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THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Just Plain Bad

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The Rockpile Review – by Shaw66

 

Just Plain Bad

 

It’s 10:30 p.m. Sunday.  Several hours earlier the Bills have lost to the Chicago, by a score of, as usual, some big number to, as usual, some number less than ten.  I’m in the parking lot of the Blandford Service area on the eastbound side of Interstate 90 in Massachusetts.  There on the wet pavement is a standard Buffalo Bills cap.  Has it fallen accidentally out of someone’s car as they he stopped to use the facilities on the way home from the game?  Or was it discarded intentionally, a deliberate and final act to terminate a relationship simply too painful to continue?  Should I drop my cap there too, and my other Bills gear, forming a small, temporary memorial to two former Bills fans?

 

There’s bad football and there are bad football teams.  Even good teams occasionally make bad plays or have bad games.  In the case of the Buffalo Bills, there is little reason to make such distinctions.  The Buffalo Bills are a bad football team that plays bad football and has plenty of bad games.

 

And to go to the heart of the matter, the Buffalo Bills have bad coaching. 

 

In five of the Bills’ seven losses, the Bills have been uncompetitive on the scoreboard, demonstrating early in the game that they had no chance to win.  In one of the seven, the Texans, the Bills made bad plays at the end of the game to lose.  Looking back from the perspective of early November, the Bills’ win over the Vikings looks no less like divine intervention than Jules Winnfield surviving a barrage of bullets unharmed in Pulp Fiction . 

 

Someone needs to tell Sean McDermott that he insults our intelligence standing at the podium each week, telling us that the Bills have to study some film, clean up some problems, play complementary football, improve, continue the process.  The truth that everyone knows is that the Bills don’t clean up the problems, they don’t play complementary football and they don’t get better.  The truth is that although there is some process by which football teams improve and become winners, there is no evidence that McDermott’s process is accomplishing that. 

 

The magnitude of the Bills ineptitude is so great that the examination of any single play cannot properly demonstrate and explain the extent of the failure of the coaching of this team.  However, one play from the Bills’ embarrassing loss to the Bears on Sunday is emblematic.  With a minute left in the first quarter, the Bills punted, and after a return of zero yards by the Bears, Logan Thomas clearly and unnecessarily hit the return man out  of bounds.  A fifteen-yard penalty was assessed against the Bills.

 

Even semi-conscious fans immediately knew it was a stupid play, it was bad football.  (By the way, being semi-conscious or worse for that game was probably the way to go.)  The important point is not that the penalty was inexcusable.  The important point is found in the answer to this question:  Why is a football player who has been part of McDermott’s all-important “process” for one and a half seasons making that play? 

 

The answer is that the process is failing, which means that McDermott is failing.  Thomas made that play because he has failed to learn lessons that good coaches teach their players.  There only a few reasons why he failed to learn the lesson:  (1)  The lesson isn’t taught – bad coaching.  (2)  The lesson is taught but not in a way that Thomas actually learns it – bad coaching.  (3)  The lesson is taught properly and Thomas either can’t learn or refuses to learn it; in either of those cases, Thomas should not be on the team – bad coaching. 

 

Here’s another example:  How many times yesterday did Peterman throw into the flat and have his receiver hit promptly by two defenders?   At least three or four, by my recollection.  One of those plays resulted in Croom fumbling and the Bears returning the recovered fumble for a touchdown, giving the Bears an insurmountable (if you’re playing the Bills) 14-0 lead.  A couple of the others left me wondering if all of the appendages of the solitary Bill remained attached to his torso.  Yes, Croom should have held onto the ball, but it doesn’t help to leave him 1-on-2, defenseless.

 

Now, think for a moment how many times you’ve seen a Bills defender one-on-one with a receiver in the flat like that.   Dozens.  Why is it that the Bears had two defenders out there, and the Bills have only one?  The answer almost certainly is some combination of the Bears knowing the Bills tendencies, the Bears having so much respect for Croom that they decide to double cover him (really?), the Bills only have two or three receivers in the pattern, or the Bears have left some other downfield area under-protected that the Bills are not attacking. 

