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Shaw66

THE ROCKPILE REVIEW - Just Plain Bad

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2 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

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

 

Count me among the Jauron haters.  I loathed Jauron and his play-not-to-lose-by-too-much style, but I have to admit, play-not-to-lose-by-too-much beats the crap out of McDermott's "process" by a few light years at least.

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4 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

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.

If you take one little piece.  The defense.   McDermott clearly knows how to coach, manage, and motivate the defense.  You are left thinking if he could just do that with the rest of the team.  Then you take your eyes off the defense and look at the rest of the team and it is just wilting.  I only think Allen breaths a little life into it because he's such a good athlete but unfortunately that isn't going to make him a great QB.  Taylor suffered from that.   The 49's are a perfect example of middle of the road talent that is well coached on offense.  Is it too much to ask that we have competent coaching on both sides of the ball.

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Before the season even started the Bills ranked last in the NFL in what ESPN called QB confidence rating and this was while A J McCarron was still in Buffalo.

 

Needless to say experience matters at the QB position. 

 

Thanks OP for the great read.

 

 

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1 hour ago, LSHMEAB said:

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.

I really think this is correct.  

 

I believe there are probably 15-20 guys in the league who can separation regularly one on one.  No more, maybe less.  Julio Jones gets open.  AJ Green gets open.   I'd bet there are 25 teams who don't have a #2 receiver who gets separation on his own.   

 

Look at a guy like open.   You can't tell me Chris Hogan is getting open because he's faking guys out of their shoes.   He isn't.  

 

Guys get open with scheme and precise route running.  When everyone runs his route correctly and the QB knows what he's doing, guys are open.  

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Shaw, I’m sure it was good.....but I just can’t right now. I’m trying to just find some humor in this. The game is only slightly worse than the folks who’s gloom takes my fun away. I’m not taking that away from them, but.....

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Great post. And a scary one. Coaching is a big problem that's being excused by many since it's a rebuilding year. A rebuild has to be executed successfully for it to work, and that's all about player and team development. I went into this season saying I didn't care about the record, and I don't. It's all about organizational progression...and we're not seeing any. 

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31 minutes ago, Maine-iac said:

If you take one little piece.  The defense.   McDermott clearly knows how to coach, manage, and motivate the defense.  You are left thinking if he could just do that with the rest of the team.  Then you take your eyes off the defense and look at the rest of the team and it is just wilting.  I only think Allen breaths a little life into it because he's such a good athlete but unfortunately that isn't going to make him a great QB.  Taylor suffered from that.   The 49's are a perfect example of middle of the road talent that is well coached on offense.  Is it too much to ask that we have competent coaching on both sides of the ball.

He put all the assets into the defense  It better be good  Majority of the money and draft capital has been poured into defense  Leslie Frazier is a legit defense coordinator On offense its popsicle sticks and bubblegum .  Dabol sucks and we just trotted out a journeyman qb with days notice and Nathan freakin Peterman. 

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2 hours ago, Augie said:

Shaw, I’m sure it was good.....but I just can’t right now. I’m trying to just find some humor in this. The game is only slightly worse than the folks who’s gloom takes my fun away. I’m not taking that away from them, but.....

I was really upset sitting in the stadium.  It was so disheartening.    It was embarrassing.  I was ready for Nate to do something, for the team to do something and there was - nothing. 

 

I really do think Nate played scared.  He made nice throws, but he only threw it when he was sure.   

 

Among the things that trouble me about McDermott is his faith in Nate.  He just doesn't seem to be up to the NFL.   

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Shaw, if our team put as much effort into roster building and game planning as you put into your write ups we'd be world champs many times over.

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10 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

I was really upset sitting in the stadium.  It was so disheartening.    It was embarrassing.  I was ready for Nate to do something, for the team to do something and there was - nothing. 

 

I really do think Nate played scared.  He made nice throws, but he only threw it when he was sure.   

 

Among the things that trouble me about McDermott is his faith in Nate.  He just doesn't seem to be up to the NFL.   

 

If he had better options, I’m sure he’d go there. Not a Nate for HOF guy, but we gave up two freaky TD’s that were no fault of Nate. 

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Nice review Shaw. 

 

1. I agree with McDermott insulting the fans intelligence. Like we don’t have a TV and can’t see Rams v. Saints. Are they obsessed with field position and keeping things third and manageable? 

