On the first day of the year, Bill Polian turned down a chance to oversee the Buffalo Bills’ football operations.
As he told Vic Carucci at the time, Buffalo’s head coach left, the quarterback retired and the job became a “real heavy lift.” So after speaking to owner Terry Pegula about taking on a “mentoring/advisory” role during the holiday, Polian decided to pass.
A lot has changed since then on the roster.
The Bills landed Rex Ryan as head coach, traded for LeSean McCoy, added two more weapons in tight end Charles Clay and wide receiver Percy Harvin and re-signed Jerry Hughes.
Thus, Polian said it should be “an exciting year” in Buffalo. He likes the moves Buffalo made. But on Thursday, the Canton-bound former G.M. also noted the looming uncertainty at quarterback. The sudden departure of veteran Kyle Orton, who completed 64% of his passes for 3,018 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions seemed to be a big factor for Polian.
“The Orton retirement came as a shock to I think everyone,” Polian said. “It looked as though they had a quarterback who could at the very least be a bridge to the guy who’d be the eventual standard-bearer for the franchise whoever that might be and then he abruptly decided to end his career. So that was an incredible shock.
“I think they’ve done some really good things which are obvious — ‘Shady’ McCoy being the most notable but there are others as well. The re-signing of Jerry Hughes. Obviously Rex and what he brings in terms of spirit, aggressiveness, defensive acumen, the addition of Greg Roman, who’s offensive approach will be a very, very good fit with the way Rex plays defense and what looks to be a pretty exciting draft. So it’s going to be, if nothing else, a very exciting year.”
Of course, the Bills still have to figure out the most important position in the game when everyone returns to St. John Fisher College for training camp.
The Matt Cassel/Tyrod Taylor/E.J. Manuel Derby begins soon.
“Obviously the big question is who plays quarterback?” Polian said. “And we’ll find that out as the preseason goes along. The battle for the starting job at that position will be I think the No. 1 story in Buffalo and maybe even around the National Football League as we go forward. I, like every other Bills fan, will be watching that with a lot of interest.”