Fine. Just win games. The new coach can use any players, philosophy, and approach to clock management he’d like. We’re past the point of rooting for specifics that might work. Personal preference is as irrelevant as Rob Ryan’s track record.
It might seem lazy and shallow to tell the latest coach to fix it. But that’s why he’s getting paid handsomely. Volunteers who merely root don’t need to come up with a plan. Please let this team have finally hired the guy with smooth ideas that translate into effective action.
Sean McDermott is in charge of making our dreams come true. He’s not the first from his college to try: like the first Buffalo Bills coach Buster Ramsey, he’s a William & Mary man. Now he tries to top Mark Kelso as the top former Tribe safety presently connected to this franchise. And you thought Clemson was having a good football year.
The Bills didn’t hire the actor or soccer goalie named Sean McDermott, so that’s a good start. It’s always good to get the employee you want. Management can use this as an example of competence. Now, we can only watch the clock and speculate. Would you like to spend eight months getting ahead of yourself? You’re out of luck if you don’t.
Unrealistic hopes will be balanced with crippling fears until summer vacation ends. Wanting McDermott to succeed will be balanced by natural suspicions about his ability. There’s a good part of the year to go before we can see if the Bills broke with tradition and hired a competent coach. Waiting forever is part of football, especially for fans of this special team.
Noise gets exhausting without melody. We can only postulate about a coach who will be 0-0 until the next school year starts. He’s already trying to get it done more quietly than his predecessor, who in fact didn’t get it done at all. Noisy promises remain unfulfilled. It’s tough to let actions speak when they won’t be heard until September, so at least the new guy is disciplined.
A simpler alignment could help produce the clamor we enjoy. The incumbent is fond of the 4-3, which means a switch back to a system they should’ve never left. Rex Ryan’s Crystal Pepsi defense was a gimmick that failed on its own and as a marketing strategy.
While fans are more interested in results than the particulars of how they’re achieved, it’s clear 2016’s defense was missing more than a lineman. A more straightforward approach will be a welcome relief compared to last year’s layered confusion.
Player turnover will be even higher than usual because of the new approach. From a personnel standpoint, another new philosophy means getting some rangier linebackers, which is another item for the endless to-do list. But the only thing worse is sticking with doesn’t work.
The Bills have had continuity all century in their way. The regular pattern of replacing coaches doesn’t rise to the level of comforting predictability. Mediocre leaders have caused as much pain as underwhelming drafts. Have fun deciding for yourself which has inflicted more agony.
Either way, the one thing worse than frequent turnover is sticking with what isn’t working. While change is naturally chaotic, avoiding it means getting comfortable in a rut. McDermott may or may not alter destiny. But there’s a greater chance it will happen than in an alternative universe where fans are waiting for Ryan to instill discipline in year three. Earth-Two isn’t always the lucky planet.
A turnaround may come too late to refresh memories. It’s hard to remember what a good coach is like. None of the place-holders since the drought began would be happy with you looking up respective winning percentages. Style hasn’t mattered: both experienced bosses and fresh new faces with varying strategies share the common thread of not winning. Yes, the new guy is a different person. But he’s hired by the same team. It’s McDermott’s job to prove he won’t hurt us like the others. If we seem like damaged goods, check our relationship history.
While the future is again even more mysterious than usual, refusing to switch would only bring certainty in despondency. Even Russ Brandon could see two years of Ryanomics weren’t paying off. The return on investment has been even more meager than usual. Frustrated fans wish they were just hemorrhaging cash.
McDermott’s simple and tough job is to break the pattern. His fondness for relatively muted tones is already a nice change of pace. But a different personality isn’t enough. We don’t want to be wondering what failed after the 2018 season. The Pegulas hired someone who’s more like, well, the Pegulas. They got meek results from the attempt to go bold. Now, let’s see if piping down while working changes anything.