Donahoe and Bills must move into reality Pt. 2

Many prefer to assess the blame this season to the offensive line and while I agree that it did not start off the way it finished last season, it certainly has improved as the season has gone on and is not nearly the issue that the media makes it out to be.

As a case in point, again, I defer to last season where the offensive line was decent at the onset of the season and had improved dramatically by season's end, yet Bledsoe's numbers grew inversely worse. So while the offensive line improved in spades last season throughout the season, Bledsoe's passing successes went in the opposite direction completely and utterly refuting any notions that a better offensive line would improve Bledsoe's numbers.

Yet, Bledsoe fans will take that notion to the grave with them as they insist on keeping Drew here in Buffalo.

Additionally, while the traditional "media defense" in favor of Bledsoe's sub-average performances has largely been the offensive line. Well, there is hardly a team in the league that could not stand to benefit from better blocking for their QB and certainly even fewer that could not stand an upgrade at one or two OL positions.

The Bills line is not playing so poorly as to justify such shoddy play from whomever it is that lines up under center. In fact, numerous quarterbacks with even fewer "tools/weapons" are outperforming Bledsoe with similar or worse offensive lines and no running back the caliber of Travis Henry. So this argument can only be taken seriously for so long.

The yardage and other totals between the last ten of last season and the first ten of this are not much different either. Over the last ten games of last season, the Bills ran the ball 252 times.

Over the first ten this season they've run 255 times. Last ten last season, the Bills had 394 designed passing plays. First ten this season they have had 354 passing plays. The mantra by critics last season was that the Bills passed the ball too much. Well, of the last ten of last season the Bills dropped back to throw 61% of the time. Over the first ten of this season they have dropped back to throw 58% of the time for a paltry 3% difference.

There is no reason to hammer on Gilbride though as he is all but gone if the fans have their way and with long time buddy, friend, and former employer Donahoe being all that stands in the way of Gilbride's firing and an obvious conflict of interests with team welfare and personal credibility.

Other offensive measures from the last ten games of last season to the first ten of this season are:

? A reduction in sacks allowed from 33 to 30 thereby vindicating the offensive line in large measure unless of course Bledsoe has gotten more "fleet of foot" from last season to this, a very unlikely occurrence. Besides, anyone with the slightest degree of objectivity who has watched Bills games here realizes why Bledsoe is getting sacked and more times than not it is not the offensive line but rather his inability to throw the ball away or take even the slightest evasive action.

Deja vu.

At least RJ could run, the fact that it was usually into the arms of an awaiting linebacker not withstanding.

? A 12.2% drop in passing yardage albeit in conjunction with a 10.2% drop in attempts.

? Only a 7.5 yard-per-game drop in average rushing yardage but without Henry in two games and banged up in some others.

? Both red zone touchdown efficiency and overall red zone efficiency have both improved by approximately 10%. The issue this season is in getting into the red zone, something that Bledsoe supposedly specializes in with his "strong arm."

Why do I point all this out?

The answer to that is a very simple one. I, just like all true Bills fans, would like to see this team succeed. My goal is not to have as many marquee players at high salaries to lead the league in jersey and paraphernalia sales, but rather to very simply win games. I have never even owned a jersey or other piece of Bills paraphernalia with a particular player's name on it. I do have a plethora of Bills clothing items and other gee-gaws and trinkets with the team name on them.

Frankly, I don't care who gets the job done. I don't care whether those players make the pro bowl or whether no one on the team does as long as we field a competitive team as 22 team players, special teams, and coaching staff.

Yet, at present, the perceptions as presented are hindering the team's braintrust from recognizing what is really wrong with this team and stopping fans from putting necessary pressure on the team's front office that will force them to make the required changes.

We have turned from a team oriented team to one where several "marquee" individuals have become bigger than the team!

How do we fix this in the offseason?

I will write more on that in the weeks ahead as the time approaches, but let's just say that Price's departure meant far less than most realize and we do not need to sink big bucks into a "speedy receiver."

In fact the receiving corps that the Bills currently have will suffice nicely for at least another season. To testify as to the notion that Price was more a product of a pass-happy environment rather than a reason for it, all one needs to do is to look at Price's numbers this season. He has posted only four games over 40 yards, only three over 50, and has only one 100-yard game and only two touchdowns. He, as a starting number one receiver, is on pace for fewer than 900 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. He is not nearly as good as he thinks he is nor as good as critics who suggest that the Bills miss him think he is. So this notion that we are missing such a receiver is simply unfounded.

What the Bills are missing is a quarterback who does not lock onto to one receiver, a Bledsoe tradition, one who sees the entire field, and one who evaluates and assesses defenses much more accurately and quickly.

Oh yeah, and one who can beat a 9-year old in a foot race too.

Some suggest that the issues really stem from the offensive line. While this would be somewhat true regardless of which quarterback would be starting, the truth of the matter is that there was precious little increase, if an increase at all, in performance behind an offensive line that was performing better towards the end of last season. So to even suggest that the offensive line is the primary factor in assessing the poor play of the offense is to defer blame from where it most needs to fall.

To correct the team's issues Donahoe and the Bills braintrust will need to get out of the perceptions and into the realities of what ails the team.

The problem is that Donahoe is the self-imposed guardian of many of those perceptions considering that the reason that they are perceived this way is due to his own personnel moves and accompanying team propaganda. If Bledsoe fails, then this rubs off poorly on Donahoe whose moves are increasingly coming under greater and greater scrutiny by fans suggesting that all that's wrong is not purely coaching.

Questionable player acquisitions are being challenged by fans and media, especially considering the salaries paid aging veterans and in Bledsoe's case significant draft picks traded away.

So there exists more-or-less a conflict of interests in making the necessary corrections to move this team forward.

Tomorrow, The final Part 3 of this series will be avaiable, please stay tuned.


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories