Buffalo Bills TalkTime to clean house - Bills & Sabres!


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 From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
 To:  ALL
Enough is enough, already! Terry Pegula, it's time to clean house with both your teams. The Bills failed miserably this season and the coaching of Rex Ryan is largely to blame. But the Bills GM Doug Whaley also gets a ton of the blame.

Three games the Bills had this season, where their defense got ripped to shreds, should be the straw that broke Rex's back. The first and last game against the Dolphins, and the Steelers game. In all 3, running backs had 200+ yard games. The tackling was worse than Pee Wee football. I saw one play where Bills corner Stephon Gilmore gave the runner a shoulder instead of wrapping his arms around and bringing down the runner. It resulted in a long gain. There were numerous other missed tackles, not only in this game, but the first one in Miami and the Steelers game.

Rex came to down with the tag of a defensive genius. He will leave town as a bumbling idiot. Rex hired his gruffy, long-haired, fat twin brother Rob to help guide the defense. It has only gotten worse.

On the GM side with Whaley, the Bills draft has been horrid. Whaley traded up to grab Sammy Watkins in the 4th round, only to see Watkins injured over 50% of the time in his 3 season. He could have used the pick to get Khalil Mack, who played at the University of Buffalo, in the Bills backyard. Mack is one of the top defensemen in the NFL now. Whaley still hasn't addressed the QB problem. Tyrod Taylor is a backup QB at best.

On the Sabres side, injuries hit them hard at the start of the season, with Jack Eichel suffering a high ankle sprain. Other injuries put a dent in the Sabres effort to come out strong. But now most of the injured players are back, and the Sabres are in yet another "tank" season. They are in last place, again, and are not scoring goals. They are the lowest scoring team in the NHL and it looks like once again they will be at the bottom come season end.

Pegula must make amends and find the best football and hockey minds available to get both teams turned around. He has no problem raising the ticket prices after each losing season. How about concentrating on getting both teams to the playoffs first before raising the prices again!
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 From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
 To:  ALL
There doesn't seem to be any doubt that Rex Ryan has coached his last game with the Bills in Buffalo. He could not get the defense operating smoothly in his two years in Buffalo. There seemed to be constant confusion getting assignments in on time, getting 11 players on the field, not committing infractions at the worst possible time. Last season, he had Mario Williams playing the the secondary, of all things. This year, Jerry Hughes lost playing time after he had an argument with Rex's fat twin brother over defensive schemes.

Rex's forte was being a defensive guru. He ended up with egg all over his face. Rex will end up facing his former team, the Jets in the final game of a disappointing season. It would be ironic that his game in New York will also be his final game he ever coaches.

Jet fans warned the Bills fans about Ryan when he was hired by Terry Pegula two years ago. They were happy to get rid of Ryan and his flamboyant ways. Now the Bills must find yet another head coach and start over once again. The Bills fans haven't had a sniff of the playoffs for 17 years and counting.

It's time to bring in a real football guru to oversee the operations and let him hire a competent head coach.

From Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News....


An ideal blueprint for Whaley's plan

By Jerry Sullivan
Buffalo News

Published Sat, Dec 24, 2016

There is little doubt that Bills General Manager Doug Whaley is trying to convince the Pegulas to fire Rex Ryan as the head coach, presumably so they can elevate offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the top position.

If so, Whaley and his pals in personnel couldn't have asked for a better blueprint than Saturday's home finale against the Dolphins. Ryan's defense laid yet another egg in a 34-31 overtime loss, giving up 489 yards and allowing Jay Ajayi to break a 57-yard run to set up the winning field goal.

Meanwhile, Lynn's offense had its finest game of the season – in sheer yardage, the best regular-season performance in the history of the franchise. The Bills gained 589 yards. That's right, more than the Super Bowl teams with Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, more than the O.J. Simpson teams or Jack Kemp's offenses back in the day.

Tyrod Taylor, making a late, desperate case to have the Bills extend his contract, threw for a career-high 329 yards. Sammy Watkins had seven catches for 154 yards, by far his best game of the season and the second-most yards of his career. He had 168 here last year against the Dolphins.

LeSean McCoy had 24 carries for 128 yards and a 19-yard TD. The Pro Bowler has 1,257 rushing yards on the season, the most by a Bill since Travis Henry had 1,356 in 2003. Henry had 331 carries that year. McCoy has 229 to date.

