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Jerry Sullivan's Mailbag: Bottoming out is best for the Bills

The Mailbag is back after a one-week sabbatical at the Super Bowl. As you might have heard, Tom Brady had a pretty good night in Houston, leading the Patriots back from a 25-point deficit against the Falcons.

It's not exactly news that I've considered Brady the best quarterback of all time for quite some time. As far as I was concerned, he didn't need to win a fifth Super Bowl – or a fourth, for that matter, to merit the distinction.

Now it's a universally held belief. So many people have hopped on board that my boat is taking on water. Winning a fifth Super Bowl made the difference for a lot of the skeptics. I guess getting to seven Bowls and winning five was enough to trump Joe Montana going 4 for 4 and never throwing a pick.

But imagine if the Seahawks had run the ball at the 1-yard line two years ago and scored. And if Atlanta had won the OT toss Sunday and scored a TD on the first possession to win. Brady would be 3-4 in Super Bowls, despite leading the two greatest fourth-quarter comebacks and losing because the other team scored last.

Would he not be the greatest ever? Did he have to win both games to become the GOAT? On to the Mailbag:

Scott in Jax asks: Shouldn't a 17-year playoff drought result in a different strategy at One Bills Drive? What about a bottom-out, rebuild type plan? Move to the top of the board and get the Franchise QB they desperately need?

Sully: They should bottom out. They're bound to get worse before they get better with this roster, so they'll be spinning their wheels if Doug Whaley makes more desperate short-term moves in his latest attempt to "win now" and justify his dubious run.

Whaley gave the impression that they were scaling back a few weeks ago when he talked about it being a long-term process with Sean McDermott. Naturally, he walked back his remarks, either because he doesn't want it to seem they're prepared to lose in the short term, or because he's going to middle it.

It gets back to the quarterback, as always. If they're looking to make a playoff run, they'll keep Tyrod Taylor or go after a top veteran. A CBS Sports report said, "There's an argument to be made that the Bills are only a quarterback away from the playoffs, and Tony Romo could make this a win-win for both parties."

Yeah, and it's a bad argument on the part of another national writer who overrates the talent in Buffalo. Going after Romo would be a futile, stupid gesture. As they say in Animal House, they're just the guys to do it.

Getting Romo would be an ill-advised move to stay relevant and sell tickets. It would be worse than the Bledsoe deal 15 years ago. Bledsoe had a few good moments, but that trade triggered a prolonged stretch of organizational dysfunction and a playoff drought that stands at 17 years.

If they're serious about Romo, they're rebuilding on the fly. As you suggest, after 17 years, they should be adopting a more sensible strategy.

Jim from Skaneateles asks: The Bills are huddling to see how they feel about Taylor remaining as QB. What would McDermott know about that? Whaley is the only person who could make that determination. Why is this a "team" decision?

Sully: Whaley knows Taylor's limitations better than anyone. He said before the season he needed to see more, and Tyrod regressed. It should be his call. But the Pegulas have given McDermott a big say in personnel, which includes the decision on Taylor's big contract extension.

The group decision gives Whaley an out if it blows up in their faces. But remember, Taylor was Rex Ryan's guy. I suspect Whaley would be glad to move on and find the next QB in the draft. A rebuild would be the ultimate face-saving move for an embattled general manager.

McDermott knows more than you give him credit for. He has eyes. Like anyone else, he can watch film and see Taylor's limitations as a passer. As a defensive coach, he must know that Tyrod – despite his brilliance as a runner – is an easy guy to prepare for.

So if they keep Taylor, it will reflect badly on McDermott, who should be looking long-term rather than trying to win eight or nine games right away.

Stephen Dahlin asks: What's your take on the Charles Oakley situation? He was always one of my favorite Knicks. It's awful what owner James Dolan has done to my favorite franchise.

Dan Meyer of Hamburg asks: What relationship do you consider to be more toxic: Phil Jackson/Carmelo Anthony or James Dolan/Charles Oakley?

Sully: The biggest story in sports over the last few days was Oakley being forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden, presumably on Dolan's order, and arrested on assault and trespassing charges by the New York City police.

It was a horrible PR move, treating one of the franchise's beloved heroes that way. Oakley, the symbol of the Knicks' toughness in their 90's run, has been feuding with Dolan because he feels snubbed by the organization. This episode give fans even more reason to despise Dolan.

Still, the deteriorating relationship between Jackson and Anthony is the more toxic. It involves the man running the team and his star player, the centerpiece of his franchise. Anthony is a flawed superstar, but it's Jackson who put a sorry product on the floor and he looks petty taking shots at Anthony in public.

Dolan/Oakley is ugly, but it doesn't affect the team on the floor. Bills fans should be happy. The Knicks have done the improbable: They've ripped away the title of most dysfunctional team in pro sports.

Ed from Tonawanda asks: How much longer do we need to put up with Dan Bylsma? He's a terrible game-day coach.

Sully: Bylsma hasn't distinguished himself since coming to the Sabres. Some of his methods are curious, and conservative. But it's not his fault that GM Tim Murray assembled a putrid defense corps. They're allowing the most shots in the NHL. And people want him to open it up more?

There's no way the Pegulas fire him any time soon. They just whacked Rex Ryan after two years. It would be an utter embarrassment to fire both of their "star" head coaches. Bylsma inherited a bottom-feeder and deserves time to turn it around with a young group.

A number of NHL teams have scapegoated head coaches this year for messes not largely of their own making. The Sabres should know better.

Richard Steinberg asks: Rumors from last month had Andrew McCutchen going to the Yankees, Blue Jays, etc. – and now silence. Was last year an off year or the beginning of a downslide? What would GM Jerry Sullivan do?

Sully: I'm old enough to remember the Reds traded Frank Robinson when he turned 30, thinking he had hit the wall. F. Robby won MVP and a Triple Crown with the Orioles the next season. McCutchen just turned 30. He'll move from center to right this year to make room for Starling Marte. That should be good for his overall health.

I think "Cutch" will bounce back and have a great season. He was top five in the MVP race four years in a row before slipping a year ago. It's too soon to give up on him and I'm glad the Pirates' efforts to trade him failed during the Winter Meetings.

McCutchen relinquished the center-field job for the good of the team. He's a beloved figure in Pittsburgh, the face of the franchise and one of my favorite players in baseball.

James Griffin asks: I will be making my first trip to the Masters in eight weeks. Any tips?

Sully: You should scope out the tee at "Juniper", the par-3 sixth hole. It's a downhill shot over a steep ravine to a massive, undulating green. The view from the bank above the tee has been called "the most thrilling spectator perch" at Augusta.

Amen Corner is an obvious treat. I'll never forget sitting in a tiny media grandstand inside the ropes on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Masters. You mere spectators should be so lucky.

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