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Phil Villapiano, JJ Watt, and the 2021 Buffalo Bills


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All the speculation about JJ Watt and Richard Sherman potentially joining the Bills makes me think, oddly enough, of Phil Villapiano.

 

Villipiano was never quite a Watt-Sherman caliber player.  But in his prime, he was a Pro Bowler who helped the Raiders win a Super Bowl. 

 

But the Bills didn’t have Villapiano in his prime.  When they traded for him in 1980, he was clearly on the downside of his career.  It was considered a questionable acquisition at the time but Head Coach Chuck Knox wanted someone who could teach the younger players how to win. 

 

Is one player’s ‘locker room presence’ really worth a sizeable contract?   Sam Walker argues in his best-seller, The Captain Class, that the world’s elite sports teams aren’t built by coaches or schemes and don’t necessarily have the very best players.   But what they all have in common is one player whose desire and will-to-win is so intense that it lifts the play of the entire team.  And while I think Walker might overly simplify the matter, I have to admit he makes a compelling case.  

 

Which leaves me of the opinion that the Bills passing attack improved dramatically last year because of Stefon Diggs.  Oh, I’m not talking about the obvious:  127 catches and 1,535 yards.  I’m talking about his love of the grind, his dedication to his craft, his obsessiveness about football.  I’m talking about Diggs watching the Chiefs hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy with his blood freaking boiling.  Daboll has said of Diggs, “He's got juice, he's got fiery competitiveness, he's got swagger -- and I want him to have it because it rubs off on our team.”

 

And that’s why Watt and Sherman intrigue me.  They’re dogs in a street fight.    What used to be an acceptable level of play won’t be acceptable anymore.  McDermott’s culture would reinforce what’s already good in Watts and Sherman and, in turn, they would help take the culture higher. 

 

Villapiano, over-the-hill though he may have been, helped Knox transform the Bills from 2-12 laughingstocks to a playoff team.  Watt and Sherman can help McDermott transform the Bills from a playoff team to a Super Bowl victor. 

Edited by hondo in seattle
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All the speculation about JJ Watt and Richard Sherman potentially joining the Bills makes me think, oddly enough, of Phil Villapiano.   Villipiano was never quite a Watt-Sherman caliber play

Sherman does nothing for the Bills, espceaily if the Bills get Watt, that is all the leadership on defense you need.   Sherman was abused by the Bills this year, he looked his age, very slow

We are out of the decade of fail. I'm not convinced we need to bring a winning mentality from elsewhere. We are on the cusp with our existing players and culture who are making the journey together

We are out of the decade of fail. I'm not convinced we need to bring a winning mentality from elsewhere. We are on the cusp with our existing players and culture who are making the journey together

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2 minutes ago, RoyBatty is alive said:

Sherman does nothing for the Bills, espceaily if the Bills get Watt, that is all the leadership on defense you need.

 

Sherman was abused by the Bills this year, he looked his age, very slow.  I would pass on him big time.

 

2 minutes ago, stuvian said:

We are out of the decade of fail. I'm not convinced we need to bring a winning mentality from elsewhere. We are on the cusp with our existing players and culture who are making the journey together

 

I hear you both.  I don't know how much Sherman - or Watt - have left in the tank.  Nor do I know what their price might be.  But certain players elevate the players around them and you can never have too many guys like that.  

 

13 minutes ago, Seasons1992 said:

"Watt."

 

Brain dysfunction.  Spelled it correctly in the title and then added the 's' in every mention in the body of my post.  Senile dementia doesn't normally occur early in my family but maybe I'm the exception.  

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I think we could really benefit from Watt.  He'd be a difference maker.  

 

On the other hand, I'm fine with Sherman, but he's a depth piece.  He may (I would be on it even) get beat out by Jackson for CB2.  

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42 minutes ago, hondo in seattle said:

 

 

 

Brain dysfunction.  Spelled it correctly in the title and then added the 's' in every mention in the body of my post.  Senile dementia doesn't normally occur early in my family but maybe I'm the exception.  

JJ is no Charlie Watts!

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Much like when the Bills got Chris Spielman. Chris still had gas in the tank and was great leader on that defense. Had his wife not gotten cancer he may have been the piece to get us to the Super Bowl that year. Him quitting football to take care of her tells you all you need to know about the character and leadership we lost.

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I’m not sure Watt brings anymore to the table culturally than what is here. 

 

He definitely isn’t going to teach us how to win. 

 

Its what’s left in his tank is all he could bring. 

34 minutes ago, Buftex said:

JJ is no Charlie Watts!

 

Agree - JJ plays with pizzazz. 

