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Buffalo Bills Try Another Reverse With Brandon Beane

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Typically, a coach doesn’t pick a general manager.  The hiring process is actually usually in the reverse, at least according to my notes.  The Buffalo Bills may have just tried the novel way.  And why not? Conventional approaches haven’t worked since the Seinfeld finale.  Fellow former Carolina Panther employee Brandon Beane knows how Sean McDermott works, so comfort’s not a problem.

Getting the band back together is a sign McDermott gets what he wants.  I’m guessing the team wouldn’t hire someone the coach disliked working with at his last gig. Even if he didn’t get final approval, a good word from the club’s true boss already counts for a lot.

I hope the owners checked with the rookie who’s leading like a veteran before making the final call.  McDermott is quiet about growing authority, which is the precise opposite of the last guy.  He can’t prove it’s working yet.  But at least the change of pace is refreshing.

Photo from democratandchronicle.com.

The coach gets a GM he can work with instead of simply bypassing.  It would reinforce the hierarchy established at the draft.  Handing over this much authority is acceptable if it’s the right dude.

Did the Pegulas make the right call for a change?  This perpetually troubled franchise has tried every other style and failed, so they may as well let the intense new coach work along with a promising young manager on personnel moves.  After drafting who he wanted, McDermott is ready to work with Beane. The even newer guy presumably knows who’s in charge.

Franchises win football games in the spring even if the USFL hasn’t played in decades.  A high turnover rate now could lower the fumble rate during the season.

Beane is on board with a refreshing mentality.  The plan is for new character to replace no character.  As seen the last two seasons, being loud is a poor substitute.  By contrast, I had to play a video to remember what McDermott’s voice sounds like even though he’s been serving as the public persona.  Even when talking, he seems focused on action.

An astounding spectrum of personalities has produced similarly glum results.  Six straight full-time head coaches have created sadness, and that’s generously not including Wade Phillips.  It’s hard to be productive while miserable unless you’re Robert Smith.

Beane and McDermott’s primary job is pumping in new atmosphere. The toxic environment has made the Bills sick well into the 21st century.  Trying to win while coping with negativity is like working in Oakland’s ticket office: you try putting on a brave face when you know how hopelessly the day will go.

Good ingredients can be wasted by a bad chef.  Erstwhile Pizza Hut spokesperson Rex Ryan was the Little Caesars of coaches, as he couldn’t get players to go somewhere useful or avoid committing penalties once they got there.

Concurrently, Doug Whaley seemed like he could do nothing but watch as the roster he assembled fizzled.  There’s nothing more frustrating or more Buffalo than talented players who don’t maximize it.  Let’s change stereotypes starting now.

Photo from sportingnews.com.

This franchise could’ve at least gotten a bargain on mediocrity.  Instead, they’ve coped with Malt-O-Meal quality at name brand prices.  As someone who worked his way up from an internship to learning personnel, Beane could be adept at smart shopping.

Luring assistance is tough while brushing against the salary ceiling.  Like it or not, the league has what’s supposed to be a limit on being too successful.  Someone tell the Patriots.  By brutal contrast, the Bills invested fortunes to maintain a lock on third place.  Cap man Jim Overdorf will supposedly have his fate decided by Beane, who should have the record of deals in mind.

Like checking the parachute after jumping, boldness isn’t a virtue in and of itself.  Ryan won’t admit that provocation for the sake of it is foolish.  That means there’s no reason to check him out on ESPN where he’s now working in lieu of coaching.

Betting big might not bring victory.  Michael Scott going all in on Casino Night was an imprudent large wager that just meant losing more quickly.   Take an audacious draft move by the last regime that might just not work.  A declined option shows this team remains unsure if Sammy Watkins will return on a massive investment.

Photo from syracuse.com.

Waiting to see if Doug Whaley’s signature move was crazily amazing or just plain crazy shows coping with what the last guy did is just part of the job.  Beane knows he hasn’t inherited a perfect situation, which makes his willingness to take it on even more impressive.

This may take awhile.  I know that’s the team motto.  But genuine reconstruction is incremental.  Grand gestures don’t necessarily pay off and can in fact indicate a lack of patient planning.  As with Downtown Buffalo’s gradual transition from ghost town to party central, improvement comes with gradually implementing a broad vision.  A magic bullet usually misses multiple targets.

Coach got the general manager off to a good start. The Bills addressed needs at the draft with guys they wanted.  Without a chance to show this is finally the edition that can win games, remaking the roster will have to count.  At least Beane won’t be bored.


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Anthony Bialy

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy lives in New York City and acts like he's still in Buffalo. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He knows every bodega in Manhattan which sells Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

17 thoughts on “Buffalo Bills Try Another Reverse With Brandon Beane

  1. Thanks for the new article Anthony! Whaley seemed like a scout when selecting player’s in the draft by going with the best value on the board, instead of having a plan/vision, such as build a team that can win the division. The shotgun blast approach has not been working in Buffalo for years. The team needs to build a foundation first, then build the rest building afterwards. Getting a solid pass protecting O-line to go along with a good QB is that foundation on offense. On defense, the Bills need to build a team that can get consistent pressure on Brady and have defenders jam the Patriots receivers at the line of scrimmage to throw off the Patriots short-passing game.