But it all went for naught on a windy Christmas Eve day at New Era Field. Once again, Ryan's defense failed to hold up its end of the bargain. They missed countless tackles, same as they had in the Steelers loss here two weeks earlier, and allowed four plays of 40-plus yards to a team playing with a battered offensive line and a backup quarterback, Matt Moore.

So that does it. They're 7-8 and mercifully eliminated from playoff contention heading into a meaningless road finale against Ryan's former employer, the equally dysfunctional Jets. It also ensured that Ryan will not make the playoffs or coach an above-.500 team for the sixth consecutive season.

In their last seven losses, the Bills have allowed 236 points, an average of 34 a game. That's the sort of record that gets a presumed defensive genius fired. They say divisional games count double. Well, in three AFC East home games, they've given up an average of 37.3 points and 446 yards.

Ryan continues to defend them, but his argument has as many leaks as his precious defense. His "D" no longer stop teams with top quarterbacks. They couldn't even stop journeymen like Moore or Ryan Fitzpatrick at home.

"I know you can question it all you want," Ryan said. "I've been pretty decent throughout my career. This was a rough night, no question. We've had some rough ones. But I think the league, is, uh, you know, I think offenses are pretty decent these days. They're able to move the football.

"But I'll let my reputation stand for what it is."

I reminded Rex that we weren't talking about his defenses in Baltimore or with the Jets, but the two disappointments he has put out there in Buffalo.

"Yeah, but I'm talking about anytime," he said. "About a body of work that's 20-some years in the making in this league. Whatever happens happens, but I can tell you this. I'll stand on my reputation. Let's just put it that way."

Ryan is right. Offenses are more productive than they used to be. Despite Taylor's shortcomings as a passer, the Bills have 389 points on the season. If they score 11 points next week at the Jets – who gave up 41 to the Pats on Saturday – they'll be the first Bills team to score 400 since the 1998 team in Doug Flutie's big year.

But when the Bills faced fourth and 2 at their own 41 with 4:09 left in OT, Ryan elected to punt. A tie would eliminate him. His offense was on fire. But he defaulted to old football coach mode and kicked it away.

"Any coach in America would have done the same thing," Ryan said.

Well, maybe if we were still in the 1960s. I'm sure there are many progressive football coaches who respect the analytics and saw the folly and timidity of punting there.

Buffalo's offense had 377 yards in the second half and OT, more than the Pats have allowed in any of their last full six games. It was enough to make you think Ryan didn't want to leave Lynn's offense on the field to possibly go over 600 yards, so his defense could make him look good instead.

"It's easy to sit back up there when your livelihood isn't riding on it and say, 'I'd do this and this,'" Ryan said.

Yeah, and it's easy to speculate about his future when reports continue flying about Ryan's tenuous livelihood in Buffalo. He didn't do himself any favors by failing to call timeout before Andrew Franks' game-tying 55-yard field goal, or by having only 10 players on the field for Ajayi's big run in OT. He blamed the 10 men on confusion over whether Stephon Gilmore had been cleared from concussion protocol.

I almost feel guilty, writing about a man's job on Christmas. It's supposed to be a joyous, thankful time. But writing about the Bills these days is a joyless exercise, as it has been for 17 years with a few modest exceptions.

One thing that's fairly certain is the Pegulas wouldn't fire Ryan on Christmas Day. But the questions about his lack of detail and game-day bumbling were on vivid display on the day his team was eliminated from the playoffs.

I understand the notion of continuity, but it would be a mistake to leave Whaley in place as GM and allow him to make Lynn the new head coach. As I said from the day they purchased the team, they need a veteran football man, a fresh set of eyes, to come in and take over a flawed operation. I said the same about Darcy Regier when they bought the Sabres.

At the end of their third season as owners, Whaley is their Regier, the personnel man responsible for a flawed and failed roster. He and Russ Brandon should not be trusted to hire Ryan's replacement.

That doesn't mean Lynn wouldn't make a fine head coach. You never know about an assistant coach until he gets his opportunity. Whaley has likely convinced ownership that Lynn will become a head man elsewhere if they don't fire Ryan and give Lynn the job before he gets away.

These are the same folks who told Terry Pegula not to let Ryan get out of the building when they were courting him for the Bills' head job two years ago.

