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Posted: Thursday, 15 December 2016 1:42PM

Bills: Which way do we go?

There's nothing new around here talking about whether the Bills should make a coaching change, or maybe a change at general manger, or perhaps just at quarterback. This franchise tests the mental and psychological limits of long-time fans; I, for one, have been wondering lately if the human brain can only have these conversations a certain number of times.

Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Perry Fewell, Chan Gailey, Doug Marrone, Rex Ryan.

John Butler, Tom Donahoe, Tom Modrak, Marv Levy, Russ Brandon, Buddy Nix, Doug Whaley.

Doug Flutie, Rob Johnson, Alex Van Pelt, Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, EJ Manuel, Kyle Orton, Tyrod Taylor.

I don't know what you were doing when the first of these dismissals went down but I was on the radio talking about them.

It's mid-December and that means the Bills are just outside the playoff picture trying to decide whether to keep it together or pack their knives and go. In these 17 seasons all but two or three times have we been spared this discussion.

My problem this time is I don't think any option looks that promising.

Keep Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and Tyrod Taylor. You'd have to admit, you could do worse -- and this team often has. They're likely to finish .500 or above for the third year in a row, which the Bills haven't done since 1998-2000. The greatest difficulty here though is probably the $27.5M the Bills would be guaranteeing Taylor to keep him. To do this I'd assume they'd allot more resources to their passing game, which would be a good thing. But can they coexist, and do they want to? And can they keep the fans from giving up on next season before it starts?

Keep Whaley, dump Ryan and Taylor. This is the path last weekend's reports would have you believing is what's going to happen. I could see Terry Pegula commissioning Whaley to go get the best quarterback available, and even biting the bullet on Rex's contract. Fine. Good luck. Cardale Jones will have a seat at the QB table next summer and so might -- just to pick a name -- Jay Cutler. But would they be improved?

Keep Ryan and Taylor, dump Whaley. In turn, this plan goes against the recent speculation. This is my least favorite idea so far. Maybe it's because I'm thinking too traditionally, but I don't want my coach getting placed with a GM. I want my GM supplying a vision and matching it with a coach. Of course Ryan was placed with Whaley, as he was with John Idzik in New York. No wonder it hasn't worked.

Keep Ryan and Whaley, dump Taylor. Are you going to trust Whaley and/or Ryan to sell you on a new quarterback next year? I think if it's Cardale Jones, fine. I'd want to believe that means he's showing a lot as a rookie. I can't see Ryan or Whaley championing -- again, to pick a name -- Cutler. I don't think Buffalo would buy in.

FIRE EVERYONE (Greg Bauch quota filled). It's cold and dirty but it might be the surest way to the top. Like before, the general manager supplies the vision. The coach follows suit, and then does the offensive system, and then does the quarterback (somehow). The problem I have here though is that the Bills really aren't that bad.

It's the 16-plus years without a playoff spot making us so antsy. Deep down it's also Home Run Throwback and No Goal and the lost Super Bowls. The Pegulas have a business to run here and keeping (winning back?) the fans' belief is paramount. (This point is partly why Russ Brandon has no place in this analysis for me; it is a business, so I have no philosophical objection to the team president being involved in these decisions. Like with the owner himself though, what you need if he's giving input is to be right. If you or I can consider ourselves qualified to know what the Bills should do in these matters, to say the least Brandon is too.)

None of these scenarios is that appealing. The Bills don't have a high draft pick and will be losing several players to free agency. Whereas last year was less eventful for the GM, this off-season should be busy.

Good luck to them.