 

How have the Bills not figured out the bubble screen as a method to get the ball out faster instead of trying to sweep or pitch their way to the edge? I was asking that question when Watkins was a rookie and the Bills were struggling to manufacture touches for him. They lose yards every time they attempt this, yet it’s a stupid Shotgun snap trying to run the ball and it’s an immediate 2-3 people in the backfield to suffocate McCoy. 

 

Why are there no 10 yard crosses or drag routes? 

 

Why hasn’t anyone thought of putting McCoy in the slot? I was asking this 8 years ago when the Spiller, the 9th pick in the draft, got 78 touches all season. Nope instead McDermott will just parrot out the line about “getting McCoy going to establish the line of scrimmage”. Why isn’t Murphy out there hammering away? Why isn’t Croom split out wide, why is Logan Thomas even on this team? He’s a mediocre athlete. 

 

 

2. Stellar observation about the fade route. It was outdated when the Bills tried it last season with Benjamin in the Playoffs against the Jaguars.

 

But the Bills are followers, not innovators. The rest of the league has moved on from the Wildcat, the Bills use it as their “exotic” package. That was part of the reason McDermott wanted Joe Webb, he played Special Teams and could be used as a QB/WR/RB. 

 

 

This is all so familiar because once again the Bills have a conservative, defensive minded Coach afraid of turnovers (Jauron, Marrone, Rex and now McDermott) combined with no Quarterback. 

 

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Haven't read through the whole thread yet, but just wanted to say that while Shaw's posts are always good, this one really stood head and shoulders above the rest. Thank you for articulating a lot of my worries about this team in a way I haven't been able to do so myself. 

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10 hours ago, Cash said:

Haven't read through the whole thread yet, but just wanted to say that while Shaw's posts are always good, this one really stood head and shoulders above the rest. Thank you for articulating a lot of my worries about this team in a way I haven't been able to do so myself. 

Well, thanks.   Everyone knows I tend not to bash the team, generally because I think people on the inside know a lot more about what's going on and why things are done than any of us does.  So I've been supportive of McDermott.

 

The problem for me is that when good head coaches come into a new situation, the team starts playing better.  They don't necessarily win, but you can see it in how the team carries itself, reacts to adversity, etc.   I remember watching the UConn Huskies when Jim Calhoun arrived.   The team was pretty bad the last season under the previous head coach.  Calhoun came in and with more or less the same players, everything changed.  They still didn't win a lot, but they won more.  They needed better talent to win a lot more.  But even with the same talent, they played better.  They rebounded better.  They played better defense.  They attacked and beat the press better.  The same players played better basketball. 

 

What troubles me about the 2018 Bills after the Bears debacle is that McDermott has had these players for a year and a half, and they aren't playing better, with the exception of the defense.  As others have pointed out, they're taking stupid penalties, just like under Rex.   They have no fire on offense.  They have no innovation.  They just aren't better in any way.   

 

A good coach will make ANY team better.  Any coach can say, well, this team will get better when we get my kind of players, but only a good coach can deliver when he says "give me any poorly coached team and I'll make it better."   If McDermott can't get these guys to play any better than they're playing, that is, if he can't maximize the talents he has, there's no reason to believe he will maximize the talents he'll have next year or the year after.  

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18 hours ago, hmsmystic said:

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.

 

 

because you have 6 other beautiful days to do stuff

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Shaw,  I enjoy reading your post game write-ups and this may be your finest piece.  I don't know what it was about this particular game,  because we have seen plenty of horrible football over the past 18 years,  but the people I watch the game with all had the same reaction......which is, we've  had a enough of this nonsense,  why are watching this.   To add insult to injury, we go home and watch a 4:00 PM game like the Saints vs. Rams and we think to ourselves we will ever be able to compete if this is how the rest of the league is playing the game?  It looks like the Bills are long way off from being able to compete which in the NFL today is......putting up points via the touchdown.

 

Thanks for another great post game write-up.

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14 hours ago, Figster said:

Before the season even started the Bills ranked last in the NFL in what ESPN called QB confidence rating and this was while A J McCarron was still in Buffalo.

 

Needless to say experience matters at the QB position. 

 

Thanks OP for the great read.

It is hard to have confidence in the unproven.

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16 hours ago, TFBillsfan said:

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!

 

BRAVO - BRAVO!!!! 