Now, it seems, Ryan will be leaving the building for good very soon. On Saturday, he and a number of free agents likely played their final game at New Era. Whether it's the right move or not, it all fell quite nicely for Anthony Lynn in the home finale.

Whaley must have felt like spiking the football and rocking around the Christmas tree when it was over.

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 From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
 To:  ALL
Rex Ryan is ready to shuffle out of Buffalo. Could Sabres coach Dan Bylsma be following him shortly? Sabres fans were hyped up after last season saw the team improve with the additions of Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly. With a couple of off season moves, the team looked ready to crack the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. However, things have reverted back to the two tank seasons. The Sabres are once again bottom feeders and one has to question the ability of Bylsma in leading the team back to the promised land.


Sabres' season is already teetering toward being over

By John Vogl
Buffalo News

Published Sat, Dec 24, 2016

Sitting in last place on Christmas seems bad enough. By the time New Year’s Day rolls around, the Sabres may already be looking to next season.

Happy holidays.

Buffalo just failed its first big test of the year. It wanted to put together a winning streak before the Christmas break. Instead, the Sabres are on an ugly 0-2-2 slide.

But during a compressed 82-game schedule, the next opportunity comes quickly. The Sabres restart the season Tuesday in Detroit, then play back-to-back games against Boston.

It seems too soon in the hockey calendar to use the term “must win.” It’s not even the halfway point. The games against the Bruins, however, qualify.

The balance of power in the Eastern Conference is tilted heavily toward the Metropolitan Division, which has a realistic shot of claiming five of the eight playoff spots. In order for teams in the Atlantic Division to qualify, they’ll likely need to finish in the top three.

That’s where the Bruins and Sabres come in. Boston is in third place in the Atlantic with 40 points in 36 games. The Sabres are in eighth with 32 points in 33 games.

If the Sabres lose both games to the Bruins, they’ll fall 12 points back. Even with three games in hand, it’s a monumental chore to make up that much ground in a league where three-point games are common.

The Sabres already know it’s going to take time to inch back into contention. They need to win in Detroit before they can focus on the Bruins.

“We’ve got to get our first one before we get our second one,” defenseman Zach Bogosian said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re trying to get out of this and work toward the better side of things.”

The Sabres have a lot of problems, but the biggest seems to be an identity crisis.

The mindset created by coach Dan Bylsma is that Buffalo is a grinding, physical team. The players have accepted that premise, at least outwardly.

“When we turn over pucks and we try to go up and down with these teams that are skilled like Washington, that’s not our brand of hockey,” defenseman Jake McCabe said after a recent loss to the Capitals. “We grind teams down in the offensive zone. We’re not a rush team. We don’t go three-on-two and three-on-two, then have them come back four-on-two. That’s just not our style of play.”

But should it be?

The Sabres have forwards with scoring on their résumé. Three players have topped 30 goals in a season, two others have exceeded 25 and two more have eclipsed 20. That’s more than half of their forward lines.

The only players who are on pace to top 20 goals this year are Jack Eichel (25) and Kyle Okposo (23).

The numbers may go up if the coaches loosen the reins. The Sabres have attempted 1,372 shots at even strength, ahead of only Colorado (1,292), Detroit (1,307) and New Jersey (1,336).

It’s simply the way Bylsma’s system is structured. During his final two seasons with Pittsburgh, the Penguins ranked 22nd in shot attempts. Since he left, they’ve ranked eighth.

“When you’re confronted with a guy in your face, you have to be willing to put the puck by him,” Bylsma said.

The happiest the players have appeared was following a run-and-gun, 6-3 victory over Los Angeles. It showed they could skate and find the net.

However, the players have to absorb some blame for the plodding pace. It’s hard for a coach to trust them to skate up and down the ice when completing a 10-foot pass is an infuriating chore.

“We know we can make tape-to-tape passes,” forward Zemgus Girgensons said. “It’s just mentally preparing for that.”

Mental preparation has not been Buffalo’s strong suit. The Sabres have allowed the opening goal in seven straight games. They’ve scored just 18 first-period goals, ahead of only the 15 put up by Vancouver and Colorado. The players are often uninterested when the puck drops.

On the flip side, that could be a lack of motivation provided by the coaching staff. Though professionals are expected to be ready no matter what, some need more to get the juices flowing.

As of now, nearly everything about the Sabres is flowing downhill.

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