Bills drought could get over 20-years-old

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Many Buffalo Bills fans are about to come to the age where they are legally eligible to vote. At the same time they have never seen their team in the playoffs as it’s been 17 seasons since they last were. The way things are going they will be legally able to drink before they do.

Things change in the National Football every year, but one thing remains the same. In order to win in the NFL you need a franchise quarterback.

The Bills haven’t had one since Jim Kelly retired.

They don’t have one from lack of trying. In the first round of the 2003 and 2013 NFL Draft the Bills took J.P. Losman and E.J. Manuel. Both have turned out to be major busts.

That leads up to their current dilemma.

For the past two seasons their starter has been Tyrod Taylor. A quarterback that has been their best since the drought started as he thrown for 3,058 yds, 37 tds, 12 int and rush for 1,148 yds and 10 tds. That is beside the fact that his best wide receiver Sammy Watkins was out half the year!

The problem is the team is built for right now. Many of their star player like defensive end/outside linebacker Jerry Hughes is in the their upper 20s. So, what it means is this.

The Bills have a three year window with their current roster. I say that based that Bills General Manager Doug Whaley is on his last chance. So, if the coach he hires in the coming weeks don’t work out three years then the team will have to go through a major rebuild.

A major rebuild happens whenever a new general manager comes aboard.

From there he hires a head coach has similar ideals as he has in a roster. Then the head coach fills out his staff based on his ideals.

From there the GM will purge the roster of players he doesn’t want. In the Bills case it will be players like Hughes, left tackle Cordy Glenn and defensive tackle Marcel Dareus. That will fetch draft picks in return that they will need to fill the roster.

From there the GM conducts the draft and right after hires a new scouting staff. The reason is the Draft is the end of their year for the scouting staff and it would be too much work to hire a new one midway through the year.

In the end, the Bills have a three year window to get to the playoffs with their current roster. So, pray they make the playoffs in the next three years. Cause if they don’t god knows when they will after a major rebuild.

Bills Media has Fallen a long way

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As a teenager in the 1990s when it came to quality sports coverage in Western New York, WGR 550’s Chuck Dickerson, who was a former Bills Defensive Line coach until after Super Bowl XXVI, and Art Wander, who was known as “The Tiny Tot of the Kilowatt,” ruled the air. It’s been over a decade since the two were on air at the station together and it’s obvious the station has fallen a long way since then.

In the summer of 2006 I interned at WGR and worked in the news room along with former WNSA and WGR reporter Jeff Morrison and then WGR Program Director Andy Roth. It was well known within WGR’s staff that Roth was a hothead that blew up on anyone that made a mistake. I know learned that personally as Morrison asked me to write an article on the contract extension of Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, who at the time was the Buffalo Bills right tackle and rookie contract ran out.

I was subsequently called in to Roth’s office and ripped for the quality of it. For those at home journalism writing is different than regular English writing, which I wrote the article like.

However, that wasn’t the end of it as while the station was off air Roth ripped me a second time for it, which I will swear on the bible in a court of law as true.

The one thing that I will complement WGR is the quality of coverage by Sabres studio host John Koziel and Sabres beat reporter Paul Hamilton. Hamilton knows his hockey as he played for the University of Iowa and actually tried out for the Miracle on Ice U.S.A. Team hockey team, according to a comment by him that won the Gold Medal during the Winter Olympics in February of 1980.

 

The fact of the matter is the people at WGR don’t know their football. Their life could depend on it and they still wouldn’t. The proof is in an email exchange between me and WGR’s Jeremy White based on his All-22 Review Bills/Titans White wrote this.

“In the next clip ( Bills defensive tackle Marcell) Dareus is lined up over the guard, but taken by the center,” White wrote.  “Dareus has the ability to maintain his blocker, with head up to see the runner.  Running backs occasionally read a block or lane based on the helmet of the defensive lineman.  Watch as Dareus holds left side, and then darts back right to make the play.:

Anyone who has ever played a down of organized football in high school knows that this is completely wrong. On the play the Titans right guard, number 79 pulls to trap Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, but for whatever reason the left guard, number 76, didn’t release straight to the linebacker like the play is supposed to and block Williams. The running back recognized this right away and cut to his right immediately.

That leads me to the game against the Cincinatti Bengals.

The one thing that bugged me going into this game was the Bills inability to do anything outside of their first scripted drive. For those who haven’t played, typically the first 15-20 plays are predetermined on what coaches see in their opponent’s game film. The Bills are good at this, but have been terrible adjusting after.

The evidence are in the stats at NFL.com,  prior to the Bengals game the Bills lost games where they passed more and won where they ran more. That was the case against the Bengals as the Bills passed more than ran.