 

Why is Nate Peterman throwing the ball for minimal gain into what effectively is double coverage, where his teammate is outmanned and has no help?  Why isn’t he reading the defense, a pretty simple read, and throwing the ball into the under-defended area of the field?  Why hasn’t Peterman learned that lesson in a year and a half?  (In order to save time, I’ll just copy what I said above.)  There are only a few reasons why he failed to learn the lesson:  (1)  The lesson isn’t taught.  – bad coaching.  (2)  The lesson is taught but not in a way to Peterman actually learns it – bad coaching.  (3)  The lesson is taught properly and Peterman either can’t learn or refuses to learn it; in either of those cases, Peterman should not be on the team – bad coaching. 

 

I’ll say it again:  McDermott insults our intelligence when he asks us to trust a process that consistently fails to change how players play.

 

Another example:  the Bills scored a touchdown (no, that is not a typographical error) and after a penalty against Chicago, the Bills opted to go for two points.  What’s the play?  A simple fade to Pryor in the deep corner of the end zone.  Now, when teams first began throwing the fade into the end zone, eight years ago or whenever, it was novel and effective.  Defensive backs have long since figured out how to defend that play; it succeeds only with a precision throw and an excellent catch.  In other words, it’s a low probability play.  Good football teams rarely run the straight fade any more, unless they have a great thrower and/or a great receiver.  Any semi-conscious fan etc.

 

And please, if you ARE going to the throw the fade, at least throw to Benjamin, who is the one guy on the team who actually has an advantage over the defender. 

 

Like a lot of coaches, McDermott is fond of saying that the coaches’ job is to put players in positions in which they can succeed.  What part of asking your backup second year QB to throw a pinpoint fade to your brand new, and previously unsuccessful, young wideout (instead of your number one receiver, whose SOLE advantage is elevating for balls the defender can’t reach) is putting your players in a position to succeed?

 

Want another example of the creativeness of the Bills’ offensive approach?   How about the wildcat?  An offensive change of pace that ceased being effective maybe five years ago and that the Bills had run extensively the week before.  The Bears had seen it on film and were prepared for it.  But wait, the Bills really crossed up the Bears: they ran it with Pryor instead of Shady.  Bad coaching.

 

Want a good play?  Early in the game, Croom was split out into the slot, shifted into a tight slot and revealed that the Bears were man-to-man.  On the snap, Croom ran a shallow slant across the defense toward the left flat, taking advantage of the mismatch and outrunning his man.  Peterman hit him easily.  THAT’s modern football.   Did we see it again?  No.

 

Some will argue that the problem is talent (or lack of it) and not coaching.  Some will say, as an example, that the offensive was unable to open any holes for McCoy all day, and it was unable to move the Bears off the ball in multiple attempts to score from the one-yard line.  Those examples are true, but it is equally true that the Bears had enormous difficulty moving the Bills off the line, too.  The Bears had no more rushing success than the Bills, and the Bills often stuffed them on short yardage.  Offensive line talent is spread pretty evenly across the league, and very few teams win by overwhelming their opponents with talent.  (The Bills’ offensive line, by the way, did a good job protecting Peterman.  Peterman, on the other hand, didn’t always do a good job finding targets and getting rid of the ball on time.)

 

There’s no doubt the Bills are not putting an all-star lineup on the field, but it doesn’t take talent to play smart, disciplined football.  That takes coaching, and the coaching is failing.  

 

Another example, as though another example is necessary:  The punt coverage team losing containment on the return man.  Shorthand this time:  Either containment isn’t taught (coaching failure), it isn’t taught in a way the players can learn it (coaching failure), or the players are incapable of learning it or won’t learn it (coaching failure).  It doesn’t take outstanding talent to cover punts; it takes training and execution of what’s been taught. 

 

Bottom line:  a mediocre Bears offense comes to New Era Field and is more or less completely shut down by the Bills defense, gaining only 190 yards.  The Bills give up 14 points on turnovers   They give up another bundle of points by giving the Bears’ offense short fields on the Thomas penalty, Peterman’s interception, and an onside kick necessitated by all the bad football earlier in the game. 

