I already had it written. If the Buffalo Bills lost against the Chargers on Sunday, I was going to write a post next week that boldly labeled the 2017 Buffalo Bills as the ‘same old Bills:’ just another cookie cutter team during the sad and embarrassing playoff drought.
But Sean McDermott changed that for me today. If the Bills lose this Sunday, if the Bills somehow manage to start the season 5-2 and follow that up with a 5 game losing streak, I will not be able to label this team like the teams of previous years. This team, this coach, this approach, is different. The ‘same old Bills’ would not do what Sean McDermott did today. The ‘same old Bills’ would not say what Sean McDermott said today. As if you weren’t aware by the trading of fan favorite receiver Sammy Watkins, the trading of Ronald Darby, the preseason benching and later trading of Marcell Dareus, then you should know by now that this team is not the ‘same old Bills’. I should have known that this team wasn’t like other teams. Sean McDermott made that crystal clear for me today with the benching of Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman.
Let’s take a look at some of the most telling quotes that Sean McDermott had today:
“This is a decision about becoming a better team.”
I think there are a few avenues to take with this quote. On the surface, he is saying that Peterman allows the Bills to become a better team. I am not sure that I believe that and I am not sure that is true. I certainly hope it is true and I know that Peterman will be willing to make the throws that Tyrod won’t…but I am not sure if that means they are automatically a better team today now that Tyrod is on the bench. How it does make this team better is because either one way or another, the Bills are closer to the franchise quarterback that they need than they were at the beginning of the day.
“We want to win now and in the future.”
This is one of McDermott’s mottos. Today, he reminded us that this move will not only benefit the Bills next Sunday against the Chargers, but also in the future. How can this be? Well, because the Bills will have an answer either way. If Peterman does enough to take the Bills into the playoffs, then they most likely have their quarterback for next year, and possibly beyond. If Peterman suffers through the growing pains of a rookie QB, then the Bills will be closer to the bottom of the standings, opening up options in the draft next spring.
“We are made for more than 5-4 and I’ve come here to be more than 5-4.”
This quote may be the one that excites me more than anything. Good for Sean McDermott for realizing that he didn’t come here to be a .500 coach and to sneak into the playoffs. That is what Tyrod Taylor gives you. Tyrod has a 19-18 career record. It is pretty clear that in a couple years if McDermott has a head coaching record that is hovering around .500 then he would admit that it is not good enough. Taylor has not been good enough, and I am glad that we finally have a head coach that is willing to take a risk, accepting that .500 and sneaking into the playoffs isn’t something to strive for.
“It’s about getting us to where we’re trying to go, to win a championship. Everyone wants to get the playoffs, I understand that and that’s important. At the end of the day it is about trying to become the football team that the fans of western New York and the Buffalo Bills fans of the world have dreamed of for years.”
Woah. That’s a loaded quote. To me, this sounds a lot like a coach who is preparing the fans for the bigger picture. While McDermott admits that getting to the playoffs is important, he knows that it is not the ultimate goal. Since getting here last January, McDermott has talked so much about sustained success. Sustained success is not a 16/21, 180 yds, 1 TD stat line. Sustained success is not the 30th best passing offense. Not in this league. Not in a league that values the quarterback more than any other position. Credit to McDermott for knowing this, and for taking action.
Today’s move is a great one for the Bills. Either Peterman plays well and makes the playoffs (in which case the Bills probably have a QB for next year) or Peterman struggles and the Bills have their answer on him (allowing them to target a QB in the draft with their two 1st round picks.) But the best part of today, and the part that has me smiling, is that today Sean McDermott was down by multiple scores in the fourth quarter and instead of checking down to his running back, he launched that football so far down field everyone in the NFL took notice. And that is anything but the ‘same old Bills’.
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