Mr. Pegula, we Bills fans are overjoyed that you purchased our favorite team and that, as a result, we will have an NFL team in our city for a long time to come. Please understand that we hold nothing but gratitude for you.
That being said, we are also going to need you to step up this offseason and be a real man. Men have egos, they have their pride, and they have their innate stubbornness and a refusal to admit error. Real men know when they make a mistake and they correct it and try to learn from it. One can only assume that a self-made billionaire knows when to back down from a bad position. This team is in a bad position right now and it is entirely due to an entirely understandable, but no less egregious, error on your part.
Rex Ryan is a big, splashy hire with a family name and a reputation for bluster and noise with little substance. Everyone who pays attention to the sport knows why anyone would want to hire him. He’s personable, likeable, and a walking reel of quotes that the sports media loves. He is an attention magnet who was probably a major reason why the team set a record for season ticket sales this year. More to the point, Ryan has a reputation for hard nose defensive football that made him seem like an ideal fit for our team, whose strength so clearly was on defense. What everyone failed to consider was that Rex Ryan is just a human being, a man with an ego and pride like any other. In fact, given his profession, it stands to reason that his ego and pride are greater than the average, because NFL head coaches are not typically meek individuals. And it was his pride and ego that lead to the downfall of this team and particularly the downfall of what was an elite defense just 12 months ago.
Rex Ryan inherited a team in New York that had a very talented group of defensive players, but lacked a true, premier edge rusher. To his credit, he devised a scheme that made use of his players very well, with disguised blitzes and coverages designed to confuse opposing quarterbacks and put pressure on them from unexpected players and directions. And it worked very well, for a time. When he came to Buffalo, he also inherited a very talented group of defensive players, but these players had different strengths. Rather than mold a scheme around the players he had available, Ryan’s ego dictated that he could make his scheme work with any players. And so he implemented his disguised blitzes and false coverages and, in the process, totally underutilized the skillsets of his players. He has something in the Buffalo defensive line that he’s never had before, premier edge rushing talent on both sides and a pair of all pro defensive tackles who have real pass rushing abilities. The scheme does not fit the people, but ego and pride dictate that he could make them so do. He took what was not broken and tried to make it better and when it did not work, he failed to adjust his scheme and play calling. He has taken a roster overloaded with talent and taken it backwards, not just a step or two, but giant leaps backwards.
Speaking of the Bills’ talented roster, I sincerely hope that Doug Whaley does not become the sacrificial lamb on the altar of NFL failure. He, like all general managers, has a couple misses on his drafting resume, but his hits have been outstanding and he deserves full credit for assembling the best roster Buffalo has seen in 20 years. The man does not deserve to be fired for doing a fine job just to make it look as though action is being taken this offseason. Fire the man who is responsible for wasting an exceptional team and a soft schedule.
And so I ask you, please demonstrate to us, your fans, that you know when to abandon a poor decision. Show us that you, unlike Rex Ryan, are a real man who can admit error, learn from it, and improve because of it. Because until you do, there is at least one Bills fan who no longer Billieves.