 

That was a winnable football game for any decent team.  It was out of reach early because the Bills are THAT bad. 

 

For years I’ve told disbelieving friends that I travel to see the Bills as much as I do because I’m a loyal fan.  I tell them the Bills are working on getting better.  Driving home after the Bears game I had a lot of time to think about why I travel to see the Bills.  There’s no good explanation other than it’s a bad habit.  

 

My Bills caps and my sweatshirts too, and my zubas and my Bills Santa/elf cap are still in my trunk, but to be honest, I don’t know why.

 

 

GO BILLS!!!

 

The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.

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Good call. I'm in agreement and too pissed off at this assmunch of a team to write more than one sentence condemning their fatal flaws. 

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Still nicely on pace to break our own franchise record for worst season in 1971 in terms of point differential.


Also currently on pace with the 1977 Tampa Bay Bucs for the record of having as many TDs as Pick-6s.  :lol:

 

Go Bills.

 

 

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Fantastic diagnosis, well-written and true.Sadly. Thanks for this, Shaw.

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Shaw,

 

You are a tough fan to break, but when you do - you let them have it.  All too sad and too true. 

 

For the TLDR crowd - here is the synopsis:  It's bad coaching of bad players making bad plays.

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3 minutes ago, Ayjent said:

Shaw,

 

You are a tough fan to break, but when you do - you let them have it.  All too sad and too true. 

 

For the TLDR crowd - here is the synopsis:  It's bad coaching of bad players making bad plays.

Luckily last year was good coaching. 

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5 minutes ago, Ayjent said:

Shaw,

 

You are a tough fan to break, but when you do - you let them have it.  All too sad and too true. 

 

For the TLDR crowd - here is the synopsis:  It's bad coaching of bad players making bad plays.

Lots of people hate on Jauron, but Jauron wouldn't let his team get beat the way the Bills are getting bear.  

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Ah it's a fair review.  I have to admit, I am questioning why I waste every beautiful Arizona Sunday getting keyed up for the game and then getting punched in the face.   I turned it off at halftime- there were much better games on the ticket and don't regret it.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Ayjent said:

Shaw,

 

You are a tough fan to break, but when you do - you let them have it.  All too sad and too true. 

 

For the TLDR crowd - here is the synopsis:  It's bad coaching of bad players making bad plays.

 

agreed on all counts.  The pessimist in me looks at the remaining schedule and only sees more bad news.  Next  week will be a get-well game for the Jets, and on down the line.  Sure, the Bills could show up to play on any given sunday, maybe forget all the culture/process nonsense that  our big dumb idiot coach is forcing down their throats, get some lucky bounces and/or mercy from the refs and squeeze out a win, but the much more likely scenario is the one where the bills continue to spiral downward, perhaps to break all time futility records?  it certainly seems within reach, and dovetails nicely with what we've seen of the process so far!

 

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Shaw - nice writeup, as always.  I watch the games in a bar here in CT with a couple of younger guys I have met over the past couple of years.  I told them yesterday this season reminds me of the Kay Stevenson / Hank Bullough years.

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I wasn't expecting to return to the playoffs.

I wasn't expecting the Bills to win.

I did expect to be entertained at times during a game.

 

Yesterday was the worst Bills experience I've had in 15 years of seasons.  

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I've been following the Rockpile Review for years & it has always been something that I looked forward to, even after dismal games like yesterday's game.  Always love to read your thoughts even if they will be as critical as mine often are.

 

Last year's "success" likely clouded my view of the team both last season and leading into this season.  I'm still willing to let McD & Beane go through the rest of this season and next season but that's it for me.  Who knows if the Pegulas feel the same way.

 

More of my Sundays have been free this year so I guess that's a good thing.  I'm not bailing on the Bills but I'm certainly not going to agonize about them either.

 

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Just another wasted season.    Probably fire the OC in the offseason, like every other Bills regime since forever.    Get another guy in here who does the same stuff because no one looks back at what fails in Buffalo year after year.   They all come in thinking they can fix things.  And they all do the same stuff to try and fix things, and they all get fired when they fail to fix things by doing what every coach has done. 