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1 hour ago, stuvian said:

We are out of the decade of fail. I'm not convinced we need to bring a winning mentality from elsewhere. We are on the cusp with our existing players and culture who are making the journey together

Many of our defensive players were downright lousy last year.  Did either Addison Jefferson or Butler do anything that you could even consider being memorable or game changing the entire season?  And you could put Edmunds in there also.  Heck I would say that Klein and Zimmer made more plays then the other 4 just mentioned.  We need upgrades on defense.  That's obvious.  Now do Sherman and Watt upgrade the roster much?  I very much doubt it, especially Sherman.  He is old and slow at this point.  JJ can be a beast.  Just not game in and game out.  Play in and play out. 

 

The culture is great.  We just need better play from our defense.   

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2 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

All the speculation about JJ Watt and Richard Sherman potentially joining the Bills makes me think, oddly enough, of Phil Villapiano.

 

Villipiano was never quite a Watt-Sherman caliber player.  But in his prime, he was a Pro Bowler who helped the Raiders win a Super Bowl. 

 

But the Bills didn’t have Villapiano in his prime.  When they traded for him in 1980, he was clearly on the downside of his career.  It was considered a questionable acquisition at the time but Head Coach Chuck Knox wanted someone who could teach the younger players how to win. 

Ok I get what you are trying to say but 2 things jump out at me:

  1. Villapiano only started 4 games in 4 years in BUF, all in 1981.  he did have a pick vs Jets in Playoffs that year.  Watt will be a 55-60% rotation player in BUF and a key part of the pass rush.
  2. What has JJ Watt  ever won?  Everyone on the 2020 Bills have gone farther in the playoffs than JJ.
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Phil V was one of several vets Know brought in including Isaih Robertson, Conrad Dobler etc. The difference is that this team doesn’t  need any veteran guidance, just need players who can help clear two more hurdles.

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As an army officer I was taught: "Reinforce success."  If something works, pour more effort and resources into it to earn even more success.  

 

One thing working for the Bills is "the process" and the culture that McDermott has been creating.  And, yes, McDermott is building a fine culture without JJ.  But why not reinforce that success by pouring more effort and resources into it?

 

Most people know what kind of guy JJ is.  But as reminder, Romeo Crennel once explained that Watt is "a workaholic...   J.J. wants to be the best, he works to be the best and he doesn’t want anybody to be better than he is...   There are a lot of people with talent and ability that don’t have the drive that’s needed.  J.J. has the drive.”

 

I don't know how many sacks JJ would garner in a Bills uni.  I'm not sure he's as quick and agile as he once was.  But the drive is still there and his drive is elite.  And the cool thing about drive, if the environment is right, it becomes contagious.  McD's Bills have the right environment.  

 

https://texanswire.usatoday.com/2018/11/15/workaholic-texans-j-j-watts-work-ethic/

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3 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

All the speculation about JJ Watt and Richard Sherman potentially joining the Bills makes me think, oddly enough, of Phil Villapiano.

 

Villipiano was never quite a Watt-Sherman caliber player.  But in his prime, he was a Pro Bowler who helped the Raiders win a Super Bowl. 

 

But the Bills didn’t have Villapiano in his prime.  When they traded for him in 1980, he was clearly on the downside of his career.  It was considered a questionable acquisition at the time but Head Coach Chuck Knox wanted someone who could teach the younger players how to win. 

 

Is one player’s ‘locker room presence’ really worth a sizeable contract?   Sam Walker argues in his best-seller, The Captain Class, that the world’s elite sports teams aren’t built by coaches or schemes and don’t necessarily have the very best players.   But what they all have in common is one player whose desire and will-to-win is so intense that it lifts the play of the entire team.  And while I think Walker might overly simplify the matter, I have to admit he makes a compelling case.  

 

Which leaves me of the opinion that the Bills passing attack improved dramatically last year because of Stefon Diggs.  Oh, I’m not talking about the obvious:  127 catches and 1,535 yards.  I’m talking about his love of the grind, his dedication to his craft, his obsessiveness about football.  I’m talking about Diggs watching the Chiefs hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy with his blood freaking boiling.  Daboll has said of Diggs, “He's got juice, he's got fiery competitiveness, he's got swagger -- and I want him to have it because it rubs off on our team.”

 

And that’s why Watt and Sherman intrigue me.  They’re dogs in a street fight.    What used to be an acceptable level of play won’t be acceptable anymore.  McDermott’s culture would reinforce what’s already good in Watts and Sherman and, in turn, they would help take the culture higher. 

 

Villapiano, over-the-hill though he may have been, helped Knox transform the Bills from 2-12 laughingstocks to a playoff team.  Watt and Sherman can help McDermott transform the Bills from a playoff team to a Super Bowl victor. 

 

By all accounts, Diggs is that type of player and was added to an already there Allen who is also that type of player.

10 minutes ago, hondo in seattle said:

As an army officer I was taught: "Reinforce success."  If something works, pour more effort and resources into it to earn even more success.  

