This is undoubtedly one of the darkest times in the last 20 years of Bills football. I usually like to start the post-game recap with some sort of a humorous anecdote, but I’m afraid the state of our franchise has left my funny-bone in utter ruins. I’m not going to dive into the details of this past Sunday, if you watched that sad display of a football game you know there’s nothing much to say. I can honestly say, I found my recent tour of Pearl Harbor to be more uplifting than what transpired between 1pm and 4pm, Pacific Standard Time this past Sunday. The sad reality is, if the Bills has somehow found a way to win that pathetic contest, they would only be a game out of first with a big matchup against the Jets looming this Sunday. Now I consider myself one of the more optimistic Bills fans, but even I am ready to clean house with not just this team, but more importantly, the organization.
Sports seem to be one of those unique nexuses of the universe where you can be miserable at your job, and still earn a few million bucks. For if no other reason than trying to secure my own sanity, here are the reasons the Bills have fallen on hard times.
1) The Ralph Factor: Some say he’s a legend, some say he’s cheap, some say he never should have left Detroit. Either way, the future of Ralph Wilson is the ultimate catch-22. With Ralph, the Bills seem destined to spend little a win even less. Without Ralph, the Bills could be leaving town. At the end of the day, a 90-year old man is calling the shots at 1 Bills Drive. For the love of all that’s sacred, they don’t even have a general manager! I don’t know what title they are using to describe Russ Brandon these days, but it sure isn’t “successful”. Every time Russ Brandon is in front of the cameras he looks like he just spent 5 hours drinking at Transit Lanes. The last three coaches that were hired by Ralph Wilson were Gregg Williams, Mike “Cheeseburger diet is the best game plan” Mularkey, and Dick “At least I’m a nice guy” Jauron. In that time, the following coaches have been hired by other teams: Marvin Lewis (interviewed with Bills), Lovie Smith (interviewed with Bills), John Fox (interviewed with Bills), Bill Parcells, Tony Dungy, Jim Mora Jr., and the list goes on… I’m not going to call Ralph a racist, but is archaic and that conflicts with the need to be revolutionary in today’s NFL. More and more teams are hiring young coaches, Ralph has hired 2 coordinators, a former head coach with a losing record, and even signed a general manager in Marv Levy who didn’t care much for scouting, but loved to tell stories about Churchill in the draft day war room. I mean of all the coaches that were available, Ralph chose the guy who had just served as interim coach on the LIONS, THE LIONS!
2) Strength and Conditioning Coordinator: Bills fans, meet John Allaire. After serving as the Bills asst. strength and conditioning coordinator for 4 years, he is currently in his 4th year as the head guy. I don’t have the #’s for 2006 and 2007, but in 2007, 17 Bills players were placed on IR (including 1 career ending injury). So far this year, through only 5 games, the Bills now have 10 players on injured reserve. I don’t know enough about the business to know whether or not this guy is doing his job, but when this many people get hurt every year, you have to start wondering how well prepared they are to take the field. If I have a vote, this guy is relieved of his duties at the end of the year.
3) The Quarterback: There’s not anyone out there who has pulled for Edwards as much as I have, but at this point, I’m starting to wonder. People like to get on QBs who are “jerks” for yelling at teammates on the sidelines and grabbing guys by the facemask, but those are usually the guys that win. Edwards is a nice, well-spoken, young man who I’m sure is very intelligent. Unfortunately, I’m not sure he’ll ever get a fair shake in Western New York. The Bills need a signal caller who embodies the personality of the town. They need a guy who will lead both in and out of the locker room. Edwards looks defeated, his confidence seems shot and there are no signs to think that is going to change. The Bills need a guy who IS Buffalo. Love him or hate him, Ben Roethlisberger looks like the guy who works next to you down at the Steel Mill. He rides a motorcycle, he’s not pretty, and he throws linebackers off him like their annoying little flies. I know many have been successful, but enough of the California quarterbacks. Trent’s hair is always very nice, JP had a great tan, and Rob Johnson looked awesome in board shorts, but they’re not Buffalo. They don’t have the right mentality to play in wind storms, pouring rain, and blizzards. Jim Kelly thrived off the elements, the recent QB’s are always seen bundled up in coats wishing they were elsewhere.
4) Player Scouting / Development: Remember that perennial pro-bowler the Bills had a few years ago? No? Neither do I and that’s because they haven’t had one. I did some homework and here’s some interesting facts:
– Since the 1999 season, the Bills have had 21 pro-bowlers ( ave. 2.7 a year)
– Of those who have gone more than once: Rueben Brown went 5 times, Brian Moorman 3 times, Moulds, Schobel, and Peters have gone twice.
– So 3 out of 5 of our multi-year Probowlers are offensive linemen and a punter, with a DE and a WR mixed in.
Where are the playmakers? Where is all the talent you have to have after this many “rebuilding years”? Whoever is in charge of scouting obviously is not getting it done. Here are the Bills #1 picks since ’99:
’99- Antoine Winfield CB (Free agent to Vikings), ’00- Nate Clements CB (Free agent to 49ers), ’01-Mike Williams OT (released), ’02-Willis Mcgahee RB (traded to Ravens), ’03-Lee Evans WR (on roster), ’04-JP Losman QB (not in NFL), ’05-No pick, ’06-Donte Whitner S / John McCargo DT (both on roster), ’08 Leodis McKelvin CB (on roster)
Of those picks, only 1 played in a pro-bowl for the Bills (Clements). Winfield and Clements went unsigned in the peak of their career, Losman is playing in the minors in the desert, and McCargo was traded away only to come back to Buffalo because he failed a physical. Bravo front office, way to nail those scouting reports.
This organization needs a major over haul. A new GM, a new coach, a new QB, and new ownership. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel until all of these things happen. Bills fans continue to complain, but they also buy season tickets at record numbers. If you reinforce the decisions with your money, you’re just as much to blame…..
Hey there! Optimistic Keith is back and guess what? We’re only 2 games out of first and we play the first place team this weekend! This is our chance to get right back in the thick of things! Gooooooooo Billlllllllls!