    It seems now the Bills have a plan/vision with McDermott/Beane in charge. We’ll see if they’re able to execute that plan and how well of a plan/vision it really is.

  2. I was good enough with McD when he was hired as the coach, although I liked the thought of him a lot more when he was supposedly bringing Mike McCoy in with him as OC…which he couldn’t even deliver on that. But I lost all faith when they decided to hand the franchise over to him without proving he’s even a mediocre head coach…and then he failed his second test (McCoy being the first) when he decided he was going to be the same ‘throw draft picks away to move up a few spots’ guy as Whaley was. Wait, that was probably actually the third test. The second was talking the Pegluelesses into going all-in for what’s sure to be a disappointing season. I thought that was Whaley’s doing and last ditch effort to save his job, but clearly that wasn’t the case. Now they’re bringing in McD’s ‘yes men’ buddies. This is bound to be a winning decision!

    “Whaley seemed like a scout when selecting player’s in the draft by going with the best value on the board, instead of having a plan/vision, such as build a team that can win the division.”

    I don’t agree. With Marrone maybe, but under Wrecks, he seemed to be drafting, if not straight up the guys coach wanted, then at least the ‘type’ of guys he wanted. I really don’t know what to think of Whaley. I don’t think he ever had enough power to really say whether he would have been capable of doing the job well, but he was reckless with draft picks so based on that alone, he probably shouldn’t have the authority to run a draft.

    • Whaley was reckless with the picks, but I actually liked what McD did this year. I liked that he gained extra picks, especially a 2018 first rounder as he traded back with the Chefs. I didn’t mind the trades in the second round as McD chose players who were highly successful in college. The Bills needed a WR and a OT and they addressed (on paper) both positions. I do agree it’s odd to hire a HC first, then a GM. Right now, it doesn’t bother me. It will bother me if the Bills stay at their same mediocre state of 6-10 thru 9-7 and not improve to be an actual playoff team (not playoff caliber!)

      Anello,

      I’m not excited for the Oilers. They won their cups in the 80’s and the league has done everything to make them a powerhouse again by winning several draft lotteries. How about throwing the Sabres a bone and let them win one of the lotteries? The WNY needs a major championship after how depressed both sports teams have been.

  3. Joma- I don’t understand your “all-in” reference, is that because they traded up to get a few guys? I think trading down from their # 1 round guy to get a # 1 pick next year is more likely saying that they will give Tyrod 1 more year to prove himself, otherwise they have the ammunition to move up in the draft next year to get one of the best QB’s in the draft. The trading of the # 1 pick also gave them the ability to move around in this year’s draft because they had more draft picks, which were limited (6) on day 1. If you know someone directly in front of you needs the same position player, and it’s obvious who the best on the board is at that position, is it really making a mistake? I don’t see it that way.

  4. Maybe McD should have helped pick a GM he didn’t know and didn’t share the same philosophy?
    These guys are the new wave and they each have the track record to prove that they deserve a shot at their new jobs. I am encouraged by the refreshing change where for too many years Bills GMs and coaches have not been aligned in philosophy, roster or plan for success.
    Beane seems to offer a character first approach which needs to do more than scratch the surface and offer lip service like our character coaches of the past. McBean needs to dig deep in a way made famous by Theo Epstein (who is definitely character first). Adding in a dash of analytics won’t hurt either.
    In hindsight the only clueless thing the Pegulas have done was to offer an extension to Doug Whaley.

  5. Off Topic-
    Congrats to the Edmonton Oiled, who are playing a game 7 for a chance to go to their conference finals after finishing near the bottom last season. Thanks to Gary Bettman they won the draft “lottery” and the right to pick Connor McDavid. I am so happy for them.

  6. “Maybe McD should have helped pick a GM he didn’t know and didn’t share the same philosophy?”

    Or maybe they should have hired a GM and had him hire the coach…instead of making the nobody coach the GM and have him hire an gopher assistant.

    “for too many years Bills GMs and coaches have not been aligned in philosophy”

    That’s because they haven’t had a traditional GM since Donahoe. And they still don’t because the coach is running the show.

  7. “I liked that he gained extra picks, especially a 2018 first rounder as he traded back with the Chefs. I didn’t mind the trades in the second round as McD chose players who were highly successful in college.”

