FanPost

AN OPEN LETTER TO CHARLES NIX


Dear Charles "Buddy" Nix,

I'm a longtime Buffalo Bills fan taking this opportunity to write down the ways I feel about you and your tenure as Bills GM.

INITIALLY, I SUPPORTED YOU

When the Bills hired you first as Chief National Scout in January '09, then as GM that December, I was both as excited and as supportive of you as I was of Tom Donahoe's hiring as President/GM in 2001.

Because, I was as impressed with your body of work as I was with Donahoe's: Just as Donahoe's moves got the Steelers to the Super Bowl in just his fifth season with the team, as Chargers Dir. of Pro Player Personnel/Asst GM, you drafted a total of 28 players between '04-'07 who went to the Pro Bowl, and San Diego won four out of the last five AFC West titles during your tenure.

BOTH OF YOU MADE "BOLD MOVES"

Perhaps Donahoe's "crowning achievement" during his five years in Buffalo was his trade with the Pats for Drew Bledsoe: the Bills were starving for leadership since Jim Kelly's retirement, and it was thought the still-capable Bledsoe was preferable to Alex Van Pelt for making the team competitive. Plus, Donahoe obtained his services at the {relatively low} cost of one first round draft pick, which he shrewdly reacquired with the tag and trade of Peerless Price.

Similarly, your bold move was breaking the bank to get Mario Williams to sign with Buffalo. On the surface -- and in hindsight -- it may not seem that way; after all, how much skill does it take to simply hand over a pile of money? But, for a team that hasn't made the playoffs this century, the signing at the time told the fans, and the world, the Bills were serious.

BUT SINCE EACH "BOLD MOVE", IT WAS ALL DOWNHILL

Even as others began trashing the both of you, I continued to defend you both -- I'd say, "they got it done in Pittsburgh/San Diego, they'll get it done here! Give them time!"

But, eventually, the both of you eventually wore out your welcomes and lost my support.

For Donahoe, his arrogance towards the Bills fan base -- he smirkingly told fans to "save the postage" when they started a letter-writing campaign to remove Gregg Williams as head coach -- was annoying enough, but it was the trade back into the first round to acquire a previously unknown QB from a mid-major school (JP Losman) and anoint him the "franchise savior" that made things begin to slide . . . but perhaps the height -- or depth -- of his arrogance was his selection of a midget WR/KR (Roscoe Parrish) in a year when the Bills had no first round pick; using your top selection on someone like that is a move made by an already stacked, contending team, not one still searching for its first playoff berth in six years (Ralph Wilson himself was said to be upset with that pick, and that it was the last straw that led to Donahoe's firing after the 2005 season.)

Similarly, Buddy, while you may have won the "off-season championship" in 2012 with the Wiliams acquisition, the moves you've made in Bills free agency, up to the present time, have been a series of head-scratchers:

- there was signing Vince Young to provide competition/backup to Fitz, cutting him when he underperformed in preseason . . . then trading away a fourth round pick to acquire another backup QB (Tarvaris Jackson) who never saw playing time

- there was the release of WR's Donald Jones and David Nelson, both of whom had size and were productive, though with their share of injuries -- and this after your stated desire for receivers who were "open even when they weren't open"

- there was not even BOTHERING to make an offer to a versatile OL who's made every start since day one (Andy Levitre), purportedly because $8 million/year was going to be "too much" . . . how much is too much for a guard that can play multiple positions AND has durability? And next year, will $8 million be too much for the oft-injured center that played next to him -- or too little?

- but it was the circumstances surrounding the release of Ryan Fitzpatrick that may be the height -- or depth -- of the circus that has been the Buffalo Bills Front Office in 2013: after months of going this way, then going that way, on whether or not you wanted Fitz back, it took a prank phone call to another NFL GM for you to reveal what you really felt.

And that last item is particularly distressing, because it had three direct consequences:

1. When your veteran QB has to find out from a prank how his GM feels about him, it leads other veteran FA's on the team to wonder how the GM really feels about them . . . which may have partly motivated the Bills other free agents to go elsewhere, like Kyle Moore and the "anybody" who was supposed to "easily replace" Levitre (Chad Rinehart.)

