Before I start, I wanted to clear the negative energy with a couple of positives. Do we have a 1000 yd WR? Yes
Do we have a 1000 yd Rusher? Yes
Do we have a QB that has thrown over 25 TD's? Yes
Do we have a 10+ sack guy at OLB? Yes
Do we have a Top 50 NFL player? Yes
Do we have a Top 5 pick? Yes
If you were to look at the intangibles you would think this is an all right football team. The fact of the matter is this, some of us as Bills fans just don't seem to see it that way. TMQB had a pretty intersting read yesterday:
" Buffalo, 11 consecutive years out of the playoffs, just traded one of its few established performers, Lee Evans, to the Ravens for a middling draft pick. Unloading Evans and replacing him with a minimum-salary young player cuts the Bills' costs by about $3 million this season, which is more than profits would rise if every seat were sold. Trading Evans makes a winning season less likely, but the odds of a profitable season go up -- and a built-in excuse is created. How long until a Buffalo team official says, "We knew we'd have an off year when we lost Lee Evans," as if he had been swept from the practice field by helicopter-borne commandos, rather than deliberately traded away ".
The article goes on from this and you can read it in it's entirety, dnvrbillsfan posted a good FanShot on it yesterday. A pretty interesting way to look at The Bills and Bengals and the other perennial losers, but to me that seems like an uneducated guess as to why The Bills haven't been successful in the last 11 years. Some point to our roster lacking an elite QB, some see it as Ralph is to cheap to go out and grab elite players and some see it as we have drafted poorly.
Well I don't see it that way, I see a team that was so successful for so long that they were no longer able to grab elite players via the draft, signed players past their prime and never really recovered from constantly drafting beyond the 22nd pick in the draft. To put it bluntly, The Bills never blew it up properly!
We've talked about this before, but the Bills never gave up on a season in the late 90's early 2000's, Instead of living life the way we are now which is losing badly every year and collecting picks. We refused to just stand pat like Buddy is now, we refused to not sign aging FA's and we never let ourselves have top 10 picks for 5 years straight. This is the Bills punishment for toiling in mediocrity for 6-7 years. For every Peyton Manning there is at least 5 Ryan Leafs, for every Jake Long there is 5 Mike Williams.
My point is this, if you don't collect elite players via the draft it's real hard to collect elite players any other way and when you draft 11th, 9th, 14th, and 20th you allow that many teams in front of you to have a shot at the player you want. How many pro bowlers went before the Bills drafted Aaron Maybin? 2 Eugene Monroe and BJ Raji, how many of those player have a chance at a Pro Bowl? I would argue 3, Tyson Jackson, Matthew Stafford and as much as it pains me Mark Sanchez. Thats 5 players selected before the Bills picked Maybin that stand to be Pro Bowlers. Of those 5 players, would the Bills have benefited from having them on our roster, I'l let you answer that one.
Not only did we not blow it up properly, we spent big money (putting to bed that Ralph is cheap) on very very Marginal FA's. Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker, Chris Villareal and that list goes on and on. Did we bring in good FA acquisitions? oh yeah, from London Fletcher to Fred Jackson but that list is much shorter. When you try to fill holes via FA , it better be a position where you already have some talent at. So when the FA ages or doesn't pan out you can replace him with that talent. We yearn for that big FA signing, we as Fans love it and you can't deny that. You get a player and all you give up is money thats not yours and you feel your favorite team is that much better. Hey, I can attest to being frustrated this off season cause the Bills didn't grab some big FA's " Man, Buddy just sign someone substantial please" I probably said this 10 times this off season, but I have come around.
I have come around because of this:
How many people on this sight would be pissed if come 2012 the Bills have the Andrew Luck on their roster?
How many people would be pissed if the Bills used the remainder of thier draft picks after Luck to add OL and LB's?
My guess would be a very small % of you.
I am just as guilty as anyone on this site for questioning Buddy's moves or his LACK OF MOVES. Reality is this. Do we want to be a perennial playoff team for the next 15 years then go back to where we are, or do we want to be a perennial mediocre team that may make the playoffs 2 out of every 10 years? My guess would be the Perennial contender but thats just me.