THE 2010 BUFFALO BILLS…or…FINDING A WARM SPOT IN ANOTHER LONG WINTER
The best part about hitting rock bottom is that the only place you have to go is up. I’m not sure that we’re at rock bottom, but we’re close to it. Buffalo Rumblings picking their all decade team is sadly hilarious. Looking at our best players at positions over the past 10 years is embarrassing. Our all-decade offensive trilogy? Drew Bledsoe, Travis Henry, Eric Moulds. UGH. Our coaches have become consistently worse, and it turn the front office has shrunk every single year. "Let’s fire someone else to save money" has become the Ralph Wilson mantra. We are lucky enough that he had the balls to fire Jauron after granting him an extension in the prior season after WEEK SEVEN as if some other team would snatch him up and make him the highest paid coach in the league.
Well, Ralph now realizes with one foot in the grave that he needs to do something to go out in a good way. If he died today we would say, "Great man, did a lot for Buffalo, lost his fire for football the last 15 years". I think he wants to set us up to at least succeed a couple years down the road.
So what does he do? He hands the keys to another old man, Buddy Nix. A laughable hire when the news first broke, Nix seemed like another Marv Levy hire, set to join Ralph in line for his social security check.
BUT WAIT. Then he got down to business and with his interactions with the media and outline to rebuild the team showed that he has a high football intelligence and a no nonsense attitude. His now famous sound byte of "Don’t tell me about the labor pains, just show me the baby" has become a battle cry for the rebuild of this organization.
BUT WAIT. Just when it seemed like we had a smart guy on top, it was time to hire a new coach. Would it be Bill Cowher? Mike Shanahan? Wait…..what? Who the &*%@ is Chan Gailey??? The collective hearts of Bills fans everywhere sunk to the ground. This guy was fired in the PRESEASON last year as offensive coordinator of the CHIEFS! Is Turk Schonert up for any head coaching jobs?
BUT WAIT. Time passed, and people started to warm up to the guy. Hmmm – he has a great mind for the offensive side of the ball? Hmmm – he’s bringing in a new defensive coordinator that is switching to the 3-4 and revamping a marginally successful defense? Hmmm – We didn’t get "The Chin" but we got "The Chan"? Nice. The guy started to turn some heads to say the least. ESPN and other media outlets bashed the hire, but slowly, great football minds from around the NFL started to praise the pick. Plus, he would SURELY have the opportunity to work with a new QB. Maybe the Bills would take Jimmy Clausen at #9, and even if they missed out on him they could take Tim Tebow at #41.
BUT WAIT. Crappppp!!! Another running back? Pass on Clausen for some Nose Tackle that I never even heard of and isn’t named Mount Cody? And we didn’t get the next Jim Kelly, Tim Tebow??? NOOOOOOOO. *bash head against wall and drink heavily* Mel Kiper is laughing at us? Marshall Faulk thinks we had the worst draft in the league? (wait, Marshall Faulk is a respected NFL analyst?) Fans were in an uproar. The team needed an offensive lineman and didn’t take one until Round 7. On the forums at TwoBillsDrive, people were turning in their fan cards left and right.
BUT WAIT! Cooler heads began to prevail as people started to break down the draft piece by piece. Gee – you mean C.J. Spiller could be the next Chris Johnson, and is actually a high character guy? (ahem Marshawn ahem) Troup and Carrington have the potential to develop into staples on the defensive line for years to come? This Levi Brown character actually has some upside? Hmmm – the draft might not have been that bad after all! SUPER BOWL!!!
Okay, so no one predicted Super Bowl (except Jeff Day), but we all came back down to Earth. If the above proves anything, it’s that the fans (including all of us) have been very quick to judge the moves the Bills have made this offseason. Maybe the collective age of our GM and coach is an advantage. These guys have seen it all. They have a plan in place, they know who they need to fill these positions, and the craziest part? They don’t give a DAMN what you or any of the fans think!
This rebuild shouldn’t be as painful to watch as most expect though. Yes, we’re on like for a 3-6 win season probably, but we need to accept that we have a front office that isn’t going to go for the quick fix. These guys are in this with the goal of building a Super Bowl caliber team over the next few years.
So to end this incredibly long rant, I will extend it by giving you things to look forward to this season as we are about THREE MONTHS away from training camp:
1. News came out today that the Bills are in the running for Jared Gaither. It might not happen, but when stories like this come out you need to realize something – this isn’t necessarily the team we’re going into camp with…
2. Your #1 question going into the season should be, "Should my C.J. Spiller jersey be home blue, away white, retro blue, or retro white?" If this season turns out to be a failure, at least we’ll get to watch this kid play. He looks legit and should provide an immediate spark to the offense.
3. Don’t give up on Trent just yet. Yes, we saw the bad, but we also saw the good. Gailey will not ask Trent to play out of his comfort zone. And if we stick with a backfield going into the season of Jackson, Spiller, and Lynch (see what I did there with the depth chart?), Captain Checkdown will have plenty of weapons out of the backfield. Oh, and I’m putting money on it – barring another QB coming in, Trent Edwards will be the starting QB of the 2010 Buffalo Bills.
4. The battle at receiver is intriguing. Sure, we have Mr. I-have-too-much-talent-for-this-team-but-I-signed-a-long-term-deal-so-I’m-stuck-in-this-crappy-snowy-city Lee Evans…but who is going to step up for the #2 spot? Is James Hardy a bust? Can Steve Johnson or Marcus Easley make an impact? Can Roscoe Parrish swallow his ego and go back to being a legit threat in the slot position?
5. Our secondary is GANGSTA. Terrence McGee/Drayton Florence/Leodis McKelvin/Jairus Byrd/George Wilson. Love these guys. Yes Donte Whitner, you can come to the party too, but you can be that guy while they’re all at the club chillin that makes sure the fat girls don’t get too close. You know – like a short, bald bodyguard. I expect this group to make plays all year and they might even steal us a game or two.
6. Our offensive line shows promise. Eric Wood, Andy Levitre, and Karl Malone’s son all have great upside. Even if we are a crappy team, the more time these guys get playing together, the better we’re looking for the future.
7. Last year Thurman Thomas received a goat as a gift from Darryl Talley, and actually kept it. What former Super Bowl era player will Darryl Talley choose to give a wild farm animal to this year? My vote goes for Cornelius Bennett.
8. We get to live through another season of speculation about the team leaving Buffalo. What billionaire has Jim Kelly been building an "investment group" with this year? Will the Bills end up in Los Angeles….or Toronto? Here’s a news flash – I don’t think they’re going anywhere. Ever. Yeah, I said it.
9. Will this be the year we finally beat the Patriots? I don’t care if we finish 1-15 as long as this is the one win. LET’S DO THIS!
10. Our savior awaits. Lots of amazing QBs coming in the draft next year. Let’s build these guys up to something respectable this year, and we can add the franchise piece in the draft next year.
11. Because it’s the Bills. Be honest – no matter how miserable it is to be a Bills fan you can’t wait to get out to that first game at The Ralph and tailgate with all of those other crazy fans. I look forward to seeing you there…