Nix: Bills troubles can’t be fixed ‘overnight’

Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix all but called this

season a rebuilding project on Thursday, suggesting it was too much

to expect the team’s inherent problems to be fixed overnight.

In speaking to reporters for the first time since August, Nix

expressed his frustrations over the team’s 0-4 start, and indicated

this is not where he envisioned the Bills to be when he was hired

in December.

Referring to it as a ”painful” process, Nix stressed that fans

will require patience as he intends to sticks to his plan to retool

the Bills through the draft.

”I’ll tell you we didn’t get into this situation overnight, and

we’re not going to get out overnight. We knew it wouldn’t be

easy,” Nix said. ”We’re going to stay the course and do it the

way we planned because we know it works.”

He plans to spend the rest of the season continuing to evaluate

players to determine who will be part of the team’s future. And Nix

didn’t rule out more changes to come after the team released former

starting quarterback Trent Edwards and traded former first-round

pick, running back Marshawn Lynch, to Seattle over the past two

weeks.

”You don’t like to use the word rebuild, but you’ve also got to

evaluate everyday and try to do things to improve your team,” Nix

said. ”We’re putting seven days a week into trying to get it

turned around. It’ll be fun when it happens, and trust me, it’ll

happen.”

Nix is the team’s fourth general manager since John Butler was

fired during the 2000 season. The Bills are also on their fifth

coach in 10 years after Nix hired Chan Gailey to take over in

January.

The Bills, who play host to Jacksonville (2-2) this weekend, are

among the NFL’s four winless teams. They are already in jeopardy of

missing the playoffs for an 11th straight season.

The offense is sputtering, having failed to produce 230 yards in

three of four games. And the defense has allowed 34 or more points

in the past three games, and a combined 473 yards rushing in the

past two.

Part of the evaluation process has already began following the

team’s recent moves.

Nix defended the decision to trade Lynch this week, as opposed

to before the draft when the 2007 first-round draft pick had

initially requested to be dealt.

Nix noted how Lynch provided the Bills depth with a three-back

rotation, especially after Buffalo lost both Lynch and Fred Jackson

to injuries in their preseason opener. Making the trade now made

sense because it freed up space in a crowded backfield that’s

rounded out by rookie first-round pick C.J. Spiller.

The decision to keep and then eventually release Edwards two

weeks ago drew criticism because there were questions of whether

the quarterback deserved to return as starter after losing the job

midway through last season.

Nix said he and Gailey wanted to see whether the fourth-year

player could prove himself in a new system. Nix said Edwards showed

promise throughout the offseason and preseason, before he began to

show familiar signs of struggling in losing his first two starts of

the regular season.

”Buffalo has got people all over the league that have been here

that are playing good for other people,” Nix said. ”I didn’t want

to come in here and cut guys that could help us win. So when we got

into the regular season and it didn’t work out … we decided that

wasn’t the answer for us or for him. So we made the change.”

Edwards has since signed with the Jaguars and will serve as the

team’s backup this weekend.

Nix also defended the team’s decision to sign veteran linebacker

Chris Kelsay to a four-year contract extension potentially worth

$24 million. The move was criticized as being overpriced, because

Kelsay – though a seven-year starter – hasn’t made a significant

impact on defense since being selected by Buffalo in the second

round of the 2003 draft.

Nix said the deal was struck in part because Kelsay was

identified as a core leader.

”We decided that we’ve got four, five, six guys like that,

maybe not great players, but good players, who set the tone,” Nix

said. ”Chris Kelsay is a good player. He exemplifies what we want

players to do and how we want them to be.”