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21 minutes ago, grog said:

Shaw,  I enjoy reading your post game write-ups and this may be your finest piece.  I don't know what it was about this particular game,  because we have seen plenty of horrible football over the past 18 years,  but the people I watch the game with all had the same reaction......which is, we've  had a enough of this nonsense,  why are watching this.   To add insult to injury, we go home and watch a 4:00 PM game like the Saints vs. Rams and we think to ourselves we will ever be able to compete if this is how the rest of the league is playing the game?  It looks like the Bills are long way off from being able to compete which in the NFL today is......putting up points via the touchdown.

 

Thanks for another great post game write-up.

You're right.  There was something about this game that said HOPELESS.  I'm a big Josh Allen, but even if my wildest positive expectations for Allen are true, this team will still be bad.   Beyond that, today I have troubling imagining what could happen in the the 2019 free agency and draft that could make it better.  

 

Maybe Allen will come back after Thanksgiving, the Bills will sweep the remainder of their schedule, including a dominant win in New England, and I'll feel better. 

 

If that happens, Santa Claus also will arrive at my house with eight reindeer on my roof.  

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43 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

Well, thanks.   Everyone knows I tend not to bash the team, generally because I think people on the inside know a lot more about what's going on and why things are done than any of us does.  So I've been supportive of McDermott.

 

The problem for me is that when good head coaches come into a new situation, the team starts playing better.  They don't necessarily win, but you can see it in how the team carries itself, reacts to adversity, etc.   I remember watching the UConn Huskies when Jim Calhoun arrived.   The team was pretty bad the last season under the previous head coach.  Calhoun came in and with more or less the same players, everything changed.  They still didn't win a lot, but they won more.  They needed better talent to win a lot more.  But even with the same talent, they played better.  They rebounded better.  They played better defense.  They attacked and beat the press better.  The same players played better basketball. 

 

What troubles me about the 2018 Bills after the Bears debacle is that McDermott has had these players for a year and a half, and they aren't playing better, with the exception of the defense.  As others have pointed out, they're taking stupid penalties, just like under Rex.   They have no fire on offense.  They have no innovation.  They just aren't better in any way.   

 

A good coach will make ANY team better.  Any coach can say, well, this team will get better when we get my kind of players, but only a good coach can deliver when he says "give me any poorly coached team and I'll make it better."   If McDermott can't get these guys to play any better than they're playing, that is, if he can't maximize the talents he has, there's no reason to believe he will maximize the talents he'll have next year or the year after.  

 

...From your keyboard to Pegulas eyes!!!!

 

I have lost all hope that this will get any better. I have been a fan for decades and this is the first time that I did not want to even turn a game.

 

Other "bad Bills teams" at least looked like they were trying (most of the time). This team looks like they spend the week at Chuck e Cheese instead of practicing.  :-(

 

Conversely, McDermott has done what ho other Bills HC has been able to do - Help me kick this terrible addiction...  😉

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I appreciate the frustration.  Everyone is frustrated.  However, a HC that took a team that was predicted to be terrible last year to the playoffs does not all of a sudden forget ho to coach in a half season.  When guys like Thomas do what they do, bench them.  Or cut them.  Send a signal.  I'm all for that.  But you don't just forget how to coach.

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17 minutes ago, oldmanfan said:

I appreciate the frustration.  Everyone is frustrated.  However, a HC that took a team that was predicted to be terrible last year to the playoffs does not all of a sudden forget ho to coach in a half season.  When guys like Thomas do what they do, bench them.  Or cut them.  Send a signal.  I'm all for that.  But you don't just forget how to coach.

The problem with this is that getting to the playoffs involves a lot of different things, and it alone is not evidence that the coach is a good coach.  

 

My problem is the other indicia.   The most obvious one, as almost everyone now agrees, is that McDermott thought Peterman was somehow going to be better than Taylor last season and somehow thought Peterman was going to be better than Allen this season.   I think he has some fundamental flaws as a coach if his eyes and his process aren't telling him midseason last year and in September this year that Peterman was NOT the best quarterback on his roster.   That's really bad coaching. 

 

Other indicia like, as I said, failing to have trained Logan Thomas not to take that penalty.   The guy is a marginal player.  Jerry Hughes takes a stupid penalty, you hold your nose and live with it, maybe, because he's giving you something else.   Your second or third tight end is not giving you anything else.  Especially if your mantra is to play smart and disciplined, why have you kept this guy on your team?   Why did you cut O'Leary, who's also marginal, but who plays intelligently with discipline?   

 

Why have you hired two successive offensive coordinators whose offensive style is mired in the past decade, which means that every defense in the league knows how to stop it?   

