The Bills lost another game and now are 7-6. Without any tiebreakers, the Bills look to be missing the playoffs yet again and the drought continues. This year was one of the most talented rosters the Bills have had in a while with a borderline elite defense and a very good group of playmakers on offense. Instead the team stagnated on offense and bad coaching decisions end up costing them a very solid chance of making the playoffs. Who is to blame? Right now there are three people who take the majority of the blame for this.
In Whaley’s first official draft as GM in 2014 (2013 draft he played a big role in) he made the bold move of trading up for Sammy Watkins who was considered a talent up there with AJ Green and Julio Jones. It was a big risk as it cost him next years 1st but with the new ownership coming in, he needed a big splash. He also made some good moves in picking up Preston Brown who has developed into a decent 3-down linebacker and Seantrell Henderson who looks like a permanent answer to the right tackle position. In Free Agency he picked up Corey Graham and Brandon Spikes who both have made big impacts on defense. He has made some misses, Chris Williams looks to be a free agency mistake as he is on IR and Cyrus Kuoandjio who was supposed to be the answer at right tackle but is instead in a redshirt year and looking to change to guard. Overall Whaley has done a great job as GM and has developed a very talented roster (he also got Jerry Hughes).
Saint Doug Marrone-probably should be fired but won’t
Marrone inherited a team that had the talent but lacked the coaching. Last year he went 6-10 but it was a young defense and really good defense. This year with the impending ownership change he was under a lot of pressure to lead this team to the playoffs. He made the bold move after week 4 to bench his 1st round QB with only 14 career starts for a journeyman QB who has been meh his whole career. Initially it looked like it may have paid off as Orton went 3-1 (the defense also stepped up big time) and the Bills were 5-3 and ready to make some noise. Since the bye however that move has backfired and they have gone 2-3 with some truly awful QB play in 4 of those games. Now with the playoffs out of reach, he still stubbornly sticks to struggling Orton despite letting his young QB gain some valuable experience.
His stubbornness is a big hindrace to this team. Early in the year he had Kraig Ubrik stuck on the bench and let the likes of Erik Pears (one of the worst guards in the NFL) start. Also his handling of Mike Williams has been awful, with Williams being the Bills best red zone threat being relegated to the bench. In the Broncos game he again showed he had no clue what was going on when Jerry Hughes was benched and he did not know? His antics and his handling of things makes me believe he should be fired because right now he doesn’t look like the answer. .He is supposed to be an offensive line guru but the line is the worst part of the team. He will get another year though due to his record this year, but he is walking on thin ice.
Nathaniel Hackett-should definitely get fired
Marrone brought his Offensive Coordinator from college along to take the same position, despite Hackett not having much experience as a coordinator and the offense and the offense his first year was a mixed bag of great rushing but lacked a quality passing game. This year with a better receiving corp and 2nd year in the system the offense was supposed to improve as he also got more experience as a coordinator in the NFL. Instead the offense has taken a step back. Last year the offense averaged 338 yards per game, this year 327. Last year the Bills had the #2 rush offense, this year the 25th. The passing offense has improved, but that is due the Bills passing it 35+ times a game. Outside of two scoring outbursts against the Jets, the Bills offense has struggled to even get 20 points a game. A far more talented offense has regressed.
The identity of this offense was supposed to be a no huddle rushing attack that uses its running game to set up play action. The no huddle was gone before the regular season started and the run heavy offense was gone after week 2 and they are lucky to run the ball 20 times in a game now. Some games he uses his playmakers like Sammy Watkins to get guys open then the next game he forgets all about them. He lacks in game adjustments and seems to abandon the run whenever the Bills are down, even by the smallest of margins. Two examples of this are in the Texans and Chiefs games, both games the Bills had success running it and could have won it if they kept on running. Instead Hackett decides to air it out when his QB is struggling and both games ended up losses and are a main reason the Bills are all but eliminated from the playoffs.
Hackett needs to go, Marrone should have not brought his buddy from college along and instead should have got a veteran coordinator or an up and coming assistant coach who is ready to call plays. Instead Marrone went with a guy whose only NFL experience was a quality control coach and it backfired as the offense has gotten worse and is the big reason why the Bills are going to miss the playoffs. If Marrone wants to keep his job, he needs to show some tough love and fire Hackett and bring in a veteran playcaller who needs a job like Chudzinski or get an up and coming assistant coach like Alex Van Pelt. Either way, they need a change because another year of Hackett means another year of no playoffs.