Toronto proves less than friendly
as Bill’s “Home” venue
Oh (No) Canada!
You don’t know how to cheer,
Show up earlier, and consume thy native beer!
You doomed us all when you closed your dome,
You let those fish off the hook!
I loathe thee, Oh Canada,
You stole our team you crook!
May you all freeze and perish in the falls!
Oh Canada! You stole our team you crook.
Oh Canada! You cheer just liiiike a rooooook’!
(copyright Keith Hannon enterprises 2008)
First let me apologize for disappearance of Bills recaps. Most of you know I am not a fair weathered individual, so the Bills going into the tank has not been the source of my silence. I started a new gig and my free time to write these epics has been severely limited. Losing does not get me down, actually it is rather inspiring because it makes me feel like I need to address the cries from idiot fans and journalists. Hopefully, this makes up for my recent vanishing.
So much for tapping into the “big market” north of the boarder. I haven’t seen a worse sell-out since Tom Brady started doing topless cologne ads in magazines. I think there’s a legit chance that the stadium was 40-60% Dolphin fans. Never has there been a bigger misuse of home field advantage than what we saw yesterday afternoon. This 5 year plan better significantly help the bills stay in buffalo, because it isn’t benefiting the city of Toronto and it certainly will not help the Bills win football games.
Anyone who thought a rebirth of John Paul Losman would rev up the offense can sit down and be quiet now. I don’t attribute the lack of points on the board to just him, but certainly we can rule him out as the solution to some of our problems. It was very apparent the Dolphins were loading the box in the early downs and then dropping 6 DB’s in the long yardage situations. This has been a pattern used by most teams defending the Bills and they can get away with it because our play calling is predictable and they also know they can usually get to our QB with a 4 man pass rush. Six points in two games? This team has shifted from being bad and has entered into the relm of comical.
The defense put up another solid effort, though they still are not getting many sacks (no Schobel) or turnovers. This unit hasn’t been great all year, but they have been much improved from last season, and with better play from the offense, their play would have the Bills with two or three more wins.
I’m not sure why Turk thinks its a good idea to run a empty backfield, shotgun formation. We have MAYBE two reliable receivers on the team, why do we want to use a formation that puts 5 out on the field? Not only does it tip our hand to the defense, it is the formation with the fewest blockers, which is something this team cannot handle. Marshawn Lynch is the best offensive player on the field and the Bills have not let him pound enough in these games. Last year it was routine that he would touch the ball 20+ times a game, this year he’s lucky to get to 15. Yesterday the Bills were on the 3 yard line and tried a fade pass to a 5’10” receiver. Not only did it not fool the dolphins (an early Christmas present from JP to Will Allen) but the Bills fooled themselves by 1) Thinking JP could make that throw, and 2) Not giving Lynch a crack at the end-zone. I know its Turk’s first year calling the plays, but he really needs to find out what the identity of this team is. Personally, I’d rather seem them score three points a game running a no-huddle aggressive offense, than a time consuming, ball-control approach that drains the clock and leaves you punting.
What People Are Saying:
1) Fire Jauron
I have heard a few people mention that this team has too much talent to play so poor and that is a direct result of the coaching. When the Bills were 5-1, I heard a lot of people say the coaching was getting the most out of a young, inexperienced team. It’s amazing how losing can shift opinions. I’m not ready to can Dick Juron just yet. He is a defensive minded coach and his D is playing well enough to win. His in game decisions have been ok for my taste, it’s the offensive play calling that is hurting the team. If you think Juron should go you have to be willing to provide a good argument for who should replace him. Unless Bill Cower comes out of retirement, I don’t see anyone available that is worth reshuffling the system yet again.
2) This team has too much talent to play so poorly.