12/15/2016 1:53PM
Bills: Which way do we go?
Please enter your comments below.
12/15/2016 2:18PM
Clean house! I know some fans wont like it but it has to be done. To hell with continuity. Continuity only works if you have the right people in place. Hire a GM who will go out and get a decent QB. Whaley wont! he's in love with that stiff EJM. That was HIS pick. Tyrod is as good as gone. Hire the GM who will find the right QB and the right HC! But at any rate you have to keep trying til you get it right. If that means drafting a QB with your #1 pick every year, so be it! Other teams draft QBs. Why not the Bills?
12/15/2016 2:58PM
Not bad overall
Unfortunately I think the organization is so lame everyone should go...but then what? This oughta floor people. Hire Joe B. His player analysis has always been spot on (the Coyoties hired a player nerd as GM last year). What have any of the "football people" brought us? Sometimes to find bright people you have to go outside your anemic pool of mental talent, i.e. maybe we should move on from the knuckleheads.
12/15/2016 3:01PM
I haven't rooted for the BILLS to lose since it was Hank Bullough coaching the them. That's what I've been doing since we hit December. We are not going anywhere with this crew. Pagula has to hire a President of football operations (GURU), relieve Brandon of any Football decisions other than sales. Dump Rex & his pseudo QB Taylor. Whaley can stay, if the NEW man in FB operations wants. If we're gonna rebuild, lets do it with someone that knows how. Giving Taylor more of whatever they think he needs is useless. He NEEDS QB talent & QB IQ.
12/15/2016 3:11PM
what you really
mean is you don't have the energy to contort yourself defending the front office as per corporate instructions day in and day out ...
12/15/2016 3:11PM
GM sets the vision?
I like the comments you made about the GM supplying the vision. But has Whaley ever been given the opportunity to do this? I feel that he is a good GM, but i'm not sure. He was saddled with EJ. He got Kyle Orton and Tyrod because that's whothe coaches wanted. He was given Rex. I would like the Pegula's to give the GM the reigns for the next year or two. Let Whaley decide on Tyrod and Rex's futures and see where that takes us.
12/15/2016 3:21PM
The problem starts at the top-the Pegulas
Kim and Terry have no clue, and we can't fire them. It all starts with the people doing the hiring. They are true amateurs. Nice people who are in way over their heads in both the NFL and NHL they simply cannot judge talent.
12/15/2016 3:34PM
Stop kissing Brandons But
The problem with this team is Russ Brandon....for some reason Schopp you choose to kiss his you know what....what's in it for you ??? The only person here during this whole time is Russ. He hypes a player or a coach while making the rest of the team mediocre and sells tickets to an inferior product...He did it with Bledsoe, with Owens with Mario Williams and Now with Rex Ryan....Oh I forgot Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins....Brings in one lets go three but sells the one to nauseam and we as lemmings buy tickets. The guy is a snake oil salesman and a scum bag and should have been gone a long time ago but you seem to always defend him....why don't you put the blame where it belongs and that's straight on Russ Brandon's head but your head is too far up Russ' you know what....
12/15/2016 3:44PM
This organization hired Rex after he had a losing stint with the Jets. That franchise was relieved to see him depart because with Rex there is always a lot of noise without much accomplishment to match it. What is abundantly clear in this league is that you don't get anywhere meaningful unless you have good quarterback play. This franchise hasn't had stability at the most important position since the Kelly era which was two decades ago. If we can't find our long term qb this next offseason then at the minimum we have to find a qb from the market that can at least play at a level that will give us a chance to consistently compete. Right now we have a qb that can't execute a basic NFL passing offense. Not making the playoffs in over a generation is beyond being embarrassing, it is an absurdity! Even with the system designed for parity we still continue to lag. That is sad and that is stupid!
12/15/2016 4:11PM
Keep Tyrod & Whaley
Dump Ryan and promote Anthony Lynn: Tyrod is priced right and is talented. So get a quarterback to develop behind him, or go after an FA like Blake Bortles; you can't go wrong with a strong quarterback competition. Even mid level QB's have a trade value. The Ryans' defensive concepts are bankrupt; they have to go (along with Thurmond). Maybe Mike Pettine is out there somewhere. Whaley has done a lot of good work; yes he has some misses but what GM doesn't? We give the patriots a lot of credit but look at their big draft misses over the last 5 years. Keeping Lynn maintains some coaching continuity. Or the hell with it; see if Greg Roman will come back as HC.
