Thankful for Service, Buffalo Bills Get Ready to Fire

Photo of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane from the Associated Press and profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.

Figuring out who’s not present in a group is tricky.  It takes a true party animal to be noticed for not attending.  Our football gatherings don’t have rooting interests for now.  That’s no reason to stop celebrating.  Didn’t you hear about the tournament appearance?

The glaring absences featured on the Buffalo Bills roster were apparent during the wild card.  Still, it remains acceptable to marvel that same game actually occurred.  Now that emotions have subsided, we can truly appreciate at what this team did with players we were told aren’t good enough.

The timing seems off.  Starting over after obtaining a wild card is like settling a bar tab before drinking.  Our favorite franchise has often been unconventional.  That’s not necessarily praise.

If the Bills want to be one of those jerk teams that bores the league by making the playoffs every year, the push should have started weeks ago.  The notion of continual talent evaluation seems obvious. At the same time, recall this franchise goes back-to-back as often as a call goes against the dang Patriots.

It’s hard to think of another playoff team with as many offseason personnel needs.  Does that offer comfort?  Yeah – I know it’s a no.  But roster members still felt like it committed some sort of record.  This club could replace half its starters in a testament to overachievement.  Remember they’re in the midst of a rebuild if you haven’t felt grateful enough for the structure built with the materials on hand.

Like the troubled Lifetime Movie character with a new identity whose face is familiar to a shrewd reporter, the Bills couldn’t escape the past.  Their troubles inevitably caught up to them.  But they outpaced their deficiencies long enough to appear as postseason extras.

The needs exposed in the second game were evident in the 17thScoring a single field goal against Carolina reflected an inability to advance the ball through the air.  The greatest offseason challenge will be remembering the names of receivers who valiantly attempted to fill a need.

Both sides need serious restocking if you’re interested in equality.  General manager Brandon Beane could use an entire draft on the front seven if he wants to be novel.  It was seemingly impossible to have gotten at least this far, so hooray for overachieving.

Photo of Kyle Williams from buffalobills.com and twitter.com.

There are a rather high percentage of defensive starters who would be welcome back for depth.  On the other hand, Kyle Williams has earned the right to walk away if he pleases and also should totally stay to feel revitalized around so many new comrades.

These makeshift mechanics weren’t going to end the season on the shoulder.

The Bills were a Volkswagen Beetle kept running with duct tape and paperclips. 

It’s fine to remain surprised the jalopy got this far.  Wags can no longer joke that this is the Bills, not an NFL team.  But it’s nice looking forward to a season that will presumably feature more players widely thought of as genuine starters.

The next step involves doing something with the promotion.  It’s not to bring up another drought, but this franchise’s last playoff win came on December 30, 1995.  That was during a different Bill’s first term.  Sure, there will be another midterm election before Buffalo even has the chance.  But at least we’re used to the sensation of patience.

Fans of this oft-challenging franchise passed the tolerance test.  There were a couple more years of agony just when you thought you had reached the breaking point.  But 2017 was about actually fulfilling a promise.  I’m shocked by the honesty, too.

Photo from retroland.com.

The process of simultaneously removing and acquiring players will at least ensure this will be a relatively eventful offseason.  Buffalo’s list of draft needs reads like a bowl of Alpha-Bits.  The only thing worse than high employee turnover is sticking with players who aren’t expected to replicate a remarkable feat.

You earned a football miracle.  It was true a decade ago, but the universe is not on your timetable.  The Bills somehow got to nine wins despite the number of faces who’ll be replaced.  Sure, they had numerous recognizable players we may even know by name.  Bless the many ostensibly anonymous players who created cherished memories before they leave time.

The football factory reset the sign to zero seasons without a playoff appearance.  Yet supervisors should remain unsatisfied.  It’s tempting to become content with a promotion.  At least win a division before slacking.

Upcoming personnel moves will be designed to ensure a wild card loss wasn’t the franchise’s Super Bowl.  If they got this far with this many glaring deficiencies, imagine what having a full roster will do.

