Bills Rudderless, Driven By Hot Winds Of Upper Management

19 Dec


Buffalo Bills fans don’t need to listen to the radio or read the local paper to get a feel for their team’s current state. Things are going nowhere rather slowly. Heck, it’s taken 17 playoff-less years to get this far.

Sure, it’s reassuring to read Tim Graham’s clue-laden treatise on what’s wrong with the Bills. We’ve heard so much of the tripe released by the Bills’ spin doctors over the years. Unity this, fans deserve a winner that. The same refrains are sung every holiday season by Bills fans, but instead of “Deck The Halls With Playoff Appearances,” it’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Coaching Search.” All the while, certain guys end up untouched within this organization.

Russ Brandon. The guy is so slippery, they’ve used his sweat to condition bowling alleys. Nothing sticks to this guy. Everything is someone else’s fault. The big guys in the Buffalo media fight tooth and nail for this guy, which means the fruitcake he sends to his Christmas card list must be extra special. He’s a GM – wait, no, he’s not. He’s not in the decisions, then in a sneaky way he is.

It is pointed out that Brandon likely has an ownership stake in the team, since his title includes “Managing Partner.” I wonder if that was a gift for Bills fans left by the late Ralph Wilson, saddling us with this guy for the foreseeable future.

I don’t mind Terry and/or Kim Pegula being in meetings discussing overall franchise strategy and such, because a) they own the biggest share of the team and have their skin on the line, and b) my hope hasn’t been destroyed to the possibility that they are aware of their lack of football knowledge.

But Russ, oh, Russ, he’s been around this thing ever since they started their mediocre stretch. And if there’s any chance that this guy thinks he knows what he’s doing, without any track record of success, it’s probably going to be bad.

The moves that are made by this team smell of a slimy marketing agent. A guy whose job is to sell tickets at any cost.

Trading future assets for Sammy Watkins? That doesn’t sound like a personnel guy who had been tied to a Steelers’ organization that built through draft picks. That sounds like Mr. Marketer who needed the buzz to get those season tickets moved.

Rex Ryan’s hire was desperation, made by a guy who knows nothing about football. The Pegulas were so green. Whaley had to have known this would fail; he’s a scout, he knows that you can’t just swap defensive philosophies like toner cartridges.

Maybe I’m misguided, but between Graham’s article and the stuff Jason La Canfora said the other day, I think it’s right on the money to believe that Russ Brandon is the poison pill that continues to sap the potential greatness out of this team.

If you could truly get Brandon out of day-to-day football operations, and keep him to the marketing business of the team, that’s OK. But we had that kind of talk before, and it was just salve. The guy is going to find his way back into the room, because his existence is about psychology and winning people over.

That’s all marketing is, reading the room and figuring out how to sell you on the product being pitched. In this case, the product is Russ Brandon himself.

The Pegulas would be best off buying out Russ Brandon and establishing a competent football mind as the Bills Director of Football. It may be so that Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan are ill-suited to continue in their roles, but they are only a minor part of the biggest problem, a ship without a proper course.


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