I have talked about this before but one of my favorite shows is The Venture Bros. Fantastic show but in the end it is a show about failure. The Main character is Dr. Venture who is always living in his shadow of his dead father. His inventions are terrible, he struggles with everything. His opposite is his arch enemy who is The Monarch. He originally was a one feature character but as the show progressed we see a multi-dimensional. Failure again continues and he losses everything and fails. He lived in the shadow of other villains and has to learn and adapt to improve. These two and the ying and yang of everything. In the end the show was a satire/parody of Johnny Quest and Superheroes but it became a show of failure and resiliency.
What's even better and relatable is the greatness of the show is always in the shadow of Rick and Morty, Futurama, Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad etc. Bills and Western New York always happens to be in the shadow of New York City. Hell, tragically the only reason why Western New York was even mentioned in terms of a Governor Race is because of the terrible attack that took place in Perinton, NY on the Republican candidate. I'm not saying this to be political but lets be honest for the majority of the country New York is ONLY NYC.
So looking at the Bills it is a team that is forged in failure. Super Bowl failures, the drought, celebrating signing Terrell Owens because it made the area relevant for a sports news cycle. Josh Allen was teared apart in the draft process, Tre White by many was only viewed as a slot corner in the draft, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were allowed to walk which is what let the Bills to sign them. Diggs was a 5th round pick out of Maryland. Sean McDermott was fired in Philly. The team has failed against the Chiefs (Divisional Round Game is the best game of the last 5 years) and so now the Bills are for once being looked at as a team of winners but it was forged in the pressure of failure.
NFL Musings and Observations will break down catergories Front Office, Coaching, QB, Offensive Weapons, OL, Front Seven, Secondary and Special Teams and we will handle it in terms of tiers. There are three tiers which will be based upon adult cartoons.
Tier One: Simpsons Season 4: This is the pinnacle of not only Adult Cartoons but rather TV shows in general. This is where Homer was not a selfish moron who only cares about himself but a husband that was grasping with being a good Father, Husband and trying to support his family. He would make huge mistakes based upon lack of impulse control but in the end his motives were always genuine. Classic episodes such as Last Exit to Springfield which was in my mind the best Simpsons episode of all time.
Tier Two: The Venture Bros: Just amazing show but there are episodes which miss but not many. A multi-dimensional show which runs concurrently that is able to bring back jokes from past episodes and it also has Brock Sampson one of my favorite tough guys in animation.
Tier Three: Family Guy Season One: Great show but in hindsight it some of the jokes are bland and just shock value. Quagmire was kept in check and wasn't so over the top. He was a pig but he wasn't making rape jokes and just pure shock jokes. In the end Peter Griffin was still trying to be a good father but it wasn't so over the top to just get a shock laugh.
Front Office: The Simpsons: Brandon Beane is doing what the General Manager needs to do to place the Bills in a winning position. He has been on the front line of the league as it evovles. Remember when the Bills traded a 5th round pick and Buddy Nix said they were "Riverboat gamblers"? Well, the league is different and the Bills are moving to ensure they field a team which benefits from the rules. I'll put it this way, I could have two additional tiers which were tier 4 late season Simpsons which had Lisa Simpsons talking to Lady Gaga and made a joke about Homer not liking her Father who dislikes her music. This completely craps on the episode where he gives up Air Condition so he can buy Lisa a Saxophone. That moment was huge in terms of Homer growth and the Bills don't have that tier. The Front Office has allowed for every position group to at least be good.
Coaching: The Venture Bros: Sean McD and the coaching staff are great but they're not elite, not until they win a Superbowl. That's the line for coaching because in the end of the day it is their responsibility to be winning Superbowls. The biggest question is can they get over the hump? I believe Sean McD can overcome but they need to do it for them to be in the elite tier. How will Ken Dorsey do as a OC? I'm less concerned with playcalling as JA17 can be the facture to change things at the line but I am concerned with prep and install. He is in a great position to grow as an OC but we will see what happens when he has to go against Coach Belicheck.
QB: The Simpsons: JA17 is a top 3 QB in the league and that is off of every single matrix. Natural leader? Check. Huge Death Star powerful arm? Check. Accuracy? Check. But lets talk about something that is kind of an unspoken rule. His back takes every single knife as he takes ALL responsibility for any failures. It is difficult but we can see two different approaches with JA17 and Kyler Murray. JA17 in his contract negotiations was a true professional, Murray removed all social media of the Cardinals. That drives teams together knowing the leader has your back and is big enough to take attacks against them as an adult.
Offensive Weapons: The Simpsons: This was difficult because they have great weapons but the running backs are not great. What is the deciding factor will be how are the weapons used. If the Bills are just a little more consistent in the running game they have truly elite offensive weapons. How do they do this? To me it is start using more JA17 under center and doing stretch plays like Manning did in Indy for so many years. Make a defense make a decision which they want to defend with many people in the book and leave the speed on the outside one on one or leave a run fits be a little looser. Here's the question that I want to discuss. How many teams would Isaiash Hodgins start for? I have to believe he would see playing time for quite a few teams and he is on the roster bubble.
OL: Family Guy: This is the lowest ranked position group I have on the Bills. I'm not saying they're terrible but they're good. I would put them in the 14-18 overall OLs in the league. The one thing I always notice about a Sean McD line is they don't put up any late hits to JA17. They will be up in the grill of all defenders if they do what they perceive is anything extra. I am really curious about Spencer Brown who struggled with speed rushers and especially when the DL had multiple move set. He came from a mid-level college so the talent he went against wasn't the best. Another year of working on that technique and if his talent and technique meet look out.
Front Seven: Simpsons: The Bills did what I wanted them to do and they brought in some size. One of the issues was Star was done and the Bills didn't have the anchor that took up two OLs and freed up the LBs to run and allowed Ed Oliver to use his fast first step. Look at DaQuan Jones who is 6'4" and 320 yards and is a plugger of the gaps. Jordan Phillips who is 6'6" and 330 pounds and Tim Settle who is 6'3" and 313 pounds. If there was a big issue last year for the defense was the Bills struggling to maintain the point of attack. Lets continue with Shaq Lawson who is better at run defense compared to pass rushing but he ALWAYS in his game ability was able to stretch out plays and set the point of attack. Add in Groot who is going to be another year of learning after skipping his last college season due to Covid. Some guy named Von Miller who will retire as a top 5 DE of all time (LT, Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Deacon Jones and Von Miller). Now the whipping boy of Bills fans Tremaine Edmunds. If he is allowed to stay out of the junk because the DL can keep the guards from getting a clear show look out. The one thing that Edmunds does which is great is just his length to close passing lanes. Matt Milano instincts are fantastic.
Secondary: Venture Bros: I want to put them in the top tier but with Tre White coming off of injury and a rookie most likely starting opposite side you have to knock them down one tier. If everything works out well this is going to be a hell of a group. Here is something I like with a better pass rush which the Bills will have both White and Elam have are incredible change of direction. So they can be back pedaling and then break faster than most CBs. Why would this be so important in the AFC East? Mac Jones and Tua are specifically quick passers who want to force the ball out fast and let the playmakers make the plays. Well, neither of these QBs are going to be pulling a JA17, Mahomes, or Russell Wilson scramble so the ability to drive on the ball is critical. The safeties are just absurd in their ability and I won't beat a dead horse. Taron Johnson is a top 5 slot corner. He has developed into a full time player. Again, the only reason I don't have them in a top tier is because of one being a rookie and the other is injury.
Special Teams: Venture Bros: Not a lot to say here but the Bills value leg strength.
Random NFL Thoughts:
1.) Never ask a question if you don't want the answer. Raise your hand if you have said something wrong to your significant other? How about you get kind of annoyed and ask a question and BOOM you get an answer and it hurts. Lamar Jackson loves his mom and more power to him. But the Ravens will be fighting for what they want in negations and Lamar and his mother are going to get honest answers. Here's the thing, where do you rank Lamar? Here is who I know are better than Lamar and it isn't a debate. Allen, Mahomes, Rogers, Brady, Stafford, Burrow and Herbert. I can make an argument for Wilson and Watson being better than Jackson but I won't to give the benefit to LJ. That is seven QBs better than Jackson, so he won't get elite money.
2.) The Tale of Four QBs, the AFC East Story. Take Allen out of it because he has proven the ability to play both on script and off script. But the other three QBs have got to show they can do the other. Tua and Mac Jones are very good on script. Part of this is because of their time at Alabama where they had better talent around them for almost every game except for maybe one to two times a season. They can survive in the pocket and they never had to really worry of scramble drills etc. The issue is everyone is all conference in the league. Everyone is talented, all the coaches are very good. Can they function when the play breaks down? That is the key and the question. Zach Wilson is at his best when it turns into backyard football. That is great to have in the back of your pocket but it can't be your go to move. Wilson needs to be able to see the CB playing cover 3 and the comeback will be open, hit the back foot of his drop and let it rip. That is an example of the maturity of JA17 when John Brown was almost getting free yards because it is a staple of the Bills offense. Can't be a great QB if you can't be a mullet, business in the front but party in the back.
3.) The Lusitania was an ocean liner who was sunk during World War One by a German submarine. Well, it had explosives and I will always say the reason why it went down so fast was because the explosives went off so here's the question, which team is going to Lusitania this year? The Cowboys are my answer. Is Mike McCarthy a really good captain of the ship? I got to say I feel like if they go on a 3-4 game struggle, not even a 4 game losing streak but if the Cowboys stumble a little I can see that team explode. A few factors, Jerry Jones is getting up their in age and he isn't going to have a ton patience. Mike McCarthy reminds me of the guy in the bar who shouts at the TV "Catch the Ball" and acts like he just gave the best football advice of all time. Dak Prescott got a huge contract and is no longer the underdog. How about Zeke? Got paid and is down hill. How about the pass rush? Secondary? This will be fun to watch.
4.) Every team is going to have a slow spot in the season. This includes the Bills and Rams who I perceive are the best teams in the league. Why? The quality of coaching and players is growing. Players are going to mini-camps in Middle School and receiving quality coaching. Three sport high schoolers are becoming more rare. By the time a defensive back comes into the league and understand Cover Three Meg which is a stable of a Pete Carrol defense where it is Cover three but it means Means Man everywhere he goes. This is set up as a Cover three when there is an offense on a three by one set. Kind of complex but in High School they're running these schemes. So with this advance understanding at a younger age the player are better.
5.) Khalil Shakir and players like him are so valuable in todays NFL. He has a straight ability to play loose and has great hands. What I have noticed by reading a ton of scouting reports is that his wiggle and ability to be utilized in multiple fronts is giving play callers and of course diversity in play design to be creative. More teams are looking at playing with WRs who may not be a true X, Y or Z but can motion from one place to another.