The Next Journey

March 11, 2018

Players come and go, but the quarterbacks define the team.  At least they do for me.  Sure we’ve had some cup-of-coffee starters that are fun to throw around in instant trivia, but the bigger players represent a time the Bills seemed committed to an idea.  Their level of commitment, however, hasn't always been what it could have been.

Bledsoe.  Losman.  Edwards.  Fitz.  EJ.  Tyrod

With each name you can think back to the moment you might have believed in it, and the moment you gave up on it.  

I’m happy that the Bills have decided to commit to a direction because as you drift down that list, it starts to look like the team was treating the QB as some sort of patchwork position. 

If we go back to JP Losman’s first appearance in a game… it was a mess.  He sees action in New England, in mop-up duty, totally unprepared.  The following year the Bills pulled the plug after four games.  The job goes to Trent Edwards because the Bills don’t have time to develop Losman...they have to win some games, right?  Enter Trent Edwards.  Some good, lots of woof.  Then the lengthy Fitz era.  Some good, lots of woof.

The next time the Bills draft a QB high it’s EJ Manuel.  The Bills take a guy that's so coveted they could move down and still get him in the middle of the 1st round.  He wasn’t supposed to start as a rookie but had to after Kevin Kolb slipped on a mat.  Manuel’s first season offered some positives and we had eyes on season two bringing that next step.  He got four games before an out-of-retirement Kyle Orton swooped in to take his job for good.

Orton retires, and Tyrod Taylor steps in, winning the job.

What separates Tyrod from the rest, is that he might have been good enough to build around a little more.  Instead, he was almost always viewed as a short term answer.  Tyrod’s 2015 was as promising a season that a Bills QB had from start to finish since…. who knows when.  

The 2016 draft went defense, defense, defense, and then quarterback.  (This, by the way, is one of those years the team had "other holes to fill".)

Think about that for a second.  The Bills have maybe found something that could work offensively, but the coach is a ground-and-pound dinosaur that needs his picks spent on defense.  None of the help goes to the offense, and what happens the following year?

The QB-OC pairing that had shown you several good things... lasted two games. 

The defense is a mess, but the Offensive Coordinator gets fired.  Taylor struggled at the start of that season but was it cause enough to dump the idea of Taylor and Greg Roman together permanently?  Roman’s departure always struck me as odd, like he was thrown into the volcano for the failings of the team.  And instead of opening up the offense, and trying to tweak things with the pair that had worked well together in 2015, the team turned back in on itself and it’s ground-and-pound mentality. 

The Bills almost always kick the QB decision down the line, avoiding the risk.  The Bills are endlessly building to win with defense.  The Bills have long treated QB like it’s just a piece of the puzzle, failing to adequately match personnel or coaching staff.  The hire of Rick Dennison was wrong the day it happened.  We may have been wrong about a lot with the 2017 Bills, but so many were right in thinking that Dennison and Taylor shouldn’t be a match.  One year later, both men are gone from the organization and the Bills hit the reset button at the position again.


Taylor may do well in Cleveland.  I’d predict his ceiling is a little higher than his 2015 season, and that he could put a little juice in that Browns offense.  I'm not trying to paint a picture that Tyrod Taylor got a raw deal, or that the Bills grossly mishandled him.  Sure, that evidence exists but to me it falls apart as soon as you look at the larger reality - They never believed in him.  They weren't going to invest in him.  They, like several teams in the NFL, think that you should want a starting QB that's better.  I have no problem with that, and I sense most Bills fans feel similarly.

Taylor will always be the guy that was at the helm when the Bills ended the drought.  

He'll always be viewed as a good person, that didn't get the best set of circumstances during his time here.  

I think Bills fans will wish him well, but be easily consoled the moment the Bills have someone better.

I hope this signals a fundamental change in how the organization is run ON the field.  I hope this regime is bent on getting a top notch QB at nearly all costs.  I desperately want to watch the Bills jump into modern day football, rather than endlessly fearing their own QB and passing game.

The change won’t happen overnight, and it’s no guarantee that it’s going to work.  But to me, it’s a trip worth taking.  

Got a cheesy quote to apply to it… so here goes:

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”

The safety of Taylor, and the shore… are gone.  A new journey begins.