Scheming to Properly Align Buffalo Bills

Photo of OC Brian Daboll from

The important thing about a plan is to remember to have one.  It’s probably unwise to choose that sort of direction on the drive to work.  Other than that, I don’t care.  Trust people to do their jobs.  I mean, I’d like the Buffalo Bills to use ones that result in touchdowns or turnovers every play.  Do they exist?

Also, can you pick winning scratch-off lottery tickets for me?

I promise to cheer for good results no matter the pattern.  Just tell players to go wherever you think they’ll be effective.  Sure, that means a lack of oversight on outsiders’ part.  But sports are already about having faith in something we don’t control.

Do whatever works.  That’s my favorite football alignment.  Let the coaching staff debate it more fiercely than we do.  After all, they are paid for it.  Fans should get checks for the time they put in, but the thought of those in power extending a playoff streak will have to serve as compensation.

It’s fine to have a preference.  But be willing to work with what’s available.  I like the Seinfeld with the Frogger more than the ones with that jerk Jack Klompus, but I’ll watch either if they’re on TBS.

Take the new style of pushing enemies out of the way.  Switching blocking will hopefully clear space in a manner that was too infrequent last year.  There will be no more zone schemes in case anyone is tired of conceptually blocking territory.  Simply maul whoever’s in front of you to please fans and the guy with the ball alike.

Who gets less homework?  The whole class gets a field trip if the work gets done, so nobody better moan.  Buffalo’s new concept is simple for the lineman while leaving the rusher to make a directional decision. Does that sound cool with the players?  Well, they don’t get to decide, so don’t bother tallying a vote.  No matter respective locker room opinions, the philosophy will ideally maximize this particular roster’s skills.  You don’t hire Chuck Yeager to be a mechanic.

Photo of RG John Miller from

Employees beg to be used properly.  It’s difficult to overstate what a new coordinator means for someone looking for a career renaissance like John Miller.  He could use a break as much as fans would like to see it happen.

Who can blame Miller for struggling after being shoved into a new job?  The guard was drafted by an earlier regime to play in a certain manner.  Then, the club helpfully changed systems, leaving him as out of place as Howard Stern at a country station. The jock could shock us with a return to form.

Even those who disagree with the plan can cheer if it works.  There are football followers who are adherents of zone blocking, which is an insane level of dedication routinely accepted as normal in these parts.  Buffalo just needs to find what works for their guys.  Dunkin’ Donuts may be fine for other cities, but this is Tim Horton’s town.

Everyone wins at the same time.  Benefiting individuals also helps the team.  Management added players who aren’t merely skilled but useful to this particular outfit.  Not signing a monolithic nose tackle when you need slippery intruders is a sign that everyone’s on the same page.  A European voltage adapter isn’t going to help with close shaves.

The staff should use as many linebackers as they please, although 15 is probably too many.  I personally tend to think a 4-3 gets the needed bulk up front instead of making a de facto end go through the ruse of pretending he’s a linebacker.  But they can do whatever.  I’m still glad the Bills did what I told them to, although it may not be thanks to me calling for it.  Tremaine Edmunds is already as good as two middling linebackers in my dreams.

Photo of MLB Tremaine Edmunds from

I’ll trust coordinators.  That hasn’t always worked out in Buffalo.  But they still haven’t accepted my application despite countless college hours studying Madden plays in lieu of class notes.  Besides, the Bills finally seem to be hiring people who have not only seen American football games before but also have experience telling players to head somewhere useful.

Fans are certainly free to think a particular technique is most suitable.  There have been times when the franchise should’ve taken our advice.  Some strategies they’ve employed over the years have been like reimagining Cheers as a drama.  It wouldn’t work without a laugh track, as it’d suddenly be about pathetic drunks.  Bills fans who sat through, say, the alleged defensive stands in 2002 know some coordinators never deserved the title.

We only think we know what should have been done out of concern.  Captain Hindsight is the ultimate sports fan.  Yet explaining to pros what they should do differently is just our way of urging the pros to avoid counterproductive concepts.

The Bills have seen more talent wasted than Badfinger. But management now seems to be working with coaches instead of treating the relationship like a competition that nobody wins.

This year’s edition strives to obtain what’s so rarely been earned: fans’ trust.  Line up your charges wherever you’d like, and know we’ll applaud if it works.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Anthony Bialy for helping us get through the dead season with a few chuckles. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

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.

11 Replies to “Scheming to Properly Align Buffalo Bills”

  1. Anthony–Another outstanding article…

    “The Bills have seen more talent wasted than Badfinger. But management now seems to be working with coaches instead of treating the relationship like a competition that nobody wins.”

    This list says it all–how many coaches were on the same page as management?