    They didn’t gain picks…they traded them away. They still have the 1st rounder next year for now, but they gave away two picks in a deep draft to move up while they gained one pick this year and one next year. Anyhow, Ragland was great college player too…now look. Missed his entire rookie year, and might not fit the new system they run, if he can even come back at full strength…not to mention it cost them the chance to draft Dak Prescott, who it looks like they very well may have taken since they took a QB with their pick a couple spots later and they were said to be high on him. What they gave up to move up for Ragland was a pick ahead of the Cowboys in that round. All I can say is at least one of these two guys better be a probowl caliber player and the other a solid starter… Unless you’re getting damn near a sure thing or maybe a QB, it’s stupid to trade away picks as the guys you give up the right to draft have just as good of a chance to pan out. Sammy was supposed to be a sure thing, too…

  8. Good morning…

    Ah Joma Mr. Gloom & Doom… But I have to admit that I do have some reservations about McD wielding so much power this early in his career. Now with Beane on board McD can concentrate on coaching.

    Hell the Bills have been trying so many ways to build a winner with no success being out of the playoffs since “99” is embarrassing… I am using playoffs as that would be a start to get this team over the hump. It has been so long I forget the euphoric feeling of watching a 1 and done scenario… Same goes for the Sabres (another new GM).

    Can this set-up work –it has to work PERIOD !!

    The NBA season has become irrelevant as teams rest star players through-out the season just to get ready for the playoffs. Very smart but if you paid top dollar to see a star play and they were rested it would be disappointing… Barely following what is going on as it seems like it will be the Warriors and Cavs again.

    LeBron can certainly be argued as the best ever.

  9. “Joma- I don’t understand your “all-in” reference,”

    By all-in, I mean them doing their damnedest for what’s very likely to be their typical sub-mediocre season instead of just letting the dreadful season happen and going for the franchise QB next year…ie, bringing back Kyle, bringing back Tyrod, etc. They’re starting over everywhere EXCEPT the roster even though they’re not close to contending. Why are they fighting it? Why are their hopes and dreams that of sneaking a wild card spot instead of championships? They’d be so much better off just letting it happen and setting themselves up for a bright future. But no…let’s keep the train of almost average running full steam ahead. Maybe when Peglueless fires everyone in another two years they’ll finally rebuild this crap pile instead of hoping it firms up just enough to stack up to a playoff appearance.

  10. Steve- Apparently the sarcasm in the post about the Edmonton Oiled was not clear enough. How the NHL can continue with this draft “lottery” scam i do not understand.
    Could you imagine if the NFL awarded draft pick position based on winning a so called back room lottery? Screw the Oiled and Bettman!

  11. Good morning…

    I never want the team to stink on purpose or try not to continue to build upon what they have… To just go all out and get rid of good players for the hope that they get a franchise QB to build around just doesn’t sit well with me… Plus, you could have the 1st pick in the draft and the QB could turn out to be a dud which has happened..

    They might go 3-13 this year or 11-5, you never know until the season is on the way. They have to be competitive and always build off of that –someday they will be contenders again…

  12. Goose, by not stinking, it’s resulted in 17 years of almost average. I’ll take one or two terrible years over several half ass years. At least the one or two terrible ones can result in many good ones. Otherwise it comes down to luck and the Bills don’t have anything good when it comes to luck.

  13. joma, they have “not stunk” in the worst way possible- draft picks absolutely suck and provide nothing to build on and splashy free agent signings are just enough to keep them somewhat interesting and often entertaining. free àgents quickly live out their usefulness and you are left with no other choice but to sign more free agents because their drafting and coaching development are the worst in the league. a team can build into a contender as long as they commit to the draft, build and retain them in their consistent system and only use free agents sparingly as gap fillers. sounds like the approach they have now, which they have to execute.

  14. “because their drafting and coaching development are the worst in the league”

    Depends on your definition of worst…they aren’t/weren’t the worst at it because their team’s have been almost competitive every year…but if by worst you mean that it results in 7-9 and that’s the worst possible spot you can be as a franchise, then I agree entirely. And that’s my complaint, if they’re going to be kind of bad, then flat out suck so there’s at least a decent chance of serious improvement. A team’s goal should be doing everything they can to get better to ultimately reach a championship. If you’re bad, sometimes the best thing you can do to improve is be terrible. And the idiot Bills haven’t even attempted a rebuild since the very start of the drought, and that’s largely why they’ve been stuck in neutral the whole time. They were presented a golden opportunity to rebuild by cleaning house and a seemingly strong QB class and they’re instead they’re choosing the same path they have all along. That 6-10 or 7-9 record is going to be real worthwhile, though!

  15. Good morning…

    The problem with the Bills being 7-9, 6-10 or 8-8 is that they never turn the corner to getting over the hump… The management blunders, coaching and the wrong players have kept the Bills in limbo for way to many years…

    If they bottom out in the effort to being good so be it but to tank a couple of seasons just to try an improve draft positions and hopefully get a star QB that wouldn’t sit right with the fans.

    GM “Judge Roy Beane” said the QB position is open for competition…

    Bills hire an asst. Gm and a VP of player personnel.
    http://billsdaily.com/

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