"New Attitude" Bills Risky!

Recent comments by Drew Bledsoe seemingly lashing out at critics coupled with rookie head coach Mike Mularkey's statements that the play of the offensive line is really not that bad seem to have the fans in a stir these days. One thing is for certain, this approach is about as risky as anyone could have come up with. Do Tom Donahoe, Mike Mularkey, Drew Bledsoe and others not realize that no one is listening to their words anymore.

The only thing that is going to speak for them is action in the form of execution and production. Words and statements such as these are only going to fuel critics and expend whatever precious little good will is left with those making them. With big talk come big expectations. All of this talk will now go for naught if this team does not execute vs. the Patriots next Sunday.

Instead of just hushing up, practicing, and trying to just get their bearings, the team and its fearless leader on the field, now appear to be lashing back at the fans that have backed them more than reasonably until now. Can this team led by incompetent GM Donahoe, rookie head coach Mike Mularkey, and now "Iron Legs" Bledsoe possibly be digging themselves a deeper hole? I ask the question in all sincerity. Is it possible? I am not sure that it is.

I am starting to wonder what's going on in Buffalo these days at One Bills Drive. Is the goal of the team to be moving anytime soon? If it is, then they are exactly on the right track. This team is on the brink of collapse and on the front edge of another two to three year rebuilding program and talking as if they are on the verge of taking the East and cinderella-ing it through the playoffs.

"I'm the quarterback here, and I'm going to be the quarterback here, and that's what it is," Bledsoe said in response to the uproar over the Bills' 0-2 start. "And our guys"know that. The players on the team know that. The coaches know that. And that's just simply the way it is. If there were a situation where Mike (Mularkey) felt we'd be effective with somebody else, he would make that change. That's not the case."

Gosh Drew, and I'm sure I am speaking for a good many fans in Buffalo when I say how reassuring! And thanks for the reminder. Guess what, we know it too and surely did not need a reminder. Thanks anyway.

Let's make no mistake! The only reason why the Bills "can't be effective with anyone else" than with Bledsoe in there is purely due to neglect at properly staffing the backup QB spot and the notion that this may be the case is very simply yet another example of poor planning and a ridiculous overreliance on Drew Bledsoe more than anything. What, Matthews? If not taking the opportunity at a risk-free first half of the season before signing a problematic QB to a three-year extension does not support these notions, then I don't know what does.

Bledsoe has been a problematic QB now for five seasons. Not having a viable plan-B is inexcusable for a team stating that it wanted to make the playoffs. Losman was no plan-B, he was the future. Prior to this season beginning, and following last season, GM Tom Donahoe insisted that Bledsoe was fine and would work once "his plan" came into place. Incoming head coach Mularkey, offensive coordinator Clements, and QB coach Wyche all bought into this absurd notion. Well, Donahoe's plan is coming into view nicely now and it has been found as wanting as could possibly be. When one considers all of the "big name" talent on the roster it only takes matters from bad to next to laughable.

So instead of lip service fellas, try some good old fashioned winning and execution at minimum, on the field. Novel, eh! The time for talk has long expired in Buffalo. It is the trademark of the Donahoe era. Big talk, small results. No trends towards positive at all. In the meantime, those whose decisions these were should take full responsibility and the related credibility or lack thereof that comes with the territory.

And then this: "That being said, what I'm doing and what we're doing as a team is we're going forward. We've got three hard practices during the bye week to try and rectify some of the things that have been problems for us. We are going forward. We're going to get it turned around and start winning ballgames."

Good! Then the fans can expect to see a team fully capable of competing vs. the Patriots in ten days then, right Drew? Because there is a very large disconnect here between reality and the verbiage that's emanating out of OBD. And three whole practices, eh? Boy howdy! Fans don't see a team that's "moving forward." In fact, they see one that's mismanaged, one that is a step away from disarray and chaos, and one that has its wheels spinning in the mud going nowhere fast.

As well, Mike Mularkey insists that this offensive line is well under way to becoming a solid unit.

"The O-line, for being together for four weeks, I think they're playing pretty darned well," Mularkey said. "If you watch the tape, there's nothing outstanding where you say, "This is an absolute weakness.' "

Is that why the Raider defense plugged and sealed it like a 30-year brick and mortar worker on 4th-and-goal. And then you're arguing about Henry's extending the ball a few inches over the pile, not through it. This just in, the two new spots are guards which should be a whole lot easier to "work in" than tackles or center, especially when one of them is an eight year veteran. And we thought that Jim McNally could take any rag-tag bunch of linemen and turn them into "the HOGs" even though it countered reason, logic, and common sense. As well, in the preseason, we thought that we were told that everything was tracking? If we cannot play well against Jacksonville and Oakland, then the Bills problems are just beginning. Other teams figure to put up more points than 13 against us, in some cases a lot more.

And what happens if Jennings, no, when Jennings gets hurt again? Or Villarrial? Have we begun to think that far. What, with all of the 7th rounders on the roster, two of which were last year's problems, fans are supposed get excited?

"Drew felt like he could have thrown the ball better," Mularkey said. "Watching the game again, some of the drops that we had, that magnifies (his problems). It's not a perfect throw, but they're absolutely catchable balls. Those guys could help the quarterback out. Those are the kinds of catches that continue drives."

