About a three months ago MattRichWarren presented us with his Buffalo Bills 2000s All-Decade Team series. And for about a month we voted on a series of poles to determine who was worthy of being on that team. But more often than not we also ended up complaining over
the limited sometimes horrible talent that we had to pick from for any given position. So it was about at the TE position that I thought "hey why don't we also vote on the worst players that played for this team over the last decade?" And so here we are.
Now just like MattRichWarren's series I have a few criteria for players to be eligible for this team. They had to have played in at least a full season's worth of games in this decade to be eligible. Starting is not requirement, but you do have to have played significant amounts of snaps in those games. That means that, for example, the Bills 3rd receiver might make the list, but a 4th or 5th stringer wont be considered. That means that we wont end up voting for 7th rounders that ended up playing 2 snaps. These are going to be real players that played real roles on this team over the last ten years. And just because a player ended up on the All-Decade team does not mean that you can't also be on the worst-decade team.
Ok we've covered all the players, and the head coach, and before I got on to worst player and the conclusion of this series i thoufght that maybe we could have a little bit more fun with it and maybe even include you guys (the wonderfull readers and bloggers at the Rumblings) a chance to throw in your own imput. So before I wrap this up I'm going to include 5 extra articles: Worst Coaching Move, Worst Head Office Move, Worst Free Agent signing, Worst Draft Class and Worst Draft Pick. All of these will include my top 4 picks for each of them as well as the reader's option where you guys get to choose one if you don't like what I think.
So first up: Worst Coaching Move. This one will pertain to any move that can be squarely put on the shoulders of the team's head coach. So here we go...
Wade Phillips: Playing Rob Johnson more than Doug Flutie (2000)
In my honest opinion not playing Flutie against the Titans in 1999 was Wade biggest mistake of his head coaching career as the Bills Head Coach. Why is that relevant for this decade though? Because he continued the trend of "looking to the future" by playing Robo Sack way more than Flutie in 2000. In my honest opinion Flutie was by far the better quarter back of the two, made more plays and gave the team more opportunities to win than Johnson ever could. Yet Phillips persistently kept putting Johnson in as the starter until it was clear that the team would not make the playoffs. Flutie (a Pro-Bowler in 1998) only started 5 games in 2000, and played in 11 total games, releaving an incredibly ineffective Johnson. By choosing to go with Johnson over Flutie, Phillips gets the first spot on this list.
Gregg Williams: Moving the team from the 3-4 to the 4-3
The NFL is a copycat league, but teams only seem to copycat champions, and in turn never become champions themselves. I am of the strong belief that it is only teams the develop and persue strongly their own systems that become champions in this league. The Bills had been a 3-4 team for 22 seasons, having helped pioneer the system in the NFL and sticking with it even though it was unpopular. The Bills had a system that worked in their 3-4. Yet one of the first moves that Williams did when taking over the team in 2001 was to follow the treandy thing and switch to the 4-3. Champions don't follow. Period.
Dick Jauron: Moving from a strong 4-3 to the Cover 2 system
Now even though I was not a fan of switching to the 4-3, I have to admit that the Bills orginisation did a good job of developing a good, powerfull and even scary 4-3 system. We had big lineman, we had big, but fast linebakers, and a hard hitting secondary. So what does Jauron do when he's hired? Switches from a very effective 4-3 that had ranked in the top 5 in 2 of the 3 previous years, to a 4-3 Cover 2 system that puts emphasis on speedy, small players that try to get to the ball as fast as possible and try to disrupt the pass by getting to the QB before he could make a proper read. The problem? The Bills didn't have any players that fit that scheme. It forced the team to get rid of some very talented DT's and LB's to try to get where Jauron wanted in a Cover 2 system. We never got there because in the 4 years of Jauron being HC, we never truly got the players necessary to do it.
Dick Jauron: Bringing back the No Huddle Offense
Offense struggling? QB's nerves are shot? Just signed a temperamental Wide Receiver? Have an incredibly young and inexperienced Offensive line? What do you do? You bring in the No Huddle of course! But not only that, you bring it in while firing your offensive coordinator 1 week before the regular season and dull down the offensive playbook to a simplistic Pop Warner offense that a typical high school team would run. Brilliant!
Well there you have it, what I think are the 4 biggest bone head moves that the Bills' Head Coaches have done in this past decade. But please, don't feel restricted to voting for what I think, if you have a different opinion, voice it! I'd love to hear from you guys in this one!