Last season it was easy to look back and be frustrated. One of the most talented Buffalo Bills teams assembled, was just another sub .500 team. Change was needed, but be careful what you ask for.
The Buffalo Bills were a disappointment last season. Rex Ryan was fired, and a large portion of the fanbase, wanted GM Doug Whaley to also go to the unemployment line. How could a team that talented miss the playoffs?
Change was needed, and change came. A new regime, with new plans on how to build a sustainable winning franchise arrived. Fans for the most part were excited, we could finally make the playoffs if we just avoided the dumb penalties, and confusion of the Ryan’s.
Not that easy. It isn’t going to be easy for the Buffalo Bills to get back to their mid-90’s level of success. If we thought the past 17 years were tough, get ready for more tough times.
On Friday, the Bills traded two key pieces of the Doug Whaley era. First, they traded CB Ronald Darby to the Eagles. Darby, was the ‘success’ that Whaley drafted. He was a 2nd round player, and the first pick in his draft for the Bills that had instant success as a rookie.
You want change? That isn’t just for the front office, change is for all the players. If your favorite Buffalo Bill wasn’t expendable under Rex Ryan or Doug Whaley, he may be now. All bets are off on the players carried over from the previous regime. Are you ready for the change you wanted?
Two years ago Ronald Darby had a breakout rookie season. The Bills needed it, since he was their first pick that year in the 2nd round. Where was their 1st round pick that season? The Bills traded it, to move up in the draft to acquire WR Sammy Watkins the year before. Who was also traded on Friday.
This is what happens when you change regimes every 2-4 years. It stinks to see fan favorites leave, or starters leave right before the season. You can be upset that you may need to buy a new jersey for games, but if you called for heads to roll after last season, don’t be shocked or upset by this. This is what you wanted.
Fact of the matter is for Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane this may be their one and only chance to be a NFL Head Coach and General Manager. They get one shot to get this right, and they can’t waste time in doing it when you may only get 2-3 years to prove yourself.
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Change is inevitable with regime turnovers. Where Rex Ryan failed is he tried to make his system work with players that didn’t fit in, but put up big numbers in Buffalo the year before. Sean McDermott isn’t going to make the same mistakes.
Ronald Darby is a good NFL starting cornerback. He will have good games in Philadelphia and be a solid NFL player for a long time. He is perfect in a press-man cover defense like the Ryan brothers run, but less valuable in a zone scheme like McDermott runs. The Bills turned an expendable asset into a high draft pick and WR Jordan Matthews. Why should McDermott try to change his defense just for Darby’s benefit? He shouldn’t, and he isn’t.
Ryan tried to run 4-3 and 3-4 defenses during his time to make all the players happy. It was a disaster. Darby could probably be good in the Bills scheme, but if Philadelphia calls and you get a top flight talent at WR, plus an additional high draft pick? If your Beane and McDermott who want to build a sustained winner thru the draft, you take it.
Why trade Sammy Watkins? You were 8th in scoring last season, and in a disappointing season that featured injuries all over the WR group, you did pretty well with Watkins missing 75% of the season. Now that’s not saying go look for trades, but it says that you don’t need Sammy Watkins to still compete this season.