    How many times did the Bills flip-Flop between the 3-4 and the 4-3 and drafted players to fit those schemes or tried putting a square peg in a round hole with players on the roster…

    The offense also went for West Coast offense to a fast paced offense to a grinding out offense to a whatever offense…

    The Bills were the Temptations song “Ball of Confusion” !!

    ANTHONY LYNN, 2016 –
    REX RYAN, 2015-2016.
    DOUG MARRONE, 2013-14.
    CHAN GAILEY, 2010-12.
    DICK JAURON, 2006-09.
    MIKE MULARKEY, 2004-05.
    GREGG WILLIAMS, 2001-03.
    WADE PHILLIPS, 1998-2000.

  2. Winning makes the heart grow fonder and cures all kinds of evils. May even build some trust in the process.
    It’s hard to tell if the Bills truly wasted talent or truly could not pick talent. We’ll never know for sure but by the numbers most jettisoned players did not go on to greater things, especially quarterbacks. If the talent was there to then they effectively sabotaged the careers of many players whom they failed to develop.
    That’s not wasting talent- that is destroying talent. Kind of harsh.

  3. Offensively, it’s all talk till they prove otherwise. But these guys seem to really know what they’re doing! Never mind THESE GUYS brought in Dennison who was fired after one year and the offense was the worst it’s been in the last handful. But Daboll!!! Meh….maybe he’ll work out, maybe he won’t. There’s nothing to suggest he’ll be the answer. I suspect between the lousy QB sitch and seemingly run oriented preference they all seem to have over there, the offense will continue to be middling at best and likely bottom 5 for the short term…and quite possibly until they take their next big swing at the QB position.

  4. Seriously? Based on what? I’ve heard nothing of the sort…and considering he’s taken exclusively 3rd team reps thus far, he can’t be blowing anyone that matters away. I’ve heard he’s been pretty much as advertised. He’ll make some impressive throws along with some head scratching throws. I’m guessing he’ll be the type that shows flashes of brilliance that keeps you holding out longer than you should waiting for him to finally get it, but he’ll also look lost half the time and miss a bunch of easy throws. He’ll basically be JP Losman in Cam Newton’s body. Here’s the QB conversation of the next 4 or 5 years:
    “Ooh, look at that beautiful, effortless bomb!”
    “Oh…how’d he miss that wide open dude?”
    “Another game, another 3 & out fest…but did you see that bomb he threw where they scored their lone TD? Man…if this guy ever figures it out!”
    “He just needs a little bit more time…”

  5. Hey Joma…

    is there ever a bright spot with you–no matter what they do you always have a negative take on it..

  6. Talk about a puff piece…sorry, Nells, that article isn’t legit. No-name publisher and not a single source in the thing other than Chris Simms supposedly talking to some people…not to mention it sounds more based on the guy and his attitude than his performance thus far. I’ll stick with the fact that he has only taken snaps with the 3rd team to speak for itself. If he was blowing everyone away with his on field play, he’d be moving up the depth chart and the Buffalo media would actually be talking about how great he’s doing. Sal C on WGR is a bit of a homer and is on almost daily reporting on the Bills and has said nothing resembling this…and the talk tends to be QB centric. He’s doing okay…again. all with the 3rd team. Doesn’t look amazing, doesn’t look like garbage. He makes some throws effortlessly that many guys in the league can’t easily do, but he misses some easy ones. His last report was he didn’t really stand out good or bad during the last session media got to watch, then tried to spin it as a positive as some sort of sign of consistency…a far cry from blowing everyone away.

  7. Goose, not no matter what they do…its all based on what they DO do. Sorry, I’m objective and don’t do the rah rah BS anymore. I call it like I see it and am honest about it. You want bright spots? Their D looks to be on its way and could be pretty good. They also have a ton of cap space next year. Unfortunately, they also have a crap offense whose only stud is about done and they’re no closer to solving the 20+ year old problem at QB that’s been their biggest issue the whole time and will keep them from being a legit contender. Sorry I’m realistic. I’m also sorry the Bills aren’t much fun to follow…really, I am.

  8. Ohhh you’re far from objective, realistically they may take a step backwards this year but there is progress being made at 1 Bills drive. Out with the non-productive expensive whiners and bringing in new talent as they build the team with the type of character players they want to build the team around… Beanie and McD work as a team and at least have a plan on what they want to do… That in its self is such a positive that the future is brighter than it has been in a long time.

  9. I’d like to hear how I’m not… I don’t like a move because the Bills make it. I don’t dislike a move because they make it. I don’t say I like or dislike a player, then the Bills get involved with that player so I change my position. I hated Josh Allen before the draft, the Bills took him, and I still hate him. If he proves me wrong, great…then I’ll change my position on him, but I’m not going to do so just because they picked him. And i hate to break it to ya, but giving something a chance just because you like it isn’t being objective…it’s actually the opposite.