No Guarantees, But Buffalo Bills See Promise

Photo of Bills’ QB Josh Allen from

AJ McCarron is excited about Josh Allen.  Why not join him?  Sure, Buffalo Bills fans might appreciate the newest intended savior for different reasons.  But we can cheer for whoever wins the job even if it teaches us to be patient with green rookies.

The quarterbacks of the present and future could make us forget the past.  While we may doubt either lives up to possibilities, it beats embracing low expectations.

Drafting such a raw talent gives us something to be nervous about for a couple years.  Our muscles are going to remain tense for awhile, so that hopefully counts as exercise.

Photo of Bills’ HC Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane from

Brandon Beane is banking on his largest wager paying off despite many observers balking at the odds.  Even a staff this optimistic may not think Allen can start from his first game.  But who knows?  You may be among those still surprised they grabbed him in the first place.

I’m not going to delete tweets about Allen.  As with his poor decisions about what to share with the world, let’s all agree to be on our best behavior from this point forward.  Those who compiled reasons why they doubted he’d be the choice don’t need to get lists framed.  There’s all the difference between what you’d like and what you’ve gotten.

Allen is a project.  Aren’t we all?  As someone with ample untapped potential, I’m sympathetic.  If he can disprove the maxim that it’s hard to fix accuracy, then Buffalo can enjoy its reputation as gutsy visionaries.  It just takes throwing the ball precisely.  Well, I guess that’s the tricky part.

I’ve already completely forgotten dreams of other prospects in Bills uniforms.  Was that guy named Mason even drafted?  I’m trying to focus on the upside, as that’s what being a Buffalo fan is about historically.  Our new favorite quarterback got off to a good start by saying “Bills Mafia” twice in his nine-second introduction video.

If you’ve already donated to Andy Dalton’s foundation, consider the charities of the handful of teams that didn’t draft quarterbacks early.  Aside from concerns about Allen’s transition to paid football, there will inevitably be questions about the steep price.  But there’s a difference between spending a lot and too much.

I’d personally appreciate Allen putting his bionic arm to good use, as it would really help our efforts to avoid feeling broke.  A good time will overtake fretting about the cost.  I once went to Dublin on Saint Patrick’s Day and treasure memories of the stout-fueled pub tour adventure infinitely more than the sleep I missed.

I’m not presuming he’ll be able to cure our sicknesses by letting us touch his jersey.  Today’s concerns about the first pick are a little simpler.  The Mafia may fret that Allen will never be anything more than an impressive prototype.  Then again, I worried the Bills would win six games last year.

I trust the staff that managed an improbable and wonderful wild card appearance more than I would, say, Buddy Nix making the same gamble.

Photo of former Bills’ GMs Doug Whaley and Buddy Nix from

At least they’re trying.  The steadfast refusal to draft a quarterback early has been a historically curious franchise characteristic.  It’s especially true considering how many times they’ve had the chance thanks to crummy previous seasons.  Allen is only the fourth first-round quarterback Buffalo has ever drafted and the highest ever selected, which explains why he faces such a formidable task.

Whatever they’ve tried before typically hasn’t worked.  While there’s no need to be reminded the Bills are 58 games under .500, here it is anyway.  Much woefulness has followed timidity.  Allen may be a calculated wager, to put it mildly.  But this team has rarely excelled by playing not to lose.

It’s not that we’re guaranteed an annual Super Bowl parade now.  Avoiding that EJ Manuel feeling takes effort.  Still, fearing risk is a good challenge to face.  The Bills strive to avoid the perils of trying to play it safe.

Those two second-round picks dealt away will be forgotten if we can finally watch proficient quarterback play.  Some Buffalo fans are worried about putting too much faith in one guy while wearing Jack Eichel jerseys.

To be fair, that other Pegula club hasn’t done much with Mister Franchise.  But it’s better to attempt to build around a budding superstar than compensate for not having him.  It’s not the fault of the tank’s reward that management didn’t get enough for Evander Kane.  Falling into Rasmus Dahlin might show that luck is what they needed most.

Who’s up for months of guessing if Allen can be molded like Eliza Doolittle?  We’re crazy about something only done on 16 days per year.  Forget games: it’s a relief to have gotten through the draft buildup.  Welcome to May.

Time has allowed us to move from contemplating every rumor to envisioning every scenario.  You may not have wanted the Bills to be the ones who saw greatness in Allen’s rawness.  But you may as well try to evolve along with him.