 

Someone asked McDermott after the game Sunday whether the Bills' struggles are causing him to reevaluate his philosophy.   His answer told me all I needed to hear.   He said something about continuing to work at solid, fundamental football, cleaning up mistakes, etc. was the way to go.  In other words, his philosophy seems to be that it doesn't matter what your offensive or defensive style is, so long as everyone does his job and plays hard.   That's just flat out wrong.   

 

Sunday the Bills did what they always do - try to establish the run.   It was a nightmare.  They can't dominate anyone with the run.  That's been pretty well established.   They threw the ball 39 times on Sunday, and they should have thrown it 50.  The Bills don't do that because they have a 2010 passing game instead of a 2018 passing game.  

 

Maybe McDermott will win in 2019.   What I'm saying is that I'm having trouble seeing how that's going to happen.   If he's a good coach, he should be able to take ANY group of NFL players get them to play better than what we're seeing.   SOME players on the team should be having career years, if he's a good coach.   None are.   Benjamin is underperforming, Holmes is underperforming, McCoy is underperforming, Ivory is underperforming, Hughes is underperforming, Kyle is underperforming.   The safeties are about the only guys on the team who arguably are playing better under McDermott than under their previous coaches.   That's pitiful.  

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9 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

The problem with this is that getting to the playoffs involves a lot of different things, and it alone is not evidence that the coach is a good coach.  

 

My problem is the other indicia.   The most obvious one, as almost everyone now agrees, is that McDermott thought Peterman was somehow going to be better than Taylor last season and somehow thought Peterman was going to be better than Allen this season.   I think he has some fundamental flaws as a coach if his eyes and his process aren't telling him midseason last year and in September this year that Peterman was NOT the best quarterback on his roster.   That's really bad coaching. 

 

Other indicia like, as I said, failing to have trained Logan Thomas not to take that penalty.   The guy is a marginal player.  Jerry Hughes takes a stupid penalty, you hold your nose and live with it, maybe, because he's giving you something else.   Your second or third tight end is not giving you anything else.  Especially if your mantra is to play smart and disciplined, why have you kept this guy on your team?   Why did you cut O'Leary, who's also marginal, but who plays intelligently with discipline?   

 

Why have you hired two successive offensive coordinators whose offensive style is mired in the past decade, which means that every defense in the league knows how to stop it?   

 

Someone asked McDermott after the game Sunday whether the Bills' struggles are causing him to reevaluate his philosophy.   His answer told me all I needed to hear.   He said something about continuing to work at solid, fundamental football, cleaning up mistakes, etc. was the way to go.  In other words, his philosophy seems to be that it doesn't matter what your offensive or defensive style is, so long as everyone does his job and plays hard.   That's just flat out wrong.   

 

Sunday the Bills did what they always do - try to establish the run.   It was a nightmare.  They can't dominate anyone with the run.  That's been pretty well established.   They threw the ball 39 times on Sunday, and they should have thrown it 50.  The Bills don't do that because they have a 2010 passing game instead of a 2018 passing game.  

 

Maybe McDermott will win in 2019.   What I'm saying is that I'm having trouble seeing how that's going to happen.   If he's a good coach, he should be able to take ANY group of NFL players get them to play better than what we're seeing.   SOME players on the team should be having career years, if he's a good coach.   None are.   Benjamin is underperforming, Holmes is underperforming, McCoy is underperforming, Ivory is underperforming, Hughes is underperforming, Kyle is underperforming.   The safeties are about the only guys on the team who arguably are playing better under McDermott than under their previous coaches.   That's pitiful.  

Shaw, as you know I value your opinions highly and we generally are in agreement with most things Bills.  But I will take issue with a couple things here.  First, saying doing your job and playing hard is flat out wrong.  I would point to Belichick.  What is his mantra?  Do your job.  There is nothing wrong with instilling a mindset where you want your players to work hard - that in fact is a basis for success at any vocation. 

 

Now, as to making players play better, Daboll, etc.  I have read several columns from folks around the game more than me who have actually been complementary about what Daboll is trying to do, just that he doesn't have the horses to do what he wants to do.  Yes, that is in part due to decisions made primarily to clear cap space.  But they simply don't have guys that are good enough right now, and while you oftentimes talk about how coaching is so critical in the league (which I agree with) sometime you cannot make up for lack of actual physical talent.  Our WRs as a group don't get the separation they should, and the O line the other day was simply pathetic.  They are slow inside so they don't pull well, and just got beat physically too many times.  Is that coaching, or is it players?  Probably a bit of both, but I'm not sure what coach right now could make, say Vlad Ducasse into a really good NFL lineman.