As for this team being “talented”, I think this team has POTENTIAL. Let’s remember most “experts” had the Bills pegged to go any where from 7-9 to 9-7 (the 9-7 predictions were few and far between). The 5-1 start was glorious, but it also set an expectation for the 2008 season that this team wasn’t ready for. I have pleaded many times to please remember this team is full of young players and over the course of the year, especially when more game tape becomes available, young players go through growing pains. Lee Evans is the only veteran “play maker” on the offensive side of the ball. Josh Reed is a solid player but he doesn’t put fear in our opponents. On defense, Schobel is probably the only REAL threat and has been missing most of the season. Whitner is developing nicely but is still young by safety standards. Kyle Williams and Pauly Poz will be dominant in the near future. Sadly, the most consistent player on the team is probably Brian Moorman.
3) Trent Edwards is/ is not a long term answer at QB.
We just don’t know yet. Anyone who says yes he is, or no he is not has no real evidence to go by. The argument that he can’t play in bad weather is not a valid claim at this point. Using the Cleveland and Giants game from last year is unfair, no one passed well in either of those games. (including the eventual Super Bowl MVP) I am still optimistic he can develop into a good franchise QB, but to do that he has to be able to make mistakes without all of Western New York clamoring for his release. The fact of the matter is that the NFL very thin at the QB level. Like the question I posed for firing Juron, if you bench Edwards, who is our QB of the future? Who is out there that is a sure thing to lead this team to the playoff? Culpepper? Kitna? I would love to hear your ideas and if you say Matt Cassel, just remember what happened the last time the we grabbed a QB from New England. My opinion is to stick with Edwards through next season at least, let him be aggressive, he was good running the no-huddle as a rookie, go back it. The Baltimore Ravens approach of great D with an offense that doesn’t “lose the game for you” is a philosophy many teams have copied and non have succeeded with (minus maybe Tampa Bay in 2002). Look at QB’s like Arron Rodgers, who have been in a system for over 4 years and still have struggled. The Packers gave up their HOF QB in place of Rodgers and are 5-8 in his first year as starter. The notion that the Bills are a “better QB away from being a contender” is absurd. They need help in other areas to get to the next level.
4) The playoff drought is unacceptable.
Well actually, it should be well accepted by Bills fans. Many other franchises have come to live with it. For some reason us Bills lovers feel some sort of entitlement to success in the NFL and when our players don’t perform they are a blackeye on the city. From 1970-1987 the Bills made 3 playoff appearances, with only one postseason victory in that stretch. That’s a long 27 years if you ask me. In the 90’s they were successful, but never won a super bowl and actually won only one playoff game between 1994 and 2000. Maybe it’s the worry of the team relocating, but I sometimes get perplexed as to why Bills fans have such a high expectation for this team. I think we have as devoted a fanbase as anyone and I wish the people of Buffalo would be rewarded for their passion. However, it is important to note that building a team takes time, as it did before Kelly, Thomas, Bruce and the boys came together to make their run. Be patient, be supportive and if the games bring you pain, TIVO them, then watch it later where you can skip commercials, reviews, and halftime to make a 3 hour gut wrencher, an hour and a half disappointment.
Where to Go from Here:
Three games left, no playoffs in sight, now is the time to pull out all the stops. Run a no huddle, throw the ball deep, mix in trick plays, and play extra aggressive. You have nothing to lose. Let’s see what these young players can do when we let them loose and don’t hand an axe over their heads. The worst that can happen is that we improve our draft position. It would be really nice to knock New England out of contention on the final day of the season.
Wins needed to prove Donte Whitner Correct: NO LONGER APPLICABLE
Idiot Announcer Moment of the Game: I mean honestly, have Bills games become so desolate that we need to constantly talk about the hang time of the kicks? Have you ever heard someone hammer home HANG TIME like that? For christ sake, I’d rather hear about the lines at the concession stands than have to hear analysis on how long teams want a kick to stay in the air. As someone who studied the industry, I cannot mathom why these jobs are so hard to get with so many bad people being employed.
You know what really grinds my gears: A four yard route on 4th and 5.
Quote of the Week I heard from someone I can’t recall: “OJ getting 15 years for robbery as a first time offender has to be the most famous “make-up call” in the history of sports.”