12/15/2016 4:27PM
I can't imagine any elite management being enticed to come work for Pegula
It is a catch 22. Lots of money but people want to win, if they are quality they will get the money elsewhere. Honestly, Pegula put himself in this position.
12/15/2016 4:41PM
I Was 100% Against The Hiring Of Ryan
Now I say keep him. I really want the team to keep everyone in place through next season. Then there will be no reason to debate whether to clean house or not. Meanwhile, the organization can plan for the worst while hoping for the best. I think the teamhas the talent to win, in spite of the ryan brothers.
12/15/2016 4:48PM
Mike your on to something
New Bills President is the Scarecrow, obviously because of his brain. He will name The Wizard of Oz as General Manager. you know because he's a wizard. Cowardly Lion will be named Head Coach because of his courage. The new starting QB will be the Apple Tree from the haunted forest. New Head Coach Cowardly Lion noted the Apple Tree has a big time arm. I'm guessing the Bills will WIN the Super Bowl when it's played in Kansas.
12/15/2016 7:21PM
on a side note
you see who new england snagged off the waiver wire? imagine that the patriots grabbing a guy that was just cut for multiple dui's.
12/15/2016 7:29PM
Keep all three
Hey if we only had a normal amount of injuries we would be in the playoff hunt and most would shut up. Get a life. Merry Christmas!
12/15/2016 7:37PM
Fire them all
Fire them all. We need to hire the football equivalent of a Scotty Bowmen - Bill Polian. Spend all the money on this guy who you hire. We don't have leadership at the top. We need a guy who can build a team starting with a highly qualified/talent recognizing GM. Then a Coach and down the line QB to the players. This team can't be fixed with just player changes. 16 years of losing needs a culture change. You can plug coaches in every 2-3 years. Players move in and out all the time. The head guy (above the Gm) needs to have the most knowledge - sucess of everyone. I feel this is the only way. Otherwise we are just reading water in a mediocrity known as Buffalo sports .
12/15/2016 9:58PM
Whaley and Brandon go first
Whaley cant find a qb he had his chance and failed. Brandon has to go. Find a real Head of Football Operations let him hire a GM. The GM should fire Rex he took a top rated defense and drove it to the bottom. Of course Rob goes bye bye with his brother. Then draft a qb Dallas got a gem in the 4th round so it can be done but Whaley can't do it. Taylor can't be paid 27 million so he has to go. A good GM and coach could turn this team around fast but do we have an owner who can get this team headed in the right direction by making the right choice.
12/15/2016 11:11PM
Dump the ...
Dump the GM, Conditioning Coach(s), scouting staff and all the dead wood that can not make an impact and just want to collect a check like Dareus. Find a Quarterback with some toughness and character fools passed on Dak Prescott. That tells me the scouting department leaves a lot to be desired. Just then you may get the team over the .75 mark and into the playoffs. We are tired of the status quo and mediocrity.
12/15/2016 11:23PM
Re: Mike your on to something
The guy who wrote "The Wizard of Oz" was super interesting. If you hate that the government runs banking, you would love this guy.
12/16/2016 12:33AM
Re:Stop kissing Brandon's but (sic)
The one retort I would have to your post about fans stop being lemmings? Stop letting Brandon sell you a bill of goods and stop going to games, buying merchandise, etc...if the team becomes a "failure" at the stadium and in merchandisesales, they'll make a change and get rid of Brandon. The fans are just as much at fault as Brandon and his snake oil selling when we're talking about Brandon and his decisions.
12/16/2016 12:39AM
Re: Quarterback
Sure, but this team has, and does, "consistently compete." Their record proves that, and bringing in someone else to essentially do the same thing is going to see the same results. You're basically saying if they can't find a franchise QB (good luck with that, it's not that we know), they should bring in someone to keep them in games and probably see them go 7-9 to 9-7 (maybe even 10-6). Ummmm...what would change outside of the name on the back of the QB's jersey? I'm not advocating for Taylor to stay either (honestly, I couldn't care less), but the logic you're using doesn't make much sense. The fans around here are literally living in a Groundhog Day scenario, have been told they are living that out, and still continue to just act as if they have all of the answers. (I'm not picking on you here at all, I'm speaking more in general terms).