So, what does it mean?

What it means is that Bills head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Gregg Roman isn’t good when it comes to offense. Also, it means that Roman’s reputations is due to former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbuagh’s offensive prowess as he was formerly a quarterback in the NFL as Roman was the offensive coordinator under Harbaugh. All one has to do is look at current 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kapernick.

Under Harbaugh and Roman, Kaepernick had a 2:1touchdown to interception ratio, but without them Kaepernick is 1:1 as it’s his first year without the pair. Also, his predecessor Alex Smith, who starts for the Kansas City Chiefs, had a 1:1 touchdown to interception ration until Harbaugh was hired by the 49ers in 2011.

I didn’t like the hire of Ryan from the very start.

In fact, I totally hate it to this day. The Bills, prior to hiring Ryan, had Jim Schwartz as a defensive coordinator that proved he still had it defensively in 2014. Also, they had the ability to hire the former Bills backup quarterback to Jim Kelly in Frank Reich who led the team to the “Greatest Comeback” on January 3rd, 1993.

On most other bad teams, Riech would’ve started, but due to the fact that he was drafted by the Bills in the NFL where there was no free agency, Reich was relegated to backup behind Kelly, but the fans knew they had two special quarterbacks. The reason being in 1989, Reich filled in for an injured Kelly and led the Bills to two straight wins, one of which was against the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

My first year of watching and studying football was Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas rookie year in 1988. That was the year in an overtime win against the Houston Oilers the behind the Bills offensive Hall of Famers trio in Kelly, Thomas and wide receiver Andre Reed, perfected the “No Huddle Offense” which is a staple today and used by current NFL greats like Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New England Patriots Tom Brady.

Don’t get me wrong, because the quarterback position is changing according to The Wall Street Journal.

 “Bills general manager Doug Whaley said he had the same results when he asked prospects a question about defenses shifting from a common scheme called “cover 2” to an equally mundane tactic called “cover 3,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.  “Hue Jackson, the offensive coordinator from the Bengals, said he had to dumb down his questions, while Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said some QBs failed to grasp things as basic as understanding a common play call. “You have to teach these kids the absolute basics,” he said.”

For those who never played, “Cover Whatever” simply refers to the deepest line to the defense, which are typically the safeties. Cover Zero means all the defensive backs are locked up in man coverage, Cover one means that there is one safety covering the deepest parts of the field and Cover two means there are two safeties back deep.

The sad part to me is this is stuff I learned in seventh grade modified football on defense.

In the end, most of the outside of the Buffalo News don’t know their football as some reporters like Mark Gaughan sits with players and break down film with them. This is in spite to the fact that he has an ailing child. I know this personally as in September 2012, while my son was in the last months of his life at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, I saw Gaughan in the PICU there and talked to him outside of Tim Horton’s in the hospital lobby.

The evidence is in the clamoring of current Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor who makes plays with his legs. Previous Bills quarterbacks like J.P. Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick could run as well, but flamed out due to their inability to pass, but that has been lost by the media cause of WGR’s corporate stance, which they took when Dickerson was still there.

That being saying enough criticism while not aggravating the powers to be on the Bills and Buffalo Sabres.

At Cheektowaga Central there is a saying that everyone says entering the locker room after practice that I take to heart today. “Cheektowaga Central Football; a commitment to excellence.” WGR has shown their committed to pleasing corporations and the Bills coaching staff to their and their players egos.

 

E.J. versus Tyrod: a look at the stats

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Many in Western New York just simply want a franchise quarterback to lead the Buffalo Bills back to the playoffs, which has been over 15 years. In the upcoming 2015 regular season opener, Tyrod Taylor has been named the starter recently, but if you look at just the stats, many would be hard pressed to declare a starter.

fI will admit that my bias is toward quarterback E.J. Manuel. Especially after the articles this season showed that Manuel is one of the best young quarterbacks on first down ever.

However, as much I was rooting for E.J., I had to be neutral as a journalist and I will defer to a quote by Bills General Manager Doug Whaley.

“It’s a production-based business,” Whaley said in The Buffalo News.  “He produced with the twos (Talking about Taylor) so we’re excited for him to get in there Thursday with the ones to see what he can do. Everybody knows what he can do with his feet. But I’m impressed with a couple of his throws.”

The problem is that when you look at the stats objectively their is a different story.

After four preseason games:

Taylor:  24 of 31 for 77.4% passing with 236 yards passing 0 TDs and 0 Int

Manuel: 30 of 20 for 66.7% passing with 358 yards passing 4TDs and 0 Int

When you just look at the stats clearly Manuel is the better of the two. However, it’s when you break down game film the difference is clear.

