because I could distract myself with all sorts of things like fishing, hiking, gardening, etc.
Now I can check my Bills app while I’m in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming (assuming there is cell service which is not the case in many places) and find out what’s happening at OTAs while they are going on. How spoiled are we as Bills fans today with guys like Sal Capaccio, Joe Buscaglia, Matthew Fairburn, Vic Carucci, and a host of other great media professionals tweeting live from practice?
Sal’s “Vines” and analyses are worse than a meth addiction for those of us pining away and impatient for football season to start. However, many of us who grew up in Western New York have a lot of cognitive dissonance about wishing the summer away too fast. It’s short enough as it is!
So when VIc Carucci’s tweet hit my timeline on Wednesday with the news that all three quarterbacks performed putridly in practice, it felt like being blasted out of a really nice long nap that was just getting started.
Within minutes, other reporters started posting “hold your nose” comments about the play of all three quarterbacks as well. Oh no… corroboration. Now how am I supposed to get myself comfortably ensconced in complete denial about the QB situation for the next few weeks leading into training camp?
I needed to find a better strategy. One of the most effective ways to control irrational thoughts is by refuting them, and replacing them with alternative (and arguably more rational) explanations. For example, if a Bills fan is obsessing about the absence of a clear QB1 in the middle of June, then what can they say to themselves that will assuage their fear over something they have zero ability to control and is months away from being answered?
It occurred to me as I thought about this situation that perhaps rationality is overrated. What difference does it make if the end result is that I feel better and can go about enjoying the rest of the summer in peace?
With that in mind, here are a few of the less than rational thoughts that went through my mind after we were rudely awakened to the reality that the Bills may not have a fully functional QB leading the way this season:
1. We don’t need no stinking QB anyway. Just eliminate the position and play the season out without one. Why not? An extra TE might be a good position to add for the extra player. It’s also been reported that there’s going to be a big battle at the tight end position at training camp. Didn’t MarQueis Gray play QB in college? Toss him in there and let Fred Jackson throw a few passes as well. Problem solved.
2. How about blaming poor QB performance on the rabid defense? Rex already said he had to pull Jerry Hughes out of practice because he was too disruptive for the offense to learn their plays. Eric Wood did mention this week that it was challenging to prepare to practice against this defense every day. Makes sense to me.
3. Or, my personal favorite is to go with the old conspiracy excuse. You know, where it’s all a plot to throw off upcoming opponents. This of course doesn’t explain all the corroborating evidence being presented by the media that the QBs looked nauseatingly bad throwing footballs. However, it does play into to my sense of paranoia to blame the poor play by QBs on an image they are trying to create, and “play possum”. This “irrational explanation” usually works long enough to get me through to training camp.
4. For the sticklers that want to focus on facts and measurable evidence, how about blaming the slow development of any QB on Greg Roman’s complex offense? Just looking at how the analytic folks break down his scheme is enough to make my head spin and puke green. The players keep emphasizing how many formations there are and how much he moves players around. It has to take much longer to learn and get it right. Right?
5. And last but not least, there’s always the tried and true explanation that one of the three QBs is just on the cusp of becoming the next Aaron Rodgers. “We just have to be more patient”, right? Mathematically we are due for a quarterback that won’t end up as another epic fail. The fact that it hasn’t happened for more than 20 years should only enhance the fact that this fan base DESERVES a good QB on their roster, right?
Why not make use of that great marketing approach inferring to customers that they DESERVE everything from a new car to softer toilet tissue? Look, none of these explanations are going to eliminate the realization that the Bills may be a headless bison heading into this season.
There’s no way to put lipstick on any of these guys and make them look any prettier at this point of the off season. So, rather than dwell on the fact that this team has not identified a ‘franchise’ QB, I say we should plunge into denial at full throttle.
Let’s refute those worries with the most outrageous explanations you can think of, and allow yourself to float in the river of denial. There’s no reason to get out of the water now, the weather is too nice. Just say or do whatever it takes to focus on enjoying a beautiful summer, and forget about the fact that the team you love is a headless snake at this point.
All those pesky little details like determining who will play QB for the Bills in September are weeks away anyway. It doesn’t make sense to ruin the summer fretting about it. But, if you do choose to do so, please add more irrational responses in the comment section below. Like cornerbacks, you can never have enough of them.