12/16/2016 2:40AM
Lets hope The Pegula's learned something....
...from the Sabres. They gave ineptitude the opportunity to validate itself despite even the average fan knowing the team was going nowhere. It didn't work well at all. One clown is unemployed in the NHL, and the other may well be soon. They can't still be that naive about sports, can they? Let's us pray to Kelly they're not....
12/16/2016 2:59AM
Good (obvious) thoughts
Ryan is a dinosaur with the ground and pound, Doug is in over his head, Tyrod is average at best, Pegulas are clueless, start anybody at qb ; the drunks will still buy tickets
12/16/2016 6:01AM
I hope the $23 Million contract does not enter into the decision on keeping Tyrod. I don't see another alternative for next year and that amount is about right for his average talent. All NFL ers get obscene amounts of money and worth doesn't enter in to the equation. As long as keeping T2 doesn't prevent competition at the QB position and the search for a franchise savior continues.
12/16/2016 6:10AM
@what you really
totally agree. russ brandon pulls the strings. pegulas cant run a team either.
12/16/2016 6:21AM
He gets hung up on specific players and rides or dies with them
The unfortunate reality for Ryan is that despite two strong years with the New York Jets — the first two of his tenure — his teams have been average since. They always seem to be right on the fringe, just not quite good enough to hang with the top tier teams in the league. And his career record of 60-65 clearly represents that. By Larry Brown Sports. rex sure does especially with Goodwin. "Some will make the argument that it’s a talent issue, but it’s clearly become a pattern under Ryan. He gets hung up on specific players and rides or dies with them. More often than not, he dies with them. And come Black Monday, that may be the case for Sexy Rexy yet again."
12/16/2016 6:26AM
it's no longer interesting or fun to watch
This has been going on for too long... one thing to endure the Wilson regime since he brought pro football to Buffalo; the gratitude for the Pegula's saving (both) franchises fades as the poor management decisions pile up the losses and dead cap money (see Villie Leino, Mario Williams, potentially Tyrod Taylor). As far as football operations are concerned all the key players (GM, Pres, Head Coach) have each had sufficient opportunity to prove his worth; the results are not good. The futility has now covered an entire generation... I guess the cost of a season ticket is not investment enough to expect measurable improvement of the on-field product.
12/16/2016 6:55AM
Darius bold prediction
lol do you think you can beat that high school team in Cleveland?? what a joke. Taylor will have a great day and will be cloned the next coming of Tom Brady! there is nothing good that can come from this game against and inferior opponent to say the least.
12/16/2016 7:19AM
rex ryan had a bad gm with the Jets.....
Replace Whaley give Rex a gm that has an eye for talent...Whaley lacks that. Rex is a proven winner....he must stay..
12/16/2016 8:13AM
Whaleys incompetance
Ive had it with Whaley--he should be the dumpee---EJ manuel???please And how about trading up for Watkins when they coulda drafted Beckham without giving up picks check out his track record how many of his picks are going or gone to the Pro bowl. Most of us coulda done a better job
12/16/2016 9:26AM
1st round QB! 2nd round QB! 3rd round QB!
12/16/2016 9:33AM
Brandon MUST GO!
(This point is partly why Russ Brandon has no place in this analysis for me; it is a business, so I have no philosophical objection to the team president being involved in these decisions. Like with the owner himself though, what you need if he's giving input is to be right. If you or I can consider ourselves qualified to know what the Bills should do in these matters, to say the least Brandon is too.) This is laughable, until Brandon is gone this franchise will ALWAYS be in a quagmire, the best marketing in sports is winning, but he proves his worth to ownership without it for a VERY LONG TIME!
12/16/2016 9:35AM
Get a GM that knows how to draft. We need a QB that can throw over the middle and pass to the WRS that are waving their hands to throw them the ball.
12/16/2016 10:05AM
It all starts...
...with the offensive line. Until we have a top 5 offensive line, nothing else matters. The injury to Wood hurt this year. Keep the GM, coach, and QB. Superbowls are won with the offensive line.