Editor’s babble: There’s nothing quite like an article by Anthony Bialy to quell mass hysteria. We are grateful for his contributions to our blog. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

*Views shared by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the owners of the website.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

14 Replies to “No Guarantees, But Buffalo Bills See Promise”

  1. Hey Anthony,
    With all the concern expressed about Josh Allen’s pass completion percentage at Wyoming, is there any information about Jim Kelly’s stats at Miami? And as to all the fuss and fluff over his tweets, it’s indicative of the times in which we no find ourselves when everything we do and/or say is now opened up to public shame and scrutiny. Let he who is without the sin of loose lips, cast the first stone.

  2. no concern here. let’s give him some time to develop. he played in just 27 games at wyoming.
    his TD to INT ratio was 2:1 and his worst season QBR was 124!

  3. I wasn’t happy about picking Allen, I’d still rather have a guy [Rosen] that is considered “Pro-Ready” vice a “project player” [Allen]. But, what’s done is done. At least this regime is placing a much greater emphasis on the QB position than how many other’s that came through One Bills Drive. I hope it works out and Allen becomes the “franchise QB” we’ve been looking for since January 1997.

    In regards to the Sabres, former GM, Tim Murray ruined the “tank” when he gave away draft picks and prospect players like a drunken sailor to try and speed up the rebuild process. Now, it’s up to Jason Botterill to clean up the mess created by Regier and Murray and rebuild the roster as well as add depth/talent to Rochester.

  4. Agree, what’s done is done…all there is to do now is…well, give the guy a nickname. How’s Josh LOLen?

  5. The Russ Brandon firing/resignation continues to get interesting. WGR’s Paul Hamilton stated there was an incident between McDermott and Brandon and McDermott wanted nothing to do with Brandon and wanted him to stay on his side of the business.

  6. joma-

    we know you can do better than that!

    i just read an article that russ haircut was “welcome” in the bills draft room (which somehow wasn’t televised this year that i saw). so maybe the incident happened after the draft? or during the draft? wierd.

  7. Do any of us have a platform to speak from? Any one here been a GM or head coach of a professional sports program? Anyone here played at the professional level? Look, I was all in for Josh Rosen too based on what I saw, but McBeane got the Bills in the playoffs…..enough said.

    There are 2 sides to every story so let the facts come to fruition regarding Russ Brandon.

    • Are any of us GM’s or scouts…no. But does that mean any of us are a terrible judge of talent either…no. A lot of us have been watching football for decades and know what good and bad talent looks like. If Allen becomes a better QB than Rosen, then I’ll have no problems admitting I was wrong. But if Rosen is better, then a lot our criticism towards McBeane will be justified.

  8. I thought I read Brandon was approached by the Pegulas on Friday and informed him there was an investigation and he lied about any wrongdoing when obviously they had found something.

    • I read that as well. I also read on TBD that McDermott wanted Brandon to stay on his side of the business and away from him.

      “The fact is, once Sean McDermott took over as coach last year and Beane became GM shortly thereafter, Brandon had very little to do with the football portion of the Bills’ operation and was focused almost exclusively on business. A person close to the situation told The Buffalo News that McDermott wanted it that way, with Terry and Kim Pegula granting his wish that neither Brandon nor the GM at the time, Doug Whaley, be present during McDermott’s initial meeting with the owners. ”

  9. I think Wrecks and Whaley would have made the playoffs last year…the AFC was terrible and the Bills got incredibly lucky. McBeane have a lot to prove yet. I think Joke Allen will cost them their jobs…

    • I wouldn’t doubt McCarron starts the entire year, then McBeane tries to get Allen into the starting position somehow in year two. If Allen is a bust, it could cost McBeane their jobs.

  10. Good morning…

    Wow we go from the excitement of the draft to the Brandon situation.. I know we have to wait for the dust to clear but the way he was immediately let go and the fact there was no “Thank Yous” for his 20 years of contributions speaks volumes..

    If the Bills keep stockpiling talent even if Allen doesn’t pan out this administration will find a solution. I don’t think McD and Beanie’s jobs depend solely on Allen being elite. It will be the overall play of the team on the field, they set the tone this past year by getting rid of Watkins and of course Darius.

    • Next year, the Bills will have $90M in cap space, so if they use that money wisely, they could build up a great team among whoever is the starter. If it is Allen, they have five years before they have to pay him a kings ransom, so it’s time over the next couple years to build a team that can make a championship run. Let’s hope McBeane gets it done right.