Changing drapes as the foundation cracks may keep your house standing, but it hasn’t worked yet. Teams need to prioritize issues. Bad quarterbacking dooms a play as soon as the center gives up the ball. Like interviewing Daniel Radcliffe and not asking about Harry Potter, failing to have a good passer is a topic that can’t be avoided. It’s most glaring issue on every bad NFL team no matter how crummy they are at other fundamental needs.
Have the Buffalo Bills found the cure to so many of their ailments? As with Sean McDermott’s hiring, I’m past the point of making a case for any individual and just wait for it to be fixed. A plumber’s job isn’t to explain what he thinks will work: he unclogs the sink and accepts payment. Tyrod Taylor could clear up a lot for a franchise accustomed to murky answers. As one of the quarterbacks he beat starts over in California and then possibly Nevada, fans dream of not having to explain why he’s their guy with qualifications.
I’ll miss what didn’t happen with the aforementioned man who had his job taken by Taylor. The most recent of the countless post-Kelly hopefuls who failed can nonetheless be appreciated, at least as a person. If we’re going to thank a starter who compiled a 6-11 record, it better be someone as decent as EJ Manuel.
The present Raider was a reach for a Buffalo team that needed an immediate starter. He was supposed to get time to develop, which naturally meant he started from day one. A player who needed to grow into the job should have either watched from the sideline or been able to work through rawness on the green. The fact neither happened sums up the Bills.
What’s the proper reaction to challenges? Ask a Buffalo fan. Manuel also knows, even if he caused some of our anguish. He can be admired for what he did after less-than-admirable play. If nothing else, Manuel didn’t pout upon demotion despite obviously feeling frustrated, and he seemed genuinely happy for the team during wins under a different quarterback like a good teammate. Yeah, I’d prefer that his field vision improved enough for him to be competent, too. But this has been a century for finding humanity in difficulty.
Short of outplaying Derek Carr in what would be a greater upset than Super Bowl III, this may finally be Manuel’s chance to develop at a backup. Sure, it’s in his fifth season at age 27, and at this point even the biggest fans of the person are unsure if he’ll ever surprise anyone at quarterback. Manuel didn’t rise to the challenge, but I improbably hope for his sake it just hasn’t happened yet.
Blame the lack of recent pleasant precedent. It works for everything with this club. The dearth of inspiration is just especially pronounced for the game’s most important position. Who’s played well behind center for Buffalo since the Sopranos premiered? The list is as short as Tony’s temper.
Drew Bledsoe brought excitement for a little bit, although New England is presumably happy they stuck with the youngster who replaced him. Buffalo got a good 2006 from J.P. Losman, which made how his career turned out even more infuriating. Generous fans can decide if Ryan Fitzpatrick had any seasons that can be classified as impressive. Outcomes may detract from fearlessness.
Is any team worse? That’s a low standard. Thank the Browns for their perpetual passing carousel, as their ignominious misadventures in football have amused slapstick fans. But the league’s comic relief only look worse by comparison. The Bills have looked bad on their own terms. All fans want is to wear a quarterback’s jersey with pride. The purchase has been a gamble, with the stock price still varying on an investment in Taylor’s uniform. Sports are about fabric’s value.
Continuity isn’t good if it means sticking with what’s failing. But at least we’re not going on a blind date with the quarterback. While fielding the same starter for three consecutive seasons doesn’t guarantee progress, there comes a point where the partner has to be allowed to work through flaws. If you break up with a girl as often as Jerry Seinfeld, it may be time for a new approach.
Constant personnel change is a symptom of a disease. The downside of giving someone a chance is that they may get longer to fail. Still, coaches have to give it a few reps. Taylor gets the benefit of patience with a franchise that ran out of it a decade ago.
Learning from experience gives value to suffering. Not to spoil a movie that’s even older than the playoff drought, but the point of Lola running was to make wiser decisions as she progressed. Please let this be the quarterback who paid close enough attention to avoid what went wrong next time.