12/16/2016 11:09AM
Fire Schoop
The best option
12/16/2016 11:36AM
It's Whaley!
Whaley does not know what an NFL quarterback looks like plain and simple.He has missed on everyone he has brought in and passed in the draft on others who are succeeding. Time and again we hear it is a "quarterback driven league" and our GM has been unable to fill the position in his time as Assistant GM and GM. He and Brandon are the common denominator in all of these failures and both have been part of the losing culture for far too long. Enough with the "continuity" nonsense. The "continuity" has been there with these two and it has produc3d nothing!
12/16/2016 11:56AM
The problem is a lack of a voice of leadership
Let's face it. The Pegula's are a business and are not sophisticated enough to know when to talk. Yes, even Ralph Wilson knew when it was time for intervention. We may or may not have the right group running the show but the GM and Coach are too tight, serious and abrasive. Tyrod is an upgrade but the problem of poor quarterbacks is one we have long endured. The problem is our owner. He did good with the Sabres. Now he probably needs to clean house and start a rebuild. Not fun or profitable. Will he? Or why should he when results do not matter in the NFL. Fans have to complain and then some change (probably more painful than we want) will occur.
12/16/2016 12:20PM
RE: Mike your on to someting
Best comment I have read on any of these forums. LOL
12/16/2016 12:30PM
12/16/2016 1:04PM
ryan has to go!!
he is a fast talking used car salesman that never has done anything. enough already! he ruined our defense. the team is going no where with Taylor. no accuracy at all. Come on Pegula you waited too long with Rozier! get your act together.not even being able to make the playoffs in this long a period is ridiculous.
12/16/2016 1:59PM
Order a pizza and get a 6 pack - my option
No ones going anywhere soon, so get a pizza and 6 pack and find a nice comfy seat because - its Whaley,TT and Rex for next year or 2. Schoop is right were not that bad, we just weren't good enough this year to make the playoffs and thats the coaching staffs fault we some to blame on injuries for sure. They should definitely be trying to lure in a proven winning GM and head coach but that would most likely mean getting someone away from another team or out of retirement. Not Gonna Happen!!! Our football is like our weather - cold, depressing/aggravating, lasts too long and the only bright outlook is for an early summer.
12/16/2016 2:26PM
I've Got It!
Get rid of Taylor, Sloppy Ryan and D/C.....Bring in a New D/C and O/C....ask Rex if he wants to stay as H/C and A. Lynn if he wants to stay on as well...if not oh well.
12/16/2016 4:27PM
Fire all the media in Buffalo too. Fire the fans. Fire Mike and bulldog too !
Youre all a burden as well. The Bills should have Moved.
12/16/2016 4:34PM
Russ Brandon
It's funny seeing people demanding the head of the only guy that's done his job during this miserable stretch. His job is to sell tickets. He's sold them in spades for a sub-mediocre product...and you hold that against him? Sure, if he's making any football decisions whatsoever, cut that out entirely! Who's the idiot for listening to or hiring him to make on field decisions? But as far as selling the product, why in the world would you want someone worse if you're the owner? This guy has been selling ice to Eskimos for years! Imagine what he might be able to do if he actually had a good product to sell.
12/16/2016 6:39PM
Hold them or fold them?
I'm in favor of standing pat.... My vision of this team is what I saw in the off season contrary to rex saying we won then off season. I saw an equal number of pieces go and replaced. One surely could not see a gain in talent to the point we could believe better things were coming. Things we wanted to see a better taylor not without a number one hobbled and mia. Woods is a nice player but lets be honest he would be a number 3 on more than half the teams in this league and a mid-season coordinator change. Shaq for Mario, Brown for Bradham, and a one hit to the neck and your done and a few suspensions to boot. It's crazy that it's been 16 seasons but really we are the crazy ones expecting more from less. I've heard it said other teams turn it around in one year but they don't have NE at 12wins or more every year. Lose 2 to NE and you need to be 10-4 the rest of the way to have a sniff. Nobody is winning this division 10-6 or 9-7 like other divisions. Until we build talent to match NE quit beating yourself up schoop!! We are past due in the draft to find a gem or two. who will