By athletic standards Taylor is superior between the two. However, in the history of the NFL, it’s pocket presence that wins out, which by the way was the main concern of main Bills media professionals.If you don’t believe me then ask yourself who are the top two quarterbacks in the NFL?

By most peoples’ standards’ it’s Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Neither of which are known for their athleticism.

So, how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks are known for the athleticism?

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Modern Era quarterbacks, definitely two in former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and Tampa Bay and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young. After that you could make a case for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Bills Jim Kelly. Outside of those you’re talking about former Minnesota Viking Fran Tarketon and Cleveland Brown Otto Graham.

Either which way, athletic quarterbacks are no more than a fad. Pocket passing franchise quarterbacks will be remembered forever.

In the end, I will state that Taylor will falter and E.J. will prove to be the franchise quarterback we have been waiting for as pocket presence will always prevail over athleticism.

The inside scoop on Walmart

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We all have been to WalMart at one time or another. We also have read recently the article from the Associated Press about how Walmart is trying to change its perception that it doesn’t care about its employees. Well here is the inside scope from a recently fired employee.

I started working in October in hopes of finding a career, but instead I found a corporation that has policies that many will find ridiculous.

As for why I was fired? The answer in its policies and procedures that starts with the number of absences an employee is allowed.

An employee is coached after four unexcused absence in a rolling six month period. Excused abscesses are natural disasters, jury duty bereavement and a leave of absence. An illness or an emergency in the family doesn’t count even with a doctor’s note

My first coaching was for that exact reason. I accrued four absences in a six month period, even though I provided doctor’s notes. The second was for leaning on the counter with my forearms multiple times. The last one was for swearing in the back and kicking a bin for not being asked why I was leaning and telling a customer that Walmart doesn’t provide enough coverage.

Was I wrong for what I did? Yes, I should have said I’m going home, because I’m mad and don’t want to do something stupid.

However, I’ve been wanting to write something since I saw the article by the AP.

Walmart was founded on the simple principal of customer satisfaction guaranteed. My Tire Lube Express manager David Swann, which is at the Hamburg, NY Walmart location, told me the story of how a manager refused to replace a bike that a customer ran over and demanded to be replaced.

The story goes the story goes that the manager refused to replace it citing it wasn’t their fault. The customer then called corporate headquarters in Bentonville, AK and got Mr. Walton himself as he was allegedly notorious for picking up the phone. Mr. Walton then called the store and told the manager to get a dozen roses, get a new bike, go to the customer’s house and apologize.

So, what is the moral of the story? It’s that Walmart has lost its morals and has become the typical corporate machine.

When Mr. Walton was alive it was about making sure enough customers were working to meet the customer’s needs. Today that isn’t so as they have been the typical corporation of trying to schedule as little as possible to satisfy the bottom line. The very day I was fired a customer had to wait 30 minutes for someone in sporting goods after I personally put the request over the loud speaker.

So, where does the blame lie? Does it lie with corporate or with its policy of hiring from within?

The answer to that is that latter as the answer was in the second reason I was coached. At no time did my Support Manager ever ask why I leaned on the counter so much. The reason is that I’ve had osteoarthritis in my lower back for 20 years and it helps alleviate it.

Before I was fired I was told that by him that he’s getting the assistant manager position of TLE since it’s becoming its own separate entity again. Barto is the typical type of manager within Walmart a buddy of the other managers that will blindly follow rules and procedures of the company despite what they feel. Not only does he blindly follow orders he never asked if us service writers needed a break when we were by ourselves as he was occupied in back talking with the other technicians.

I could give you readers a plethora of excuses as why I was fired. The reality is it doesn’t matter. What this article is about is the truth of Walmart’s troubles and how they can go about fixing them.

The first step is stop being cheap with both labor and supplies. At the Hamburg, NY TLE someone took our jump box for cars with dead batteries, our magnet for unlocking security devices and never replaced broken walkie talkies which led us to putting request over intercoms.

The second step is changes to allow employees to call in for illness or an emergency. Asking someone to come in to work even though their child or loved one has been rushed to the hospital is irrational. The last one is Walmart’s biggest challenger.

The last step is their policy of hiring from within. Manto call in for illness or an emergency. Asking someone to come in to work even though their child or loved one has been rushed to the hospital is irrational. The last one is Walmart’s biggest challenger.

The last step is their policy of hiring from within. Many times Walmart hiring’s are managers based on experience from within. The problem with that is most of times they lack the qualifications to be hired at the same position somewhere else. They in turn follow procedures to the letter to satisfy their bosses despite employee and customer feelings.

So, until the upper echelon of Walmart realizes these changes are made, customers are better off going somewhere else for quality customer service.