Here's a roundup of national stories about the Bills.
I wrote last week that the Bills' moves preparing for the future didn't indicate a tank, just good business. Responses to that comment weren't great, but maybe people will like it better when Sports Illustrated says the same exact thing.
The quarterbacks in the 2018 draft are intriguing, Albert Breer wrote, but are the Bills tanking for one?
"I’m going to tell you, with confidence, that is not what’s happening in Buffalo," Breer wrote.
Why does he think that? He gave his first reason in bold and italic type: "First-year head coaches have to operate a little differently."
Breer goes on to write that in a conversation with Bills coach Sean McDermott, he got the impression that McDermott sounded more like he was "buying a fixer-upper and taking it down to the studs."
Sometimes I'm amazed that we still have to have a discussion about what tanking is after two years of going through it with the Sabres. Tanking involves management – not players or coaches – making moves to willfully and shamelessly drive a team to the bottom of the standings for a desired purpose, whether it be acquiring high draft picks, slashing expenses or relocating to a warm-weather city.
Players and coaches don't tank. They still try their best, even when the organization is tanking. They've just been set up to fail.
What the Bills seem to be doing this season – and, frankly, what I think many more teams across sports should do – is making a concerted effort to rebuild, to better situate themselves for the future. Rebuilding and tanking have a shared end goal of future success, which is how they get intertwined, but the process is markedly different. The Bills' modus operandi this season is not to be horrendously bad and get a top draft pick; if it is, they're doing a bad job at it, because there are many more moves the Bills could've made to increase those odds.
More teams should commit to rebuilding and focus on the future. The goal of professional sports teams is to win championships (and make money), not just sneak into the playoffs. If that goal looks remote in an honest evaluation of the franchise, and there's no viable path to get into contention, making moves to bring a championship closer in the future should be the logical next step – regardless of what it means for the present.
More owners should give their front office the job security to make that happen.
2. How do Jets media see the Bills?
• The Bills are in "rebuilding mode," Brian Costello of the New York Post wrote.
In his view, the Bills' offensive weakness is the lack of a deep threat, while their defensive weakness is having four new starters in the secondary. Costello picked Jerry Hughes as the defensive player to watch.
• The Bills' "rebuild is going to take some time," Newsday's Bob Glauber wrote.
Meanwhile, Joe Manniello picked the Bills to win the game and cover the point spread, which is 8.5 points.
• The New York Daily News' Hank Gola differed, picking the Jets to cover.
"Their 38-year-old starting QB (Josh McCown) wasn’t good enough for the worst team in the league last year," he wrote. "They will truly be putrid. It’s just that the Bills aren’t nine points better than anyone."
• For a Jets-themed podcast, check out SB Nation blog Gang Green on the Jets' keys to victory.
3. Here's a headline for you: "Why I stopped cheering for the predictably, remarkably and cruelly inept Buffalo Bills."
Yikes. This one comes to us from the National Post, a Canadian outlet.
The Bills were "an easy team to love," Scott Stinson wrote. "And so I did. I know exactly why and when I became a Bills fan.
"I’m less certain of when I stopped being one."