 

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How many times yesterday did Peterman throw into the flat and have his receiver hit promptly by two defenders? 

 

One reason is lack of separation by the Bills receivers. I watched on TV, and several times they showed a wide shot from Petermans viewpoint before he dumped off and the Bears had man coverage and no receiver was even close to being open.  Not sure if it was every time because they only showed that view a couple times, but I think that's a big reason for the dump offs.  Also the drops are a problem.  The one by Benjamin in the endzone for example. Yeah, garbage time, but Peterman put it where it needed to be, KB had it in his hands, and as usual dropped it. 

 

Is Peterman a good QB, hell no.  But between the drops, the WRs not able to get any separation, Shady dancing 10 times for a grand total of 10 yards, stupid penalties and so on, he had absolutely no help.  This Bills offense is as pathetic as I have ever seen.  

 

Hard to find fault in anything else you wrote however, well done.

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Can't argue with you here.

 

 

 

I don't think I've ever said that to you.

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The offense needs a true, bonafide leader.

 

Shady has some qualities, but isn’t it. Daboll has shown he can’t turn dirt into gold.

 

Allen has to be leader, and he was slowly turning into one before that bogus hit that led to his unfortunate injury.

 

Maybe the coaches can’t coach, but some players are also uncoachable this including, but not limited to Peterman and KB. They are unable or unwilling to learn from there mistakes and progress. 

 

This season has been one of the more depressing seasons we’ve had to watch. At least the Bills were normally able to keep games in reach in prior years.

 

I do want to see a new ST coach and Oline coach next year.

 

I don’t mind seeing McDermott coach one more year, but he needs to get the team to at least 8-8, with no more blow outs. Otherwise, it’s time for him to go too. 

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Shaw, I am surprised you left out Peterman not throwing a 35 yard hail mary at the end of the half when it was essentially a free play.  Instead he elected to run.  Just the play before he refused to throw the hail mary to end the half as well.  The guy had two chances to throw and end of the half pass and he Trent Edwards the plays instead.

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Right on everything Shaw. There is no process and never was. The trendy word "process" has been overly used lately to translate to " I need more time before you fire me".

There is no "culture" change, another overblown expression to trick your boss(Pegs) into believing this team will be different.  But every year it's the same bad players coached by the same bad coaches, practicing no discipline like we saw with Logan. McB's flaws are starting to pile up. They put together a very good defense,  as expected by a DC. But as far as offense & ST goes, they are completely and utterly lost. Their inability to evaluate offensive talent will get them fired very soon. Somehow I doubt their tenure stretches out to the end of 2019. 

Edited by LABILLBACKER

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12 minutes ago, Scott7975 said:

Shaw, I am surprised you left out Peterman not throwing a 35 yard hail mary at the end of the half when it was essentially a free play.  Instead he elected to run.  Just the play before he refused to throw the hail mary to end the half as well.  The guy had two chances to throw and end of the half pass and he Trent Edwards the plays instead.

Second last play, I guess it didn't occur to me, either, that he should have just let it go, given the penalty.  That's a good point, but I can see how a young guy would miss that opportunity.

 

You're absolutely right about the final play.   That's a total failure of coaching.   That play, as I said in another thread, has three options:  throw it, throw it and throw it.  Get the ball, avoid a rusher, escape to the right, load it up and let it go.   That's the play.  You're supposed to run the play.  IF McDermott isn't able to teach Peterman to do that in a year and a half, that McDermott is doing a piss-poor job coaching, or Peterman is unteachable and shouldn't be on the roster.   Either way, as far as I'm concerned, it's on the coach.  

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1 hour ago, driddles said:

I wasn't expecting to return to the playoffs.

I wasn't expecting the Bills to win.

I did expect to be entertained at times during a game.

 

Yesterday was the worst Bills experience I've had in 15 years of seasons.  

I've been a fan since their first season in 1960 and all I can say about this mess that is the Bills (team and FO) is: "Oh, the humanity! The humanity!"