2. It makes it difficult to attract any quality FA's from other teams: the Bills couldn't land Redskins TE Fred Davis, whom they coveted -- they also hosted Jets DE Mike DeVito; now, how screwed up is it when DeVito passes up an opportunity to be reunited with his DC (Pettine) to go to the Chiefs, the one team that's perhaps more dysfunctional than the Bills??

3. The pressure increases on the front office, from both the fan base and the media, to 1) sign ANYONE to at least give the appearance of being "active", and 2) make a "name" signing . . . which explains why the signings of a practice-squad LB (Marcus Dowtin), rotational DT (Alan Branch), and a LB whose own team made no effort to resign despite his supposed versatility (Manny Lawson) were spun as "fantastic" -- and why the signing of an oft-injured QB who flamed out on two teams (Kevin Kolb) was hailed.

BUT THERE'S GOOD NEWS, BUDDY

I don't expect you to be around after this season; Doug Whaley has been given more responsibility in preparation for your expected retirement -- but, there is a simple way for you to salvage what remains of your reputation, and allow you to go out on a high note.

In just a few hours from now, when you (or the Bills celebrity stand-in) steps to the podium at Radio City, all you/they have to do is simply repeat the following (in all caps and boldface for easy reading:

WITH THE EIGHTH SELECTION IN THE 2013 NFL DRAFT, THE BUFFALO BILLS SELECT RYAN NASSIB, QUARTERBACK, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY.

That's it. No need to trade down, trade up, say anyone else's name, whatever -- just repeat the above phrase. Hell, AFAIC, you can retire right then and let Whaley handle the rest of the draft.

It is quite simply the ONLY thing that makes sense.

Why do you think Doug Marrone has been so hesitant to say publicly what type of offense he wants to run? There's no need for him to do so until he gets his QB -- and he can have him TODAY.

Why do you think Nassib himself has said he thinks of Marrone and Hackett as "family"? He's spent the last four years with them -- why would you want to break up a "family?

The Bills are already going to have rough sailing this season with a new HC, new OC, and a new QB -- why not make the transition easier for the coach AND the QB?

I can think of only one other time a college QB and his HC were reunited in the pros: coach Hank Stram and QB Len Dawson -- and a full decade passed between Stram's recruitment of Dawson to Purdue, and their time on the AFL Dallas Texans . . . but at least that "college reunion" was productive: the Texans won the AFL title in '63, and after becoming the KC Chiefs, went to two Super Bowls.

Surely Marrone/Hackett/Nassib "graduating" from SU to Buffalo together, the very next year, has to yield positive results.

Buddy, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain a franchise QB whose learning curve will be short -- don't blow it by using the top pick on a midget WR like Austin, or ANY WR, FTM: to do so with the uncertainty at QB, would not only display Donahoe-like arrogance, but near moron-level stupidity.

Also, as much as I've preached the importance of defense, this is not the time to show off your "draft prowess" by taking an injury-reclamation project such as Jones or Jordan, then trying to trade back hoping to get the QB later in the first or the second . . .

Finally, Buddy, I urge you again to at least think of your legacy; you have the opportunity to be like Jim Finks.

Finks was the GM who built the Bears into a champion, piece by piece: he started by convincing George Halas to take a chance on an undersized RB from a Black College (Walter Payton), then brought in OL (Keith Van Horne, Jay Hilgenburg, Jimbo Covert), defense (Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Otis Wilson, Dave Duerson, Gary Fencik, Fridge Perry, et. al.), and finally, a QB (Jim McMahon.)

But as the Bears celebrated after demolishing NE in New Orleans, one person was conspicuous by his absence: Finks, whose tenure with the Bears ended abruptly in '82, when Halas didn't consult him before hiring Mike Ditka. Nonetheless, it was widely acknowledged that Finks had been instrumental to the building of the team, and he himself stated how proud he was at having a hand in building them.

You can do the same, Buddy. In a few years from now, when the Buffalo Bills have won multiple Super Bowls, or have become a perennial playoff contender . . . or at least stopped being an NFL doormat . . . you can look back on this one simple act you performed just before leaving, and know you at least had a hand in beginning the turnaround.

So do the right thing . . . do the simple thing.

Just take Nassib at #8. Thank you.

A Bills Fan

.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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