replace gillmore? They need to get better tackle play on pass downs. Mills is not the answer. Miller and incognito are not great in pass blocking. Haven't you noticed taylor running for his life? Sometimes he's his own worst enemy but a lot of the time the pocket crumbs. If we get a classic qb do we need to rebuild the o-line? We already have the WR group and DB group that need rebuilt. How much change can we get with only 6 picks and few extra mil (mario off the books)? the marketing answer is a shiny new coach. reality is until Brady loses his helmet nothing short of striking lighting i.e.. prescott/elliot. will change the our fortunes. How i live for the day NE is in qb purgatory and their fans pay good money to watch an inferior product year after year..... for they have a long way to fall. Only then can you sell me hope! Haven't we done all we can by making changes for the sake of change only to prove it makes for good ticket sales and media talk. We need to forge forward after we lick our wounds and recover from disappointment. Learn to fight smarter and harder with more intestinal fortitude. to due battle with grit and a willingness to not turn the other way and persevere at all cost. And there you have it the new team slogan for 2017. "persevere at all cost" "lets not win the offseason but the regular season"! on the back of the shirt.
12/16/2016 7:36PM
Look kids...
Big Ben, Parliament. Look kids Big Ben, Parliament. Look kids Big Ben, Parliament. Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament...
12/16/2016 11:41PM
Keep all three for now
I'd replace most or all of the scouting staff. The problem starts there. One lousy draft after the other for 17 years. Decide on a team identity and draft accordingly.
12/17/2016 1:20AM
Keep Whaley and Taylor. Lose the Ryan Brothers.
Whaley's drafts continue to improve. The Trade up for Watkins was a mistake, but the defensive picks have all been solid, and some of them have ended up on other teams. EJ was a reach and is a bust.. I have no idea why he's still on the team. They should have kept Jim Schwartz on the defensive side of the ball. Taylor, at this point, is a game manager with more upside than Fitz. Give him one more year with everyone around him. Losing Wood hurt. Not being able to put Watkins and Woods out there at the same time hurts. Dump the Ryans, let Whaley pick his head coach and give him two years. Most of the talent is there.
12/17/2016 12:52PM
please just stop...
saying the word "Cutler". After that, dump Whaley.. he seems a snake and Fred Jackson's comments on way out about everyone being honest with him besides Whaley was telling. Next, doctors look at medical reports before the draft. Lawson,Ragland, Listenbee in one draft? good grief.
12/17/2016 3:08PM
It's The DEFENSE and INJURIES that killed us this season!
The problem is NOT TYROD or WHALEY or even REX*. When McCoy is healthy, 9 times out of 10 we win, but he can't be the whole offensive game plan like it seems he is. That, in addition to Tyrod not having consistent playmakers to throw to (i.e. Watkins missing half the season). Taylor has make some bad decisions and has been holding the ball too long relying on a banged up O-line, but it's not his fault if no one is open. I think we need to re-evaluate our O-line and WRs, and get some defensive backs that play consistent defense to not allow opponents to score. Defense wins games, and ours is just not working good enough whether it is the Ryans' scheme or the inability of the players to get the job done.
12/18/2016 11:43AM
worried about losing a source?
Mr. Brandon has no business in this business. He has cajoled his way to the top, taking advantage of an aging Mr. Wilson. The difference between you and I and Mr. Brandon giving the Pegulas advice is that they actually care about what he says. He, in fact, does need to be part of this discussion and he really is the first person who needs to go.
12/18/2016 12:45PM
as long as there is a fullhouse on game day russ and rex is safe... PLEASE DRAIN THE SWAMP NOW!!!
12/26/2016 5:33PM
Keep them all and hold them accountable for next year
Jerry Jones saw what the constant change of coaches and personal did to his once great team and finally saw the light and the patience to stick with Jason Garrett and staff and got them better with experience and drafting good players. If we go 16-16 for2015 and 2016 this would be the first time we haven't had back to back losing seasons since 2000
12/27/2016 9:23PM
Stupid leadership
Ryan was a mistake. Whaley just has not gotten the job done. They need to get some staff from the Pats who obviously are on the right road.
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