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57 minutes ago, LABILLBACKER said:

Right on everything Shaw. There is no process and never was. The trendy word "process" has been overly used lately to translate to " I need more time before you fire me".

There is no "culture" change, another overblown expression to trick your boss(Pegs) into believing this team will be different.  But every year it's the same bad players coached by the same bad coaches, practicing no discipline like we saw with Logan. McB's flaws are starting to pile up. They put together a very good defense,  as expected by a DC. But as far as offense & ST goes, they are completely and utterly lost. Their inability to evaluate offensive talent will get them fired very soon. Somehow I doubt their tenure stretches out to the end of 2019. 

That's the way I see it as well - they either get through the end of next year or canned in the middle of it.  There is a lot of rationalizing of why they aren't good and how they'll be better next year with picks and cap room.  Problem is that same group of rationalizing fans were the same people telling us how the guys on the roster could at the very least perform as well as last year's offense and saw us building on last year's success.

 

Here is what will be telling in the offseason, how they go about trying to build a winner with heat ratcheting up on their tenure.  Do they abandon the process and start going into win now at all costs mode or do they stay the course moving guys who have value and are getting older for draft capital? 

 

I saw a flawed method from the get go, and last year had me questioning myself and thinking wow maybe these guys are good at what they are doing, then this offseason happened and I think it all finally caught up with them.  Sometimes you can get by on luck and goodwill from a necessary change at HC.  That honeymoon ended and now we are seeing the gory details.   They likely will improve, but it's going to be too little too late with a team that started with a lot of talent stripped down to one without much at all and in need of a coach.  Problem is that no one is going to want to touch the Bills if a better opportunity presents itself - and then the Bills become the new Browns.

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1 hour ago, Scott7975 said:

Shaw, I am surprised you left out Peterman not throwing a 35 yard hail mary at the end of the half when it was essentially a free play.  Instead he elected to run.  Just the play before he refused to throw the hail mary to end the half as well.  The guy had two chances to throw and end of the half pass and he Trent Edwards the plays instead.

Gunshy maybe?? what you´d expect with thE lynch mob growing every week he throws an INT? 

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1 hour ago, CodeMonkey said:

 

One reason is lack of separation by the Bills receivers. I watched on TV, and several times they showed a wide shot from Petermans viewpoint before he dumped off and the Bears had man coverage and no receiver was even close to being open.  Not sure if it was every time because they only showed that view a couple times, but I think that's a big reason for the dump offs.  Also the drops are a problem.  The one by Benjamin in the endzone for example. Yeah, garbage time, but Peterman put it where it needed to be, KB had it in his hands, and as usual dropped it. 

 

Is Peterman a good QB, hell no.  But between the drops, the WRs not able to get any separation, Shady dancing 10 times for a grand total of 10 yards, stupid penalties and so on, he had absolutely no help.  This Bills offense is as pathetic as I have ever seen.  

 

Hard to find fault in anything else you wrote however, well done.

The good offensive minds are able to scheme guys open. This isn't 1987 where the passing game was essentially receivers trying to beat corners one on one.

 

I'm not saying our receivers are good, but the offensive staff does them no favors.

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Agree with what you wrote Shaw. I had a strong belief that McDermott was finally the right coach. However with each game my confidence is eroding more and more.You can talk process all you want but 25 games into his HC tenure what’s changed? Down 28 to 0 and you kick a FG? Players don’t line up properly and continue to make self inflicted penalties before the ball is even snapped. The number of blowouts is extremely alarming,  you draft a rookie QB that you state you have a plan for but abandon that plan after half a game and throw him to the wolves. You’ve built one of the worst offenses in modern day NFL. But yet you want everyone to trust the process when the HC coach makes idiotic statements that he can win with NP. You cut OLeary but keep Logan Thomas and the list goes on and on. The GM is a ghost for the majority of the regular season. Been a fan of the Bills since 1988 but my desire to watch any more games this year has hit rock bottom. Can anyone really state they are confident any longer that McDermott and Beane know what the same hell they are doing? I’m not sure they truly know what a NFL is!

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