When Nix and Gailey came aboard, it was easy to get behind them simply because they weren't the dreadful Dick Jauron and the hapless Circle of Friends front office. Nix was an actual buck-stops-here GM. The lack of a true GM for four seasons could be described as nothing less than absurd. It was the symbol of Buffalo's dysfunction. Gailey came in talking about results and wins which was refreshing after four years of Jauron's rhetoric where actual wins were chalked up to happenstance and luck. It was easy to get behind this new leaf.
The first red flag was a huge one. Nix indicated that the Trent Edwards Experience was a much better option than the fan base, in their supposed lay ignorance, could ever know. He believed Edwards (Trent Edwards!) could be "coached" into being a success. Bills' fans had seen plenty of Edwards and knew he was not talented enough to play regularly in the NFL and in fact, many believed he'd be out of the league in short order (like he was in 2011). It was an absurd decision to delay searching for a QB at the moment the new regime took over. A franchise QB was the first order of business and OBD simply passed on making the difficult call of hitching their wagon to a potential QB fix.
The Trent Edwards Experience lasted a whole two games. Journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick's being able to make the offense look serviceable juxtaposed against the two games Edwards piloted was a hilarious look into just how inept Edwards was as an NFL player; a man who better fit working next to you in a cubicle than trying to match talent with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Nix's claims were proven to be absurd with no room for debate.
Ryan Fitzpatrick played better than could have been expected in 2010. In fact, he looked like a fringe starter rather than a journeyman backup. He made plenty of mistakes as advertised and witnessed in his 2009 cameo, but the team generally moved the ball at a pro level under his leadership which was light years ahead of the Trent Edwards Experience. The pleasant surprise was that Fitzpatrick looked like the perfect bridge QB to lead the team while a draftee frantically was groomed to save this putrid franchise. Rather than cash in on this positive development, Chix chose to stretch it into something it wasn't and again, passed on adding a franchise QB in the draft, expressing confidence in Fitzpatrick long term (despite the imporessive 2011 draft class). We all know what followed: hot start, extension, QB play that resembled the worst of Edwards.
So here we are two losing, last place, 2-10 in the AFC East seasons into this rebuild. Chix anointed Edwards legitimate. Fail. Chix expressed confidence in Fitzpatrick as a long term starter and ultimately paid him like one. Fail?? That hasn't been determined yet. I'm doubtful, most fans are doubtful, but that's where they're at. Barkley and Jones are headed back to college. Luck and RG3 will be gone by the time the third pick is announced (I'd bet the house that somebody trades up to 2 for RG3). You know what? Chix had their chance to get this rebuild going. I say they've made enough decisions on the Bills QB situation. To me, 2012 is doe-or-die for Gailey (and maybe Nix). No head coach since free agency began 20 years ago has ever started their tenure with their team with 3 losing seasons and came back for a fourth and succeeded. Not one. If Fitzpatrick busts like he did down the stretch in 2011, Buffalo will need a new regime. I'd prefer this new regime handpick their QB to build around rather than the awkward prospect of being saddled with somebody else's gamble (think Losman under Jauron). Chix was on the pot for two drafts and they did a lot of reading, but nothing significant happened until they locked up Fitzpatrick long term. That's the baby. He's born and ready for visits. It's time to judge him in 2012. Build around Fitzpatrick for 2012 and if it fails, let somebody else get this thing done. Chix had their chance to find a QB and now it's time to see how they did.