 

Now, does McD have to do better?  Absolutely.  These wipe out type performances should not happen.  Does the offense need to step up?  Yes, and I think when Allen comes back we will see that - you and I share the view that Allen could be really good for years to come.  Bottom line right now is we're trying to get by with backup QBs, WR's that lack overall talent, and O linemen that also need to step up their game.  Coaching can influence some of that, but is not the sole cause either.

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32 minutes ago, oldmanfan said:

Shaw, as you know I value your opinions highly and we generally are in agreement with most things Bills.  But I will take issue with a couple things here.  First, saying doing your job and playing hard is flat out wrong.  I would point to Belichick.  What is his mantra?  Do your job.  There is nothing wrong with instilling a mindset where you want your players to work hard - that in fact is a basis for success at any vocation. 

 

Now, as to making players play better, Daboll, etc.  I have read several columns from folks around the game more than me who have actually been complementary about what Daboll is trying to do, just that he doesn't have the horses to do what he wants to do.  Yes, that is in part due to decisions made primarily to clear cap space.  But they simply don't have guys that are good enough right now, and while you oftentimes talk about how coaching is so critical in the league (which I agree with) sometime you cannot make up for lack of actual physical talent.  Our WRs as a group don't get the separation they should, and the O line the other day was simply pathetic.  They are slow inside so they don't pull well, and just got beat physically too many times.  Is that coaching, or is it players?  Probably a bit of both, but I'm not sure what coach right now could make, say Vlad Ducasse into a really good NFL lineman.

 

Now, does McD have to do better?  Absolutely.  These wipe out type performances should not happen.  Does the offense need to step up?  Yes, and I think when Allen comes back we will see that - you and I share the view that Allen could be really good for years to come.  Bottom line right now is we're trying to get by with backup QBs, WR's that lack overall talent, and O linemen that also need to step up their game.  Coaching can influence some of that, but is not the sole cause either.

It's interesting to me that you've seen articles praising Daboll.  I don't see it, but maybe the technicians do, and that's good.  

 

And of course, as talent improves some things will get better.  Losing Wood and Incognito hurt, for sure. 

 

But that isn't what I'm talking about.  I'm talking McDermott failing at the stuff he says is at the core of his process.   Things like continual evaluation and training of players to get them to perform.   His evaluation of Peterman when he benched Taylor was clearly wrong.   His evaluation of Peterman when he started him in game 1 this year was clearly wrong.   McDermott failed.   His evaluation was wrong, twice.  That says McDermott isn't doing his job. 

 

I heard somewhere that the Bills have 40 first and second year players on the roster.   That's 40 guys McDermott wanted.  He's obviously cleared out the guys he didn't want.   That means the roster of full of the kind of players that McDermott wants.  Maybe not as talented as he wants, but the kind of guys he wants.   They say they select their players for character.    Okay, if he has a roster full of his kind of guys, and if his mantra is discipline, do your job, play smart, etc., why are the Bills #3 in the league in total penalties against and #2 in the league in total penalty yards against?   (Part of it is that the Bills haven't had their bye yet, but there are a half dozen or more teams who haven't had their bye.)   Why is it that McDermott supposedly has the kind of guys he wants and he hasn't been able to teach them to play disciplined football?  That says McDermott isn't doing his job.  

 

You're telling me that there are a lot of factors and things going on that may explain why the Bills aren't doing well and why they should begin to improve.  I'm telling you that there is a lot of evidence, things that are actually observable, that suggest that McDermott is failing at his job.   McDermott will tell you, he says it all the time, that his job is to put players in postions to succeed.  Practically none of his players is succeeding.  If his job is to put them in positions to succeed and none of them is succeeding, that says to me he isn't doing his job.  

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14 hours ago, Shaw66 said:

I was really upset sitting in the stadium.  It was so disheartening.    It was embarrassing.  I was ready for Nate to do something, for the team to do something and there was - nothing. 

 

I really do think Nate played scared.  He made nice throws, but he only threw it when he was sure.   

 

Among the things that trouble me about McDermott is his faith in Nate.  He just doesn't seem to be up to the NFL.   

 

great fans like you are owed an apology for having to sit there

 

 

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