NFL – Bills’ Season Review – Part 1

07 Jan

The 2018 Buffalo Bills’ season ended recently with an expected result. After deciding to jettison quarterback Tyrod Taylor last year in order to draft their franchise QB, the Bills took a step back while hoping to take 2 steps forward next season, now that a year of taking the lumps that go with playing a rookie signal caller is over. This is part 1 of our annual four part series reviewing the Bills’ season, starting with the management and coaching. GM Brandon Beane was aggressive in the draft, using draft capital obtained in trades to wheel and deal and pick up 2 important future pieces for the franchise – quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Beane also grabbed a couple of other useful players in Harrison Phillips and Taron Johnson, with the jury still out on the later round choices. In free agency, Beane hoped to repeat the success he had in 2017, signing a player coming off a major injury in Jordan Poyer, who became a solid defensive contributor. The 2018 model, edge rusher Trent Murphy, didn’t deliver the same result as he fought off injuries all year. The team got mixed results from the likes of Rafael Bush, Russell Bodine, Star Lotulelei and Ryan Lewis. The decision to bring in AJ McCarron as a “bridge” quarterback was a mistake, although Beane managed to fix the error by dealing McCarron for a draft pick.  The GM has a huge task ahead of him to replenish the roster this off-season as the expectations will rise considerably next year.

Speaking of expectations, coach Sean McDermott has to produce a winning club on the field in 2019. “Trusting the process” will only fly for a certain time with ownership and the fan base and the young coach, who I believe is the right person for the job, must produce wins next year. As Bill Parcells used to say, you are what your record says you are. In two complete seasons, McDermott’s mark is 15-18, including the playoff loss in Jacksonville last year. That lumps him in with other head coaching mediocrities the Bills have cycled through over the years. Also, there are 2 other glaring weaknesses in the coach’s resume so far. One is his record against the AFC East measuring stick, Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. McDermott’s Bills are 0-4 and produced only 1 garbage time touchdown, in the late-season encounter  this year, in the 4 meetings. The other is the team’s penchant to suffer blowout losses. Although there were a lot of tough circumstances to explain some of the beatdowns, like the quarterback carousel and injury issues, McDermott has to start winning regularly next year now that he has his young QB in place. His record may line up with the other coaching failures we’ve had here in Buffalo, but I do believe McDermott has firm control of his locker room and has fostered a solid team-first attitude among the players. He and Beane appear to be on the same page with a good plan, but that must translate to wins in 2019.

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