 

One thing working for the Bills is "the process" and the culture that McDermott has been creating.  And, yes, McDermott is building a fine culture without JJ.  But why not reinforce that success by pouring more effort and resources into it?

 

Most people know what kind of guy JJ is.  But as reminder, Romeo Crennel once explained that Watt is "a workaholic...   J.J. wants to be the best, he works to be the best and he doesn’t want anybody to be better than he is...   There are a lot of people with talent and ability that don’t have the drive that’s needed.  J.J. has the drive.”

 

I don't know how many sacks JJ would garner in a Bills uni.  I'm not sure he's as quick and agile as he once was.  But the drive is still there and his drive is elite.  And the cool thing about drive, if the environment is right, it becomes contagious.  McD's Bills have the right environment.  

 

https://texanswire.usatoday.com/2018/11/15/workaholic-texans-j-j-watts-work-ethic/

 

Forget sacks, he might be the all time leader in batted balls...they didn't call him JJ Swat for no reason...

 

And that he assuredly will still likely be really good at regardless.

Edited by Big Turk
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12 minutes ago, freddyjj said:

Ok I get what you are trying to say but 2 things jump out at me:

  1. Villapiano only started 4 games in 4 years in BUF, all in 1981.  he did have a pick vs Jets in Playoffs that year.  Watt will be a 55-60% rotation player in BUF and a key part of the pass rush.
  2. What has JJ Watt  ever won?  Everyone on the 2020 Bills have gone farther in the playoffs than JJ.

 

Fair points but I don't think we're looking at this the same way.

 

#1.  Yeah, as a player, Villapiano was a disappointment in terms of on-the-field accomplishment.  And I wasn't in the locker room, on the sideline or the practice field so I don't know for a fact what I'm about to say.  What I suspect is that his work-ethic, his no-holds-barred attitude, and his intolerance of defeat all helped other players get better and play harder.

 

#2.  It's not about winning per se because one player doesn't make a team a winner.  Instead its about the commitment to winning and the drive to be "the very best version of yourself" as McD would say.  JJ has the that drive and it would rub off on anyone on the D who doesn't.  

 

JJ Watt's contribution to the Bills would be more than his sack total.  It would also include how much he elevates the play of the people around him.      

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18 minutes ago, Big Turk said:

 

By all accounts, Diggs is that type of player and was added to an already there Allen who is also that type of player.

 

 

 

Exactly - and that's a key point.  

 

When you have one really super-high-effort player, he may or may not rub off on the other players.  But when you have a core of guys like that (Diggs, Allen, etc.), that core becomes an irresistible force and everyone wants to do their very best.  

 

That's why I was excited when we signed Diggs and why I hope we bring in more guys with that kind of obsessive will to win and desire to excel.  

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4 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

All the speculation about JJ Watt and Richard Sherman potentially joining the Bills makes me think, oddly enough, of Phil Villapiano.

 

Villipiano was never quite a Watt-Sherman caliber player.  But in his prime, he was a Pro Bowler who helped the Raiders win a Super Bowl. 

 

But the Bills didn’t have Villapiano in his prime.  When they traded for him in 1980, he was clearly on the downside of his career.  It was considered a questionable acquisition at the time but Head Coach Chuck Knox wanted someone who could teach the younger players how to win. 

 

Is one player’s ‘locker room presence’ really worth a sizeable contract?   Sam Walker argues in his best-seller, The Captain Class, that the world’s elite sports teams aren’t built by coaches or schemes and don’t necessarily have the very best players.   But what they all have in common is one player whose desire and will-to-win is so intense that it lifts the play of the entire team.  And while I think Walker might overly simplify the matter, I have to admit he makes a compelling case.  

 

Which leaves me of the opinion that the Bills passing attack improved dramatically last year because of Stefon Diggs.  Oh, I’m not talking about the obvious:  127 catches and 1,535 yards.  I’m talking about his love of the grind, his dedication to his craft, his obsessiveness about football.  I’m talking about Diggs watching the Chiefs hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy with his blood freaking boiling.  Daboll has said of Diggs, “He's got juice, he's got fiery competitiveness, he's got swagger -- and I want him to have it because it rubs off on our team.”

 

And that’s why Watt and Sherman intrigue me.  They’re dogs in a street fight.    What used to be an acceptable level of play won’t be acceptable anymore.  McDermott’s culture would reinforce what’s already good in Watts and Sherman and, in turn, they would help take the culture higher. 

 

Villapiano, over-the-hill though he may have been, helped Knox transform the Bills from 2-12 laughingstocks to a playoff team.  Watt and Sherman can help McDermott transform the Bills from a playoff team to a Super Bowl victor. 

Also, Isiah Robertson (LB)who came from the  Rams!

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