Once again, it's all about helping Drew out, isn't it! Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream too. It includes having a quarterback that helps the team out, not one that every week needs the calvary called out to defend his game, or lack thereof.

Drew could have thrown the ball better. You think? As to catchable balls, as long as the team keeps making excuses for this, then it will not move forward. In key situations a seasoned and effective quarterback puts the ball on the money. He also could have thrown it better all last season too. I was one of few people pointing out that even when he had all day in the pocket last season, too often his throws were in the dirt, behind players, over their heads by a long shot, etc. Déjà vu! One of the many. But I guess no one at OBD happened to see any of that on the game films. I even went so far as to put the detailed tallies of wide, long, and under in my post game pieces. They were significant. In fact, statistically, Drew had the highest percentage of "poor throws" last year of any credible quarterbacks. Many of those were with plenty of time. We saw it with our own eyes.

The bottom line in this situation is that Mularkey is now allowing his credibility to be dragged down the tubes. This is a position that no rookie coach should find himself it. I find myself being more astonished at the new rhetoric nearly every day now. Yet, it is one that he stepped into voluntarily and one that could have been corrected per his prodding had he disagreed with Donahoe. How this team is being run becomes clearer each and every day now. He can continue to ignore that and assume that the fans and media are ignorant and that their eyes are deceiving them. But the fact of the matter is that he has now hitched his wagon to not a falling, but fallen star. I use the word "star" loosely.

And in Mike Mularkey's explanation as to how things are really not that bad, need we all be reminded that of the 20 points that the Bills have put up, 10 were set up by the D in the red zone, once at the opponent's 3 yard line for a field goal only; 7 more came on a broken coverage in prevent defense and on a tipped ball for the score. Only 3 came due to the offense's ability to drive the ball down the field and take care of business themselves without some sort of mitigating circumstance or defensive mistake. That's one-and-a-half points per game. My money says that our defense is not going to do this in every game nor will the opponent's defense make those kinds of errors regularly either.

Can Tom Donahoe and these Bills possibly alienate themselves with the fans anymore? What's next, telling us that they're playing this game for fun and that as long as they're having fun, then that's all that matters?

GM Tom Donahoe and fully supported by Mularkey, Clements, and Wyche, have intentionally insisted that Drew Bledsoe was not problematic, which is fine even though it countered much of what most fans already knew and quite frankly, that which was already known the day we picked up Bledsoe in a "steal" from the Pats. But hey fellas, against the advice of most of the fans, much of the media, and then some, you made your decision. Now live with it and accept the consequences of it. Coming into Buffalo swinging and lashing out at the fans and media so soon, fans and media who stick through their team's bad years better than most if not all, is not going to set things up for future successes.

The fans in this good city and around the nation and world that support the Bills have been more than patient with this team that has been floundering in the wind since Donahoe's arrival. Each year it is "big news" and promises resulting in more hype than substance and each year the risks and approach have not paid off in real terms. That is unless of course "real terms" is ticket and luxury box sales. Even then, how long those seats will be filled and how long with those boxes sell if this team continues to flounder and become the Bengals of the new decade certainly remains to be seen.

In a city such as Buffalo, given that there has already been a drop in seasons this year, it is not a reach to expect to see a very sizeable drop next season at the present rate. Certainly at the rate lip service is being dispensed coupled with the rate, nearly perfect, at which little or none of it comes to pass as "served up," it does not take a genius to put two and two together on this one. The last thing that this team and city need is a coaching staff on the front of a five year contract with credibility issues and one that appears to be condescending to fans and media. This is what is called a PR recipe for disaster.

This team is on the brink of embarrassing the city of Buffalo and coming full circle to what it was when Mr. Donahoe took over. Namely, a team with overpaid past-prime marquee players who no longer produce to Pro Bowl levels yet which are billed as such; a team with little youth for fans to hang their hats on in hopes of being competitive for at least a couple of seasons; a team with an offensive line that will nearly have to be rebuilt from scratch next season with their two best players both injury prone and one likely to leave in free agency and the other turning 32 next season; a team with a defensive line in a similar state; a team with absolutely no proven QB; and a team that has used up all of its good will by continuing to put forth statements that come up empty when it matters most.

There is a corporate culture that has developed with this team that is a direct result of Tom Donahoe and his "I know better than everyone" arrogant and hoity-toity "save the postage" approach. It now appears to be manifest in the coaching staff and players themselves.

Given that this team is currently in the running for the top spot in next year's draft, which oh, just by-the-way goes to Dallas, this is not the personality that this team needs to be taking on for its own good. Either way, "mistakes have been made", the lipservice has been issued in spades. So now it is time to see whether or not this tiger is made of paper or whether or not it's real. I suppose we will all find out vs. the Patriots.

In my opinion silence would have been a better approach until such a time as the offense could prove that it was capable of scoring a touchdown on its own which has not happened yet with the first team offense yet this season through six games other than vs. Detroit, one of the weakest defenses in the league. Quite frankly, this "new approach" is bold and outrageous given the circumstances, but extremely risky to say the least. The problem is that those reaping the fruits of that risk will largely be the fans, the same fans now being given a tongue lashing like little children.

Note to Donahoe: Talk is cheap! We'll save the postage; the team can save its breath! Time for results, not more lip service!

"The 2004 Bills Report" radio program resumes broadcasting over the internet this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at www.broadcastmonsters.com.

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net

Buffalo Football Report Top Stories