The 2018 Bills will be one year further removed from Rex Ryan and thus his regrettable influence.  I had forgotten he was this club’s coach, too, as it seems like an odd dream.  Regular nightmares have been interrupted.  The process isn’t going to become untrustworthy now.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

16 Replies to “Thankful for Service, Buffalo Bills Get Ready to Fire”

  1. Thanks Anthony….

    it won’t be shocking if the Bills take a step backwards this year as the team was one of the oldest in the NFL..

    They had a good draft last year with White, Dawkins, Milano, (Peterman–yes Peterman) and Z. Jones who will be much better next season. The signings of Hyde and Poyer shored up the safety positions..

    One thing we know the 2018 draft will be very very interesting… We’re all thinking the Bills will move up but maybe they move back and get extra picks to help with all their needs.

  2. Thanks for another article Anthony!

    As I’ve said in previous comments, a big reason why the Bills have had a ridiculous 17+ year playoff drought is that the team was never built to win the division. For years, the team was built like a shotgun pattern (all over the place). Previous Bills GM’s took the Best Player Available (BPA) on their board which was mainly a huge mistake as we’ve seen numerous first round picks wasted on RB’s and DB’s. Our last GM [Whaley] was just like ex-Sabres GM [Tim Murray] as they both thought by having a collection of good players, that would create success. With all of that being said, from what I’ve seen from McDermott and Beane, they’ve been building a team that is fitting into their system. Some might say they’ve overachieved with lesser talent, that could be true, but when you are building a team with players with a specific purpose/plan, you’re going to have more success vice being all over the place regardless if the player fits what you’re trying to do. A good example is Rex Ryan/Whaley draft Shaq Lawson. Lawson’s specialty is a DE in a 4-3 defense. Does it make sense to use a first round draft on Lawson, especially if you’re running a 3-4 defense, something Lawson was not accustomed to? No. Reggie Ragland was a good fit as a MLB in a 3-4 defense, but when McBeane took over and the Bills switched to a 4-3, it was obvious in training camp that Ragland was not a good fit as a MLB in the 4-3 defense, so the Bills traded him.

  3. “Some might say they’ve overachieved with lesser talent”

    They did overachieve big time. Part of that might be good coaching. I won’t discount that entirely…but they obviously didn’t think they had great coaching across the board as they axed their OC. I also saw enough bad game day decisions that I can’t say these guys are just fantastic coaches. And by the numbers, the team was just not that good. They had a lot of luck and played in a terrible AFC. The team was better the last two years and suffered from bad coaching more than anything. That wasn’t on Whaley. Whaley never got to pick the coach like most GMs so I can’t blame him too much for the team’s shortcomings. Had they hired any decent HC, kept Schwartz on, and even had the same OCs, they probably would have made the playoffs the previous two years.

    • While the coaching hires are not on Whaley, the draft picks are on him and the way he built the team is on him. He did a good job of building a good front four on defense, but his LB’s were either mediocre or bad. Secondary was either hit or miss as he had good starters, but the backups were terrible. The O-line was not good at pass protection and he wasn’t able to find a franchise QB. With just taking the BPA and filling in holes here and there, the team was not built with a solid structure. The Bills would have a good player or two in certain spots, but bad one’s in others (mainly key areas such as QB). In order to build a solid team foundation, a GM must build both lines out, plus have a franchise QB (not the pretenders the Bills have been parading for nearly 20 years). O-linemen take longer to develop than most positions, plus, any QB needs time to throw. If Brady played behind the Bills O-line, he’d look like a mediocre QB at best as he wouldn’t have the time to go through his reads before getting pummeled.

      While McDermott has made a lot of bad game day calls so far, I like how him and Beane transformed the team so far. They revamped the secondary and it was a major strength of the team. Drafting Matt Milano was a great move and I hope the Bills get more athletic LB’s like him that are mobile and can cover. I like that McBeane has gotten bigger WR’s, something the team has been missing for years. Now the Bills need a QB (no brainer there), a speedy WR who’s not brittle, and a RT and RG that are good at pass protection.

  4. “If Brady played behind the Bills O-line, he’d look like a mediocre QB at best ”

    I disagree completely with that statement. When the Bills were a sack happy defense, Brady still carved them up because he got rid of the ball in less than 2 seconds. Further, the Bills O line wasn’t actually all that bad at pass blocking TT’s first couple years, he just holds onto the ball way too long. His first couple years as a Bill he was being given some of the most time in the league to pass…he just so happened to regularly use up all that available time and more.

