I’ve been away too long. Life has been good to me on my sabbatical from The DS- and more on that later. I’ve struggled with some of the topics I feel inspired to write about lately. Not very Daily Sampler-esque. This one, however, should be no surprise.
Sunday marked the 16th end in a row for the Buffalo Bills, as in- the end to this year’s playoff hopes. Someone on Twitter put it rather eloquently: “Our playoff drought could get a license now.” Isn’t that mind boggling? Truthfully, I lost hope after the loss to the Chiefs where it seemed clear to me that the coaching staff had their heads so far up their you-know-whats that no one bothered to call challenges on the actual plays that required a challenge flag. That of course wasn’t the only problem in that game or the ones before it, but it was that game that got me to my annual, “THEY DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO GO TO THE PLAYOFFS” state-of-mind. The last few days, I’ve heard many opinions on what the issues are for the Buffalo Bills, and I’d like to add my two sense to the pile, because- well, I HAVE earned the right to. 31 years of this is exhausting, and I consider myself a Bills failure analyzation expert.
The Blame Game
Everyone wants someone to blame, and fans started looking with 1:17 left in Sunday’s game clock. The first one bothers me, but its prevalance requires an acknowledgment.
The Tyrod Theory: It is our natural state as Buffalo Bills fans to immediately call for the head of the person acting as our quarterback for the year. We have a lot of experience with this, and a whole lot of quarterbacks that took the blame in the past. I could list them out, but I think we’ve all been through enough. Tyrod Taylor is not Aaron Rodgers. (You know I would never do him the injustice of being compared to that OTHER QB.) He’s not even Eli Manning. (I still love you, Eli.) But there are a few really awful quarterbacks he’s not either- and those are QBs that are unrepairable and unserviceable. (Sorry, EJ. I’m talking about you.) Tyrod has a lot of work and development ahead of him, and I realize he’s no spring chicken. I am a believer that if he is allowed the time, he could be our quarterback for as long as we allow it. And, I think he’d be pretty damn good. Aaron Rodgers good? I’m not sure about that. After surviving countless years of hopeless quarterback situations, I am here to tell you, this is not one of them. If anything, Tyrod is a bright spot in an offensive situation that was once truly dismal. Should we draft another backup quarterback in the off season? Yes. Next topic.
That Coaching Staff: THIS is where I’m getting stuck. The day they named Rex Ryan our head coach, I was furious. After all that inspiration and promise in the form of saviors Terry and Kim Pegula, they went with THAT guy?!?! Hadn’t they watched the prior season of Jets football? After a week or so, I became one of the dumb schmucks that fell for Rex’s blustering confidence and assurances that he would create the “bully” we all had been seeking and get more W’s, less December-January shame. He may have even used the “P” word, but I am too lazy to research that. The point is, he captured me, top doubter, in his cloud of excitement. I even tried to ignore my nagging annoyance when he began to fill up the entire coaching staff with old buddies and comrades from the Jets. I tried to keep the faith when he continued to fill our defense with ex-Jets. I knew in my heart this was a stupid, stupid idea- but how could you not be riled up for a season ahead after *so much* happened in the off season? And then when we came out fighting and won that first game? We were all on top of the world. Don’t act like you weren’t.
As time went on, my doubts and fears were proven as Rex and his coaching staff not only defiantly called ineffective plays from their 3/4 defensive scheme playbook (even when it maybe wasn’t the best call,) but also let their team off the hook time and time again and undisciplined actions were left to fester. There were so many times I wanted Rex to take so-and-so out for the next series, or sometimes even the game… to show them, you cannot get ridiculous personal foul calls because you’re angry. Those guys needed to learn, but he did nothing. Another great example of this lack of leadership was the first New England game, when the entire team (including our esteemed head coach) came out talking smack and couldn’t back it up. The emotions for that game were so high and so out of control, I could feel them in Depew, and knew they would either win us the game, or cost us terribly. It was the latter, of course, and I left that game feeling a real sense of embarrassment for the Bills that someone wasn’t able to reel in their behavior and get them to act like adults with focus. (Fred could have done it… sigh.) But Rex just HAD to get his win against Belichick and he HAD to insult him at every opportunity. The main problem with this coaching staff this year, besides their inability to do their jobs well is that the entire season was not about my Buffalo Bills. It was about the “Rex Ryan against the world” story that the media so desperately wanted to tell. I’m so happy for Rex that he won HIS “Superbowl” against the Jets a few weeks back. Guess that’s what mattered most to him.
Overpaid and Underworking: How much did we pay for Mario Williams? And how much for Jerry Hughes? What was the final paycheck for Richie Incognito? Just checking, because these three come up in my mind especially when I think, “What the hell was this all for?” Now, with the exception of Sunday’s game against the Eagles, Richie has actually been a pleasant surprise and generally pretty good. Those other two, though. If I had time, I’d compare their weekly salary to the so many stupid and immature penalties and how they cost the team when it really mattered. It actually makes me pretty mad, and I want our money back.
We have other issues too, including our beloved Sammy Watkins. Should Tyrod be throwing him the ball like, A LOT more? YEAH!!! HELLO!!! At the same time, him expressing his frustrations through a very public and unpolished Twitter rant was probably not the best way to go ahead and get that done. There have been occasions this season where Tyrod did wail the ball to him, and guess what? Plenty of times, he couldn’t hack it. I want to see my team grow up and focus on their jobs, because if they can do that, I think we could be a pretty tight unit. This other shit is amateur hour, and it’s why they don’t deserve to make it to the playoffs. AGAIN.
What will the Buffalo Bills do to fix these issues for next year? I can only imagine, and it’s exhausting to think about. We are the Susan Lucci of playoff hopes and dreams, and I hate to break it to you guys, 19 was her charm. Hang tight, #Billsmafia.