I won’t write something like this after every home game, but it feels necessary after the Bills wild, entertaining debacle last night.
When the game was put out of reach late in the fourth, I tweeted that, in Western New York, there’d be clamoring for Rex Ryan to be fired immediately. And I’d venture a guess that just about every Bills fan knows at least one person who has uttered, texted, tweeted, emailed or facebooked the idea over the last 12 hours.
#BillsMafia’s frustration is palpable and undoubtedly justified.
To lose at home, on national television — and Twitter -- to a division rival in a game that saw the offense sputter for all but a handful of splash plays and the defense get torched by, of all people, Ryan Fitzpatrick — with considerable help from his wide receivers — should drive Bills fans certifiably insane.
However, would firing Rex really do anything at this point? No. If the team starts 0-4 —and their staring that record right in the face — then I think discussions will ensue among upper management about possibly showing him the door. In a vacuum, firing your head coach after fewer than two seasons is organizationally irresponsible, but its an entirely different animal with the Bills.
Bills fans want results much faster than every other fan base in the NFL due to the embarrassingly, almost unfathomably long playoff drought. And I can’t blame them.
That though, in a way, is unfair to the Pegulas because they bought the franchise as it was steamrolling into its 14th-straight year without a postseason appearance. Then again, it’s not as if they were completely unaware of Bills’ fans anxiety that was rightfully pushing them closer to their collective wit’s end.
Unfortunately for Rex, barring a quasi-miracle turnaround, it seems as though the entire NFL is inching toward reaching its collective wit’s end with him as a head coach.
But as usual, I’m not placing 100% of the blame on anyone who stands on the sideline for the duration of a football game even if he or she had plenty to do with the planning of said game.
The Bills defense misses Marcell Dareus. And Shaq Lawson. And Reggie Ragland. And possibly a player who could have been drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft had Doug Whaley not traded up for Sammy Watkins the year before. The receiving corp desperately needs size. If Whaley wasn’t aware of that before his team’s Week 2 affair against the Jets, he saw first hand what having two (three?) power forwards at wide receivers can do against the springiest, quick-twitch, stay-in-the-hip-pocket corners and even the perfect coverage call.
Quickly on Greg Roman — with play-calling, for as much as I want to and try to understand it and intricately analyze it, I’ve realized, for the most part, it’s a futile endeavor. To me, play-calling quality is almost directly tied to results / hindsight, although in this specific case, I agree with anyone who believes Watkins should be a much larger part in the game plan.
Somewhat similar to how I feel about Rex’s job prospects, I think it’s too early to give a final verdict on Tyrod Taylor. He’s now played 16 games as an NFL starter and has completed 275 of 432 attempts (63.6%) for 3,443 yards (7.96 YPA, 215.1 yards per game) with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
In terms of volume and relative to today’s heightened standards, those figures are pedestrian. However, they don’t suggest he’s been bad by any means.
I’m just starting to doubt more and more that Taylor can be a franchise-changing, team-flaw-masking, lead-a-comeback-win-if-need-be signal-caller. And those types don’t grow on trees. He has incredible downfield touch, is truly a special athlete and creator but can he consistently produce from the pocket, the most time-tested indicator of quarterbacking quality?
With last season’s NFC runner up Cardinals coming to town then a trip to dreaded Foxborough to begin October, a variety of key Bills figures are extremely up against it now, and how they plan for and perform in those two outings will likely have significant bearing on their futures in Buffalo. And based on what we’ve seen over the past five days, changes, at some point, look bound to be on the horizon.