For the first time in his career as an NFL head coach, Sean McDermott is below .500 in his regular season record (11-12) after the Buffalo Bills’ most recent embarrassing loss. It’s not the fact that this team, which was clearly rebuilding over the last 20 months, isn’t winning games. Buffalo is being demolished. If you weren’t already, it’s time to question “The Process”.
When they hired McDermott in 2017, they handed him the entire keys to the organization. He was put in charge of roster moves and the NFL Draft when he had no experience in roster management. Sure, the neutered Doug Whaley was the de facto general manager, but he didn’t speak to reporters during the 2017 draft and was fired the day after the annual selection meeting ended.
During his tenure with the Bills, McDermott and his hand-picked Whaley replacement, Brandon Beane, have told fans and the media that it was going to be a long build. That the team wasn’t ready. They had too many salary cap problems and talent problems. Even when they made the playoffs in 2017, that much was evident. But in Year 2 of the McDermott regime, the team has looked over and over again like a listless ship ready to capsize.
The offense stinks, plain and simple. And it’s stunk for a year and a half now. Well, it’s stunk for longer than that but you can’t lay that at the feet of McDermott. Sunday was the fifth time in 23 games the Bills have been held to single digits or worse and the third time in seven games this season. If you include the 3-point effort in the playoffs, it’s the sixth time in 24 games. IN A QUARTER OF THE GAMES UNDER MCDERMOTT, BUFFALO HASN’T SCORED TEN OR MORE POINTS.
Sure, you can blame Rick Dennison and Brian Daboll. You can blame Tyrod Taylor or Josh Allen or Nathan Peterman or Derek Anderson or even AJ McCarron. You can blame the receiving corps or the offensive line. You can blame Charles Clay and the tight end group. You can even lay some blame at the feet of the running backs, I guess. But that’s missing the point. While McDermott has been building his defense and trading up for Allen, he tried to plug holes on the offense and failed.
All this isn’t to say that it can’t be fixed, but we have seen absolutely nothing from McDermott or Beane to suggest they can identify and hire, sign, or draft actual NFL talent on the offensive side of the ball or put coaches in place to develop it.
McDermott’s forte is defense. They’ve dumped massive draft and financial capital into the defense, to bolster the offense while they get their feet under them, right? In theory.
In six games over the last two seasons (23 games), Buffalo has allowed 34 or more points. They’ve lost by 20 points eight times. IN A THIRD OF SEAN MCDERMOTT’S GAMES, BUFFALO HAS LOST BY THREE TOUCHDOWNS OR MORE. That includes four times in seven shots this season with the Tom Brady Patriots heading to Buffalo for a national telecast.
So your team is built on great defense while you’re bringing along a young offense? Nope.
Your young offense is showing signs of “getting it” or moving on? Nope.
You have a young roster taking their lumps? Not really, outside of a couple key players.
So an aging, crappy team is going to have a ton of cap space in 2019 and they are going to have to convince free agents to come to Buffalo and play for a team that’s consistently getting blown out? Hopefully.
It doesn’t look better for Buffalo anytime soon. Buffalo fielded the 5th-oldest roster in the NFL on opening week. They’ll probably need to replace Kyle Williams, LeSean McCoy, and Lorenzo Alexander this offseason. They need to find upgrades on the offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, and backup quarterback at minimum, as well as get younger at defensive end. And that’s if Allen can develop into “the guy”.
Without the ghost of the playoff drought hanging over the team, Bills fans may want to give a pass to McDermott for now. I’m not one of them. This team has been mediocre on the whole and I’ve seen nothing to make me believe in the process, at least on the offensive side of the ball. With the amount of earth they will need to move this offseason, I don’t think next year will be all that much better.