Reports of dysfunction were still coming out about friction and a power struggle between Sean McDermott and Doug Whaley right up to the NFL Draft.
An offseason of smart acquisitions continued to be over-shadowed by continuous negative reports about the Buffalo Bills.
For example, the Bills chose not to overpay a backup running back (Mike Gillislee) and let him sign with the New England Patriots in exchange for a fifth round pick. No one wanted to see Gillislee leave, but it was a smart move by the Bills who needed to save on salary cap space.
Yet the Bills were criticized for the move in multiple reports. Gillislee was an explosive runner who contibuted 8 touchdowns last season and was known for several big plays which earned him the nickname ‘TD Mike.’ Unfortunately, the Bills couldn’t afford to overpay another player with many other needs on the roster.
The backfield is securely anchored by Lesean McCoy, so there is hardly any need for worry over losing Gillislee. The Bills also brought in several backs to fill the void left by Gillislee and compete for roster spots, including Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard, Cedric O’Neal and Jordan Johnson. They also still have a promising second year back in Jonathan Williams.
After the draft, the Buffalo Bills fired Doug Whaley and his staff, which led to more reports of dysfunction and criticism about the timing of the fire. Despite what has been said, after the draft is the best time to replace the General Manager and scouting staff.
The Buffalo Bills brought in Brandon Beane, a highly regarded assistant GM in Carolina. Beane was highly impressed with the Pegulas and chose to come to Buffalo instead of staying in Carolina where he had been for 19 years and was next in line for the General Manager position there.
Why would Beane take a chance in coming to Buffalo after such a long tenure in Carolina if the Bills were a “dumpster fire” full of “dysfunction”?
So now that the Bills have Beane and McDermott in place, the reports would calm down right? Wrong again. The latest report to come out suggests “dysfunction” between the two over the situation at quarterback.
A Fox Sports article suggests that the Bills have not only been “one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises of the past 20 years,” but also added this:
"“The Bills are a complete mess, and the disconnect between McDermott and Beane has proved exactly that. After just a week together, they don’t seem to know who will be the team’s starter for years to come, let alone in Week 1.”"
How could this be possible after less than a week working together in Buffalo? Especially when they have a prior working relationship in Carolina. The most recent comments about the quarterback situation have been blown out of proportion, yet again.
Beane and McDermott have been careful with their words, leading to the general response of players competing for spots on the roster. Either way, their words could be twisted by the media. If they gave Tyrod Taylor a ringing endorsement and guaranteed him the starting job and it didn’t work out there would be questions if their hiring was the right move.
If they didn’t show complete faith in Taylor after signing him to a new deal, then they would be criticized for not overhauling the quarterback position.
It is no secret that every year in the NFL, players have to compete for roster spots. As this new regime builds their vision, the roster could see many changes. Brandon Beane already stated his ideas for the future of the Bills. Build through the draft, use free agency to supplement the roster instead of trying to make a big splash with flashy signings that rarely work out.
Bring in high character players with a team-first mentality, ready to give it their all on the field.
While the negative reports keep coming, the Buffalo Bills are quietly putting together a solid staff in the front office. Beane has already made two solid hires, bringing in Joe Schoen and Brian Gaine. Schoen was the Director of Player Personnel from the Miami Dolphins and will serve as the Assistant GM in Buffalo. Brian Gaine was the Director of Pro Personnel from Houston and will become the Vice President of Player Personnel in Buffalo.
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Two interesting things about hiring Gaine are that he was also interviewed for the GM position in Buffalo (seen as an equal to Beane) and Gaine chose to make a lateral move to come to Buffalo. In my opinion that shows these men are willing to put formalities aside and come together to build a future in Buffalo.
That doesn’t exactly sound like dysfunction to me. The same could be said about Sean McDermott and the staff he put in place.
I know the media is used to painting a negative picture in Buffalo. Let’s face it, over the years there hasn’t been much positive to speak of. Less than three years after officially becoming owners of the Buffalo Bills and saving the future of the franchise staying in Buffalo, it seems as if overall opinion has turned sour, both locally and nationally.
Has there been some mistakes? Yes there has, but to be honest the Pegulas inherited a mess and have had immense pressure on their shoulders since day one. In a tough business such as professional sports, turning around a franchise doesn’t happen overnight.
It may not be something people want to hear, but it could take years to build a consistent long term contender. I believe that starts with the hiring of Beane and McDermott. Nothing is guaranteed, we could look back on this offseason as another failure in building a winner in Buffalo. The Bills could be heading into this same situation in another few years, but I don’t believe that will be the case.
This is the most optimistic I have been in a long time, even if it comes with caution. Bills fans have seen this story many times, some have hitched onto the Buffwagon for another ride (including me) and some remain skeptical until they see a real change on and off the field.
I can understand either position Bills fans decide to take.
My gripe is with the media continuing to dig up drama in regards to the Bills and fishing for stroies during a slow part of the off-season. There is no dysfunction in the new staff brought in this off-season. Beane, McDermott and company will work together in lockstep to build the future of the Bills.
They will be the first Head Coach and GM pair on the same page since Marv Levy and Bill Polian.
I believe the Pegulas got it right this time. I believe that phrases like “dysfunction” and “dumpster fire” will soon become a thing of the past when describing the Buffalo Bills. I believe that the moves made this offseason will bring a bright future to the Bills.
Most of all, I “BILLieve” even if the media doesn’t.
What are your thoughts on the media coverage of the Buffalo Bills? Leave your thoughts below!