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Letters for Jan. 31

Bills have a lot to do on their 2016 fix-it list

It’s no secret that the Bills’ defense underperformed in 2015. The best coaches in the NFL understand that they must adjust their system to the strengths of their players. Instead, Rex Ryan tried fitting the players into his system. That is the main reason that the defense regressed from fourth ranked in 2014 to 19th this season.

To make matters worse, highly regarded defensive back coach Donnie Henderson is no longer with the team. This is a big blow to the defense. Under Henderson’s tutelage, Gilmore and Darby became one the very best cornerback tandems in the league. The coaching staff is significantly weakened by his departure.

Another coaching head scratcher is the arrival of Rob Ryan, Other than nepotism, why is he here? His defenses with New Orleans, as well as his two previous teams, were ranked well below average.

From a salary cap standpoint, the coming months will be challenging for the Bills management. They have more player needs than they will be able to afford. Glenn and Incognito must be signed and the precarious injury situation of Aaron Williams is worrisome. So is Seantrel Henderson’s health as he battles Crohn’s disease.

One positive this offseason was retaining GM Doug Whaley. Oh sure, he’s had his busts, EJ Manuel and Cyrus Kouandjio, but he also brought in McCoy, Taylor, Darby and Watkins.

To date, the Bills offseason moves have been less than stellar. Here’s hoping they get their act together from now through training camp. A year from today, no Buffalo fan wants to be lamenting a 17th consecutive nonplayoff season.

Dennis Weber

Buffalo

Quality control hire Smith may bring good karma

The Buffalo Bills have added Kathryn Smith to their staff as a full-time assistant coach. The hiring is an NFL first and a woman’s touch as a hire may be just what the doctor ordered for the Buffalo Bills and may change their luck.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

With Ryan and Whaley, Bills can recover from 2015

As a longtime fan of the Bills I found this past season the most frustrating ever.

So much hope and so many moments of anguish. The hiring of Rex Ryan was a good move. I had no problems with talk of the playoffs. I expect that from a coach. Throughout the year he kept his chin up and always looked on the bright side of things.

The QB position ended up going to Tyrod Taylor. Very good stats but many times the Bills had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to tie or win the game and we came up empty. Many times he made the frustrating decision of throwing long on 3rd-and-short or on 3rd-and-10 throwing a 2-yard pass that came up way short.

The bright side with Tyrod is he can fix those issues. Lean on Sammy Watkins and Charles Clay. Hopefully we can re-sign Incognito and Glenn and bolster the line at right tackle and backups. Watkins can be a top five in the league at wide receiver.

On defense we need to get better at linebacker. We need to add a safety that can strike fear into wide receivers. This has to be one of our biggest needs.

Hearing Rex’s end of the year recap got me excited about next year. We do have a good team and another year with the same coaches will only be a positive point in getting better. The contract extension of Doug Whaley is a good thing. He continually brings in new talent and oversees strong drafts. Whaley isn’t afraid to take chances or tough decisions, like cutting Fred Jackson. Another good draft and possibly drafting another QB is imperative to the Bills.

I’m sure by the time July rolls around with great ownership and the belief that with Ryan and Whaley anything will be possible. Great things can happen next year. The bad taste of last year will fade.

Phil Gibson

North Tonawanda

Only raise ticket prices if team makes postseason

I have been a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder for many, many years. This year the Bills wasted no time in mailing out my season ticket renewal after the season was over. I was less than happy to see a 6 percent increase in the cost after having seen a double-digit percent increase the previous year.

At one time I had heard that Bills tickets were among the cheapest in the NFL but I am not sure that is still the case. I am inspired by the recent coaching changes and I’m more than happy to pay to be able to see the Bills. However, I think the prices should reflect the performance.

Based on the dismal season and the record playoff drought it would be nice to see the Bills freeze prices until they can make a playoff appearance.

Tim Romance

Lancaster

Playoff train departed with Bills left at station

I am using this forum to vent my frustration with the 2015 Bills season.

First of all, Rex Ryan is not a head coach in the NFL. He is at best a good DC or sales rep for someone. I feel sorry for all the season ticket holders and the owners who have paid good money to watch mediocrity play on Sunday.

Second, Ryan lost the support of the players this season. He finally acknowledged after 14 games his defensive scheme was too complicated. Really? Other problems involved replay screening, getting plays in faster and holding his players responsible for taking stupid penalties.

Third, could that “locomotive sound” played on third downs stop? Maybe next year that sound will make more sense but right now all I see is a man wearing a Bills cap selling snake oil from the caboose. Any takers?

Tim Strauch

Cheektowaga

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