Merry Christmas Eve everyone. Here a few quick thoughts this A.M. on the Buffalo Bills...
1. Caution on Bill Polian. The News caught up with the former Bills GM and current Pro Football Hall of Famer. Polian said he would like to help out the Bills, and only the Bills, in a consulting role. This news will likely recharge a sagging fan base looking for something, anything that'll rejuvenate them into the holidays. But just because Polian helped bring the Bills back to relevancy in the 1980's doesn't mean he could do it in 2016. He had a few head-scratching takes on the current team. Polian called the Bills' offensive line "aging an unathletic." That doesn't compute when you look at the age of the starters up front --- Cordy Glenn (26), Richie Incognito (32), Eric Wood (29), John Miller (22) and Seantrel Henderson (23). Not to mention the two oldest members of the group are coming off career seasons in which they're both Pro Bowl alternates. This Bills offense has been at its best when running sweeps and stretch plays behind a pulling Incognito. Polian also said how alarming it is that there are nine players on the team that are 30 years or older, and yet the likes of Carolina, New England, Arizona, Denver, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all have that many. One could also argue a completely objective, outsider view --- one with zero past ties to the Bills at all --- would actually be best consulting view. Maybe even a younger view.
On one hand, Polian says he wants back in. On the other, he then pretty much rips Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and the personnel in place.
Yeah, things might get interesting if the Bills do bring Polian back.
2. Appreciate the honesty. It is strange to see the criticism thrown Buffalo's way this week on social media and elsewhere. Many have ripped players for being honest, for speaking their mind and questioned Rex Ryan for not muzzling his players. C'mon. Today's NFL is a cliche-driven industry where so many players on so many teams are programmed to say the same thing. I love the fact that Ryan gives players a voice here. He is 100 percent right in saying this all provides fans "a true picture of this team." Ryan also added that "Sometimes it’s gonna be very positive. Sometimes you’re gonna be negative and this just in, I think when the season doesn’t go very well – we know what it looks like." Criticize Ryan all you want but the Bills aren't 6-8 because he lets players speak their mind. They are 6-8 because players are confused on defense, they've broken in a new starter at QB, injuries and other on-field issues... issues everyone knows about because they don't scold players for speaking their mind here. And, hey, remember Sammy Watkins telling us he wanted the ball? Ten targets a game? Speaking up actually helped there.
It's OK for a player to be angry. It is a basic human emotion.
3. Youth watch. The Bills are out of the playoffs. There isn't much to play for at all. These final two games, Buffalo will get a close look at a handful of younger players. Running back Mike Gillislee deserves a long look. He's averaging 10.4 yards per carry. With LeSean McCoy nursing a knee injury, the former Florida Gator could keep getting the ball. Rookie wide receiver Dez Lewis, after spending all season on the practice squad, will finally get a chance with Robert Woods on injured reserve. Tight end Nick O'Leary should see a ton of time. And defensively, expect Ryan to cycle many different players in. Why not? Depth has been a problem all season for the Bills, but they need to get a clearer idea of who's worth keeping around into 2016. Mario Butler deserves snaps at cornerback. Audition different pass rushers. There are areas where coaches can start looking at other players.
And then when the off-season arrives, those "drastic" changes Ryan mentioned can begin with a better idea of what the Bills have on the roster.