New Starters to Replace Finished Former Buffalo Bills

Photo of DT Ed Oliver from

Let’s get everyone name tags.  It’s easier to list returning players than new dudes for the Buffalo Bills.  Forgetting who was here feels natural if you remember last year’s woefulness.

For once, noting how many new starters will be in place by September is a genuinely welcome development, unlike college classes you claimed you took again because you found the subjects fascinating.  Many former first-stringers have been forced to join the ride-share industry.  Not many attachments form during a six-win season.

It fair to guess at least half the previous opening game starters will not replicate that feat during our present year.  For many, the streak will end at one.  That’s even factoring how Josh Allen was technically not among them.  I’m trying to not tease Nathan Peterman anymore, but the experiment involving him play will blessedly not be replicated if those feeling pessimistic need reassurance that rock bottom is deeper.

Photo of QB Johnny Unitas from

Even Cyborg Johnny Unitas would’ve been crushed by puny human defenders during last year’s transitional campaign.  It takes patience to reach the future regardless of our opinion about how the dumb clock is slow.  Brandon Beane knew he could obtain quality players if the duct-taped roster just made it through 16 shady outings where they were technically competing in the NFL.

It could be worse, as the unofficial team motto goes.  Last year’s slate is unmemorable, hopefully.  But circumstances were less rotten than for teams not taking the medicine that is dead cap money.  What was Tampa Bay’s excuse?

Salary cap casualties were Buffalo’s biggest contributors in their way, so don’t say they failed to help.  The front office removed unimpressive performers even if that meant consuming a large chunk of financial resources.  It took paying Marcell Dareus to not be in Buffalo anymore to improve.

This year’s Bills have the chance to deploy blockers instead of blocks.  Last year’s offensive line resembled players you’d make up for a video game where you didn’t have rights to likenesses.

Roster churn is as natural as hoping the Patriots are bad for the next thousand years.  Managers have to fill 22 spots in a sport where half a decade brings seniority.  Even Breaking Bad only lasted five seasons. But Buffalo skipped to the future by getting rid of long term problems ahead of schedule.  Now, it feels like we’ve fast-forwarded through commercials.

In the worst situations, franchises don’t get value for tremendous expense.  You should be able to truthfully tell yourself it’s worth the price if you spend that much.  With tremendous dead money thanks to discarding inherited players, last year’s Bills went into debt to attend the Fyre Festival.

Photo of Pee Wee Herman from

Like Pee-wee Herman, they meant to be this bad.  For once, the Bills could claim they had a plan in place to recover from a controlled burn.  The present organization’s judicious planning creates contrast with how bleak football went in, say, 1984, when they seem to have forgotten to go grocery shopping.  Watching games was like having nothing but saltines and mustard with the Pope coming over for a dinner party.

Last year was as useful as a waste can be.  Allen got to work out how to play like a pro with the inadvertent added challenge of getting virtually no help.

And a few marginal pros got an unlikely chance to own game-worn jerseys.  A team with a strike replacement-style roster allowed for living football dreams while the general manager waited for the calendar to change.  Some 2018 Bills will always be able to say they played in the NFL while hoping nobody asks about the team and year.

Such turnover is usually a sign of chaos.  But the Bills anticipated this many replacements.  They planned to hire from the temp agency all along.

Photo from

Nothing collapsed last year by accident: 2018 was a controlled implosion to remove an aging structure.  Now, architects can replace the demolished venue with something meeting contemporary standards.  Buffalo was never home to a concrete ashtray with baseball slide pits if you’d like to be thankful for avoided misery.

There’s good news for rookies eager to contribute immediately.  That’s one preposterously optimistic way to frame upheaval.  The bubonic plague similarly opened up farming jobs.  As for recovering from the ravages of subpar football, Buffalo could have the first two draftees starting and possibly four if life gets sitcom crazy.

The probationary period is already over.  New Bills should act like interns who think they know how to run the place better than established workers.  Based on results over time with this corporation, they may be correct. 

Don’t let the fact it’s your fourth day and your name’s written on masking tape over your locker deter you from initializing semipermanent improvement.

I feel sorry for any Bills fan who lived through 2018. Those poor old souls didn’t know the joy of waiting to cheer for Ed Oliver.  Anticipation makes the present as thrilling as the future.  The Houston product knows the 3-technique to our hearts.

Anyone who endured last year’s scintillating run to third place didn’t get to hope that Mitch Morse would clear lanes for a future Hall of Fame running back in addition to LeSean McCoy. It only seems like shoving around defenders is against the rules.  Firing everyone is only a bad sign depending on who everyone is.

Editor’s babble: Last season actually felt like a winner compared to 1984 when there was little hope previous ownership would spend the money necessary to create a winner. The Glory Years were a random occurrence in the universe that just happened to go our way. Thanks, as always, to Anthony Bialy for keeping us sane with his humor during the interim. 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.