And as we speak right now, the Bills are the most out of touch, helpless, hopeless team in the NFL.
I think it is very important for someone who gets paid for their opinion to admit if they have a bias. And I do. While I am not a fan of the Buffalo Bills, I am a huge fan of the Bills fans. The Bills fans are rabid and starving for a winner. They are an amazing group. The connection between the team and the region is special. When the Bills win, people feel good, even when the skies are consistently gray. The “A” block of a newscast features the economy, the weather, and the Bills, and not necessarily in that order.
And when you look at the state of affairs in Buffalo, it is maddening, puzzling, and downright sad. I would love for Roger Goodell, who certainly has enough on his plate, to consider stepping in to save the team. That’s how mismanaged they are. The Bills are light years away from the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins. The only question as we enter Week 7 is whether or not the Bills will score a single point on the road in Baltimore this weekend.
We dedicate this SCHEIN 9 to the Bills fans, giving you the nine reasons the Buffalo faithful are as mad as hell, and why frustration now borders on apathy.
1. The general manager was asleep at midnight for free agency
Was Buddy Nix truly asleep at 12:01 on March 5? I don’t know the answer. But what I do know is that when the “long in the tooth” general manager tells the public, in jest or not, that he plans to be tucked in and not working when the offseason period commences, that is a huge problem and public relations nightmare.
When your team hasn’t made the playoffs since losing the “Music City Miracle” and the rabid fan base is starved and anxious to see your first move, this is one of the all-time dumbest and most clueless statements in the history of sports.
It’s not like the Bills had talent or depth at quarterback or along the offensive line, vital positions on the field. The team was planning on making a transition to a new defensive scheme. You would think the new man in charge would be interested in talking to players and agents.
Saying you would be asleep was a slap in the face and sheer disrespect to your fans and team.
2. Marshawn Lynch
I am not against trading Marshawn Lynch. He had issues off the field. The running back wasn’t too interested in the offseason programs. And Lynch has seemingly been counting the minutes until he was out of lovely Western New York from the moment he was drafted. I’m totally against the chronological order and the actual trade process.
Marshawn Lynch was never part of Chan Gailey’s plan. So why was he there? Why did he survive draft weekend after the Bills took a running back (more on that later) in the first round? And you knew he was going to be a distraction all summer long with the “will he, won’t he” saga, whether or not he would show up for offseason work and whether or not he would be traded before camp.
Somehow, Lynch survived it all despite his total indifference until two weeks ago when he was traded to Seattle. But then FOX’s Jay Glazer dropped a huge bomb on the NFL on FOX pregame when he reported that Nix didn’t even bother to shop the talented back around the NFL. Glaze is never wrong. And if Nix did his due diligence and acted like a shrewd negotiator, he could’ve received a higher draft pick from another team like the Packers, a preseason Super Bowl favorite that lost running back Ryan Grant for the season. And Aaron Rodgers, a fellow Cal grad, gave the Packers a ringing endorsement on Lynch’s character.
If you are a Bills fan, on the heels of the GM saying he would be sleeping when the offseason activity started, and then you find out that the man in charge didn’t fully look into trading a legit chip, you throw your hands up in disgust. It doesn’t get more aggravating than that.
3. You draft C.J. Spiller but …
I was in my usual chair hosting the NFL draft on Sirius NFL Radio. I tossed out potential names for the Bills. My colleagues discussed and brought up others. The focus was offensive line and the best defensive player on the board. And the Bills picked Spiller, a player I was on record, after talking to executives around the league, as becoming the next Chris Johnson. I made the case that this would equal sizzle, instantly helping the run game, the passing attack and special teams. I figured Lynch would get traded on draft weekend (silly me) and the Bills could address the line later in the draft.
And Spiller goes in and wows everyone with his work ethic, professionalism, and football savvy in the offseason. The skills are incredible. His preseason performance was great.
And then he barely plays.
C.J. Spiller should’ve received 20 carries in the season opener. Spiller has 19 carries on the entire season. That’s inexplicable and counterproductive.
You figured he would get the ball upon Lynch’s dismissal from the roster. Spiller got five carries in Week 5 against the Jags. The ninth overall pick has 20 total carries. If you weren’t going to use him, there were three legit offensive linemen there for the taking.
You can’t make this stuff up.
4. Quarterback, anyone?
It’s not that the Bills cut Trent Edwards. It’s that they named him the starter, scrapped the plan after 2 weeks, and then cut their Week 1 starter. It shows no plan and no direction.
If you weren’t that sold on Edwards, and clearly you weren’t, how do you not beef up the quarterback position? You could’ve gone big and traded for Donovan McNabb. You could’ve said that Marc Bulger is better than Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Brohm. You could’ve and should’ve drafted Jimmy Clausen.
The Buffalo Bills have the single worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL, and it is not even up for debate. And this was the case last year. So how to you not fix it? The Rams fixed their quarterback situation. Oakland at least made an effort. But not the Bills.
5. Aaron Maybin over Michael Oher
This one is from the old regime in the 2009 draft. But the Bills have been sans a left tackle for what feels like forever. Oher is sitting there. The Bills, out of absolute nowhere, pluck one-hit wonder Aaron Maybin. Oher got my vote for rookie of the year last season. He has the ultimate attitude and has become a rock for the Ravens. Maybin’s next big play with be his first.
6. They already changed the GM and coach — and failed
At least Carolina, matching the Bills loss for loss, can say they know a new coach and general manager are coming to town. Hope, or at least the possibility of hope, is on the way. The Bills had a chance to correct their situation and failed.
The Bills already made their change. You promote within and appoint Buddy Nix? Things were working before? How do you not hire a great No. 2 from another savvy club, like the Ravens’ Eric Decosta or the Cardinals’ Steve Keim or John Schneider before he left Green Bay for Seattle.
And Chan Gailey? It’s like the scene in "Major League" when they are sitting in the board room going over these ridiculous names. Was he on anyone’s radar? Does anyone care if Bill Cowher gave him a blessing? What on Gailey’s resume made him the ideal fit for the Bills head coach? His stint in Dallas? Getting canned as the OC of the Chiefs? His run a Georgia Tech? It’s all depressing especially when you consider …
7. Nobody wanted to coach the Bills
Mike Shanahan was available. So was Cowher. Jon Gruden will get back in the coaching game. The Super Bowl winners, sadly and rightly, avoided Buffalo like the plague.
And what was really damning was the fact that up and comers, like Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, didn’t want the gig. You often times get just one crack to be a head coach in the NFL. Why be in a situation set up to fail and never get back on the coaching wheel? Which is how you end up in a situation with a recently dismissed offensive coordinator.
8. Ralph Wilson has lost touch
Why would Trent Edwards be in the “K-gun” offense last year? Why was Marv Levy placed in charge a few years back? Why would Wilson fly Dick Jauron to the midwest and then fire his offensive coordinator a week before the season? How could he pick Nix and Gailey as the answers? Is Wilson living in the past? Does he see what he going on? Does he recognize what is going on? It is great that the Bills have their stadium named after Ralph Wilson, but the missed the window before the economy tanked to get a mega buck sponsor for the stadium’s naming rights.
9. Will the Bills stay in Buffalo?
This one is painful. I totally support the Bills playing a game in Toronto per season. Better to have one in Canada and seven in Buffalo than eight in Los Angeles. But what happens when Ralph Wilson no longer owns the team? Does his family want it? Will they sell? Will the buyer move the team? Roger Goodell hates the concept of relocation for good reason. But …