Everyone expects the 2020 season to be an important one for the Buffalo Bills. Firmly out of the “re-build” mode, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are about to be graded against a rubric unlike any they have endured to this point in their regime. To this point, the McBeane Bills have overachieved in all three seasons they have led the team. Even the six-win 2018 squad was forecast by many to easily be the worst team in the league and be in possession of the number-one overall draft pick.
Now things are different. Now, it’s time for the next step. And that step cannot happen without Josh Allen.
But what happens if Josh Allen fails? What happens to all the progress the franchise has made since the drought ended? What would Josh Allen not being the quarterback of the future mean for Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane if they’ve gotten the most important position on the field wrong?
There are three distinct possibilities:
Both Beane and McDermott are fired
Sometimes the phrase “fireable offense” can be thrown around by journalists, bloggers, and pundits. As much as it may be hyperbole when used, failing to get the QB position correct is often the crux of a decision to move on from a GM and/or coach.
While some may suggest Allen was Beane’s choice and not McDermott’s, its not uncommon for all parties involved, regardless how minor, to be shown the door when a regime change is coming in the front office.
Only Beane is fired
Sean McDermott is an exemplary coach. Some may dispute this because of his conservative nature or game-day decisions. Those concerns being acknowledged, taking a team to the playoffs twice in three seasons following 17 years of futility is exemplary. Period.
Many consider Beane and McDermott a single commodity; they are a package deal. In this hypothetical, the choosing of Josh Allen would be laid squarely at the feet of Brandon Beane by ownership. McDermott would be spared and offered the opportunity to be paired with a new GM to continue some of the success the team has found under his tenure. Whether or not McDermott would find that agreeable and choose to remain with the team is another debate for a different article.
Neither Beane nor McDermott are fired
McDermott and, more surprisingly, Beane are both given the chance to take another swing at the QB position in this hypothetical. Although unusual, it is easy to imagine a decision like this coming from the Pegulas. Considering the rehabilitation the Buffalo Bills’ image has gone through since 2016 and the polar opposite experience of ownership with the Buffalo Sabres, Kim and Terry being motivated to maintain the current level of competency is not hard to imagine.
That being said, some decision makers in professional football seem to make the same mistake over and over again (*cough*Doug Whaley*cough*). This instance keeps the core of what has helped the Buffalo Bills find success intact, but there is no guarantee that they will make the right decision next time.
Perhaps the most dangerous potential in this reality would be timing. It is possible that the Bills move on from Josh Allen and Beane is charged by ownership with finding his next “the guy” ASAP. That could be difficult if the QBs available via the draft are of similar quality to the draft that yielded EJ Manuel or Geno Smith.
You can follow me on Twitter @NickBat and look for episodes of “The Nick & Nolan Show” podcast on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network.