If progress follows growing after trying times, the Buffalo Bills could be in good shape. Of course, they have to learn from the woe presently being endured. The suffering is nothing novel. Character provided through encountering the same scenario is itself a disturbingly a recurring theme. Diagnosing what not to do anymore is the important part.
One way to help prepare during the bye is to make use of Netflix accounts. Films about getting better are almost as useful as the playbook. Players still have time to watch the indispensable Groundhog Day, or Run Lola Run for those who prefer a surreal techno German take on self-improvement through experience. This franchise has been cursed with repeating the same seasons without the benefit of adaptation. A week with no new examples from which to gain offers time to prepare for when new challenges arrive. It’s easier to do better during the next situation if you possess the benefit of knowing what didn’t work before.
Time off is exhausting. This franchise counts the minutes as it’s in the midst of waiting two stinking weeks just for the chance to get to .500 at the halfway point. Buffalo could remove a lot of worry about the playoffs by going 3-5. But that isn’t the way fans want to remove stress. For once, can’t this club make us nervous about postseason rounds instead of having to invent elaborate plots of how they could possibly advance? Expecting other AFC wild card contenders to keep losing isn’t a winning strategy, although they’ll take all the help they can get.
The horrid game-free week lets fans check where Rex Ryan’s Jets teams stood 50 percent of the way in, which is one of the side benefits of not hiring a rookie sideline chief. Notably, he got to 4-4 at the halfway point in his first season; that mediocre record after eight games of his initial head coaching gig provides a small amount of comfort considering they got to the conference final. By contrast, New Jersey’s junior team stood at 1-7 around this time least year after getting trounced by… the Buffalo Bills. His present team mercifully doesn’t have to trust Geno Smith. But they do have to determine why quarterbacks they’ve faced have been able to relax despite a defensive front that’s expensive for a reason.
This team already needs a late pass for lessons. Ryan was supposed to have learned from his first try as head coach. Everyone expects some adjustment with new players. But a supervisor should be prepared by virtue of having previously encountered personnel issues. Besides, this is not just any previous boss but the notoriously forward guy who was supposed to make Buffalo prominent on maps. Braggadocio unaccompanied by substance just means the extra insult of lingering empty trash talk. A bit of rest will hopefully let this roster put words into action.
Ryan’s talent pool isn’t as thin as the Jersey swamps anymore. His final Jets clubs had to drop into zones due to a depleted secondary. But there are no excuses for such humble scheming now. We thought this defense looked pretty dang intimidating in August. Instead, the Bills have often had tone dictated to them. They’re in the midst of two weeks where they can improve attitude and range. More time should help. Of course, that seemed true during training camp, too.
On the other side, I remember hearing something once about running to set up the pass. I wish I could recall the sagacious ex-player who shared such wise advice. Regardless of my inability to find the clip, the penetrating football wisdom persists. Wearing down a defense that has to crowd the line to compensate seems like it would make sense, especially for a team that wants to hurt more than feelings. Dedicate the rest of the season to trying it, as excessive passing hasn’t worked yet for a reason. Thankfully, not having the first- and second-stringers may be a past problem.
This mini-era of healing will hopefully cure excuses. Lamenting injuries as if they’ve never affected an NFL team before ignores how resilient teams succeed with who’s available. Present the injured reserve list to postseason schedulers, and maybe they’ll grant an exemption. But it’s unlikely. The only thing that helps incorrectly twisted limbs is off days, which is one advantage to this interminable midseason recess.
A few empty calendar days are as rare a commodity in the NFL as a game without penalties for playing defense, so they may as well make use of the whole fortnight. The bonus spectator week is most importantly a time for mental healing. If the Bills haven’t gotten their tempers down, a Sunday of having no live AFC East action to watch but the Jets will be for naught. There’s enough time between games to forget, so treat this as yet one more chance to restart. Just don’t forget to take off after taking off.