Where are the Leaders?

<P> One thing conspicuously absent from Sunday's game was a leader. Sure, the Bills had some tenacious play on defense and a handful of solidly executed offensive plays. But where are the "Ray Lewis" and "Brett Favre" type of emotional and inspirational leaders?

Some of the most veteran and marquee players on the team yesterday cost the team more down the stretch than they helped the team via youthful mistakes. Some of this can get chalked up to coaching, but much of it falls back into common sense. Showboating does nothing to aid in winning. But hey, that's what this is all about, right Mr. Donahoe? Jersey sales, having player to send to the Pro Bowl, highlight reels, etc.

A fourth down pass which should have been knocked down by Nate Clements and which would have resulted in game over, kept the Jags in this one.

On first-and-ten at the Bills 21 London Fletcher kicks the ball giving the Jags a precious five yards within the red zone and providing them with a much less stressful 1st-and-5 instead of 10.

Sam Adams jumping offsides in the first quarter on 3rd-and-4 giving the Jags a first down.

London Fletcher's pass interference setting up the Jags second field goal because he can't cover. Not that it is his fault, but, and being completely honest here, he is simply too short. But this is not a good weakness for a MLB. One of my season predictions is that his inability to cover would cost us two games this season. He certainly contributed in this one.

Eric Moulds illegal motion on 2nd-and-8 with the Bills trailing by 1.

Pat Williams offsides on 2nd-and-10 fortunately being offset by an unrelated Jag penalty.

A holding penalty by Chris Villarrial on 3rd-and-2 at the Jag 25 pushing the Bills out of Mularkey's comfort zone with Lindell's range. I suppose fans should simply be enthused that the team ran on 3rd-and-2 and didn't throw the way it had on two prior 3rd's-and-1.

On the first play of "the drive," Takeo Spikes celebrates after a tackle of the rookie WR Reggie Williams knocking his helmet off on 1st-and-10 and after gaining 2 yards. Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful hit, but come on, it wasn't the play of the game by any stretch.

These are all veteran and high profile players committing very egregious performance mistakes.

Meanwhile, where were all the sacks? The Bills threw the book at the Jags with all sorts of odd and lopsided alignments and five and six man pass rushes. Yet, they were only able to amass 2 sacks for 5 yards against a passing game with standouts such as 35-year-old and well past prime Jimmy Smith as their primary target with their first string TE out due to injury, and a completely nameless collection of receiving talent otherwise, all being led by a QB who had that "deer in the headlights" look for 3 quarters! George Wighster??? Ernest Wilford, a rookie in his first game, ever???

Methinks the Bills wasted a draft pick on Lee Evans. If any rookie should have made a big play in the passing department it should have been the one that the Bills front office insisted would bring the "missing dimension" of offense to the Bills. Instead, the 4th rounder made a bigger impact in one game, no, one catch, than Lee Evans is currently showing he'll make all season long. Again, conventional wisdom paints a perfectly clear picture that rookie wide receivers rarely make the kind of impact promised by Donahoe & Co. Yet, Donahoe knows better as he continues to buck the trends of conventional football wisdom, common sense, and reason.

On the opposite side, fans and some media are already raving at the "lack of sacks" for the Bills' offense when the Jags could not have thrown a more "vanilla" pass rush at the Bills on Sunday. For 85-90% of the time it was a straight four man pass rush with no stunts.

The rookies and second year Jaguars' players came up with bigger games than all of the players on the Bills collectively and who are getting paid the big bucks to do the same.

No, this is not good.

But where are the leaders? Where are the players on offense showing disgust at the fact that the offense can't score unless, and as if they're learning, the ball is placed inside the red zone and then only if the D blows a coverage? Where is the outrage by a player at the completely lackluster performance of the offense only able to score on drives of 18 and negative 4 yards with a field goal? Where are the players vocalizing their disgust and looking as if they're mortified at these things instead of patting their "all star" QB on the back telling him he's playing well?

Thus far none have stepped up. I know where one of them is. He's currently playing LG for the Chicago Bears!

But Tom Donahoe, in his infinite wisdom, put the lid on that situation last season and post haste. Brown was the lone player who expressed a dissatisfaction with losing and utterly lackluster offensive performances. No sir! This franchise won't stand for this type of behavior. Everyone must drink the kool-aid and admit that Drew is headed for the Pro Bowl with his plaque right under Montana's!

We This franchise won't tolerate players or others within the organization who dare criticize or otherwise express disgust at a team that is self-imploding offensively largely as a result of its insistence on sticking with a QB who has terminal issues and the field vision and awareness of someone looking through a kaleidoscope. So fans shouldn't expect anyone to stand up and become the type of leader that this team needs anytime soon lest they forget the lesson that Tom Donahoe in his "save the postage" mentality brought down on Brown last season. Any such behavior may very likely result in being promptly waived at season's end.

In fact, like "bat night" at the ball park, I'm still waiting for "rose colored glasses day" at the Ralph! With little pictures of Tom Donahoe ala Mickey Mouse on the corners for the kids. Certainly the front office's media component has turned into nothing better than a smoke blowing machine.

As to Bledsoe, they have trained him well. He routinely appears to be getting rid of the ball quicker. The problem, at least as we saw it, and not unpredictably, unfold yesterday is that he'll look to his first perhaps second option and then get rid of it one way or another often missing tertiary targets for much bigger gains or even scores. Once again, and with the Bills braintrust loath to learn from a wealth of examples, this is just what Brady brought to the Patriots that Bledsoe was lacking. It is also something that cannot be coached/programmed into someone's head. A person either has this awareness or does not. I do not think there is any argument in this case.

Just as I predicted so easily, the better pass defenses are going to see through this with ease. It will all begin with the New England game in three weeks and then other teams will have a game tape on how to, once again…..Y-A-W-N….defend against the "new and improved" Bledsoe-led offense designed around a power running game which has yet to make an appearance in five games this season. Alas, thus far the new model makes fewer errors but cannot even improve on the point totals other than pro football's version of "T-Ball" with the ball being placed inside the opponent's red zone. Come on Johnny, see if you can do it this time!

Same old, same old. The big difference, fewer sacks, although it is even too early to judge that given the Jaguars pathetic four man pass rush throughout the game. Quite frankly, the Jags pass rush could absolutely not have been more vanilla without them using the same exact defensive play throughout the game. This week vs. the Raiders, Bills fans can expect some interceptions against a much quicker and skilled Raider secondary and pass defense. And just imagine what some varying looks other than a simple four-man pass rush will do to the 12-year veteran robot with a built in set of blinders.

Again however, the question stands. Where are the on-field leaders of this current Bills squad? Usually the QB is a candidate, but words only go so far after a while when they are not accompanied by performance. On D? Takeo? London? Nate? Big Pat? Sam? Have the players all learned the lessons from Brown? Have the Lessons of Former Teacher Tom Donahoe Stifled Leadership? I hope not. Jonas Jennings is a free agent at the end of the season. Perhaps he'll have to bite the bullet!

For those thinking it cannot get worse, hurry, I have some land to sell you on the gulf coast!

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net


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