What went wrong for the Bills?
November 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Instead of giving thoughts on this week’s latest Bills debacle against the Dolphins I figured that we might just tackle the question of what happened to the Bills altogether in the last three weeks. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Injuries and lack of depth – I hate the injury excuse so I will get it out of the way early. Clearly Kyle Williams and now Eric Wood have been crushing losses for the Bills. The Bills, however, haven’t been able to overcome their losses like other teams can. Marcell Dareus is getting double and triple teamed every snap and no one else on the line can make a play. Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay know how to put pressure on the Quarterback but when they went out there was no one on the bench to match their production. Same thing at wide receiver and the offensive line. Depth is the problem on this football team and you can give Nix and Gailey at least some slack here, being in only their second season at the helm, but you have to wonder about the lack of production that comes from last years’s draft picks. C.J. Spiller and Torell Troup had to have stepped up earlier in the year and so far they haven’t.
2. Lack of a defensive identity – What is the Bills defense? I know that it’s a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense but what is it’s specialty? What is it’s calling card? They can’t rush the passer. They can’t cover particularly well. They go through stints when they can’t stop the run. They have decent players scattered through the defense but they simply have no defensive identity. Chan Gailey doesn’t give much thought to coaching the defensive side of the ball and that is fine as long as he is willing to go out and get himself a defensive coordinator who will give this defense an identity. I’m not talking about Dave Wannstedt either, I’m thinking more along the lines of a guy who has coached with Pittsburgh or New England.
3. Fix the offense – I’m not sure what has happened to the Bills offense but it’s on Chan Gailey to fix it, both this year and beyond. For this year it’s simple – utilize Fred Jackson as much as you can. Jackson is the best player on the offense and excels at all phases of the game. Let him put the offense on his back and loosen things up for Fitzpatrick and company. Long term they need a wide receiver with speed and they need to continue drafting and developing offensive linemen to create depth.
4. Change the culture – Just when you think that they are no longer your father’s Bills they become your father’s Bills. Just when you thought they’ve changed the culture of this team the ugly tendencies of a losing franchise come rearing its head. I sat right behind the Bills sideline and I can tell you that besides a few exceptions on the sideline, the Bills looked lethargic. There was a few guys that lashed out or expressed their frustrations as to what was going on. Marcell Dareus, who just came out of Alabama, and Nick Barnett, who spent years in the Packers organization were a few of the exceptions. They made a mistake a few years ago by drafting small school project players. They need to repeat what they did last year by drafting big program, winning players like Dareus, Aaron Williams, and Kelvin Sheppard. They need players that want to win and are used to it. Most of all they need players who don’t care what’s gone on before them, just what they can do to make the future better for Buffalo Bills football.