    As for Whaley and not building the team right, he worked a lot with Wrecks and brought in the type of players he asked for. I can’t really judge the job he did because he was put in a bad position to start. All I can say is I felt the team was talented for about a 3 year stretch. Obviously it lacked at QB, but I think with a stud QB it would have been a contender for that window. Then again, if they had a stud QB, they might not have been able to afford all that talent but who knows. I do think Whaley made enough bad decisions that I don’t feel bad for him losing his job, but I don’t think he was put in the best spot to succeed either, and like I said, thought he provided a pretty talented roster.

    • I disagree about time in the pocket, Greg Roman in his first year as OC, then Anthony Lynn the next year played to Taylor’s strength’s and had him roll out of the pocket and play half the field because Taylor is not a pocket passer, plus whenever he was in the pocket, Taylor constantly scrambled to avoid the sack. A less athletic QB would have gotten smashed. Look at Peterman this year when he came in, he got knocked out of a game and in the Chargers game, the right side of the line was a turnstile.

      Whaley’s drafts sucked! What he was good at was free agent pick ups.

  5. Good morning…

    Whaley and that group are all in the past… The Bills will continue to build for the future while competing in the present.. McD and Beanie have a plan in place and in 2 years this team will be on the verge of a championship…

    The unity on the team is now as close as the Bills were in the 90’s with no prima donnas and few mal-contents… McD has the team going in the right direction…

    Hell yea they got lucky this year to make the playoffs with a 9-7 record and the way the Bengals beat the Ravens but they were due!

    beanie is hinting around that they may not trade up with all their needs.

  6. Never mind getting lucky to make it in at 9-7, they were lucky just getting to 9-7. Good on the coaches for managing 9 wins with the 6 win talent they had, but I still think it was more luck than skill.

    If the team doesn’t find a legit QB McBeane will be on the verge of looking for new jobs in 2 years. They’re not in great position to land a legit QB so we’ll get to see just how smart they are.

    “Look at Peterman this year when he came in, he got knocked out of a game and in the Chargers game, the right side of the line was a turnstile.”

    The line took a step back this year, no doubt. I don’t know I’d blame that on Whaley.

    • A friend just sent me the news on Wood–what a shocker!!

      Bills Daily:

      Wood Has Career Ending Injury: Scout Fantasy Sports continues to be on top of today’s devastating injury news and they were also the first to report that Eric Wood is the player who suffered a career ending neck injury. Adam Schefter reports that it isn’t from a specific injury or accident but it is partly from wear and tear and is a complicated medical situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wood who recently signed a contract extension with the team and has been the anchor of the offensive line. He will be tough to replace on the field and even tougher to replace in the locker room. The team does have Ryan Groy on the roster as the backup center and they paid heavily to keep him as a restricted free agent then didn’t play him at guard last year.

    • That sucks about Eric Wood, he’s still a young guy at 31. My two favorite Eric Wood moments are when he yelled at Maybin “Why don’t you give back some of that F@!king money you haven’t earned yet,” and when he leveled Clay Matthews in the last Bills/Packers game.

  7. Back to Whaley, his drafts look bad for the Bills, but the players taken aren’t garbage. Who knows what they would have looked like in a stable, consistent scheme with a coach he was on the same page as. I’m not sad he’s gone, but I don’t think he’s as terrible as people make him out to be…and I think he was dealt a pretty crappy hand that it would have been challenging for any GM to succeed with. I do think he sucked when it came to draft management, though. Regularly trading up and throwing away picks… For the most part, QB is the only position worth trading up for.

  8. That is awful news about Wood, he had some tough luck in his pro career–a couple of season ending injuries to start and now this..

  9. Sounds like the Bills decided to last minute pull some shit with Wood. He was all set to have a press conference announcing his retirement and explain the situation and more or less have a celebratory send off. Instead it started almost an hour late and Wood gave a short 90 second statement simply stating he was unable to play any longer but that he was still on the roster. Very awkward situation. Nice job, Bills. Nice to wait till the last second and have everyone show up for no reason.