Credibility Gap for Bills Widens

Credibility Gap for Bills Widens

After reading some of the Q&A statements put out by the GM Donahoe this week I continue to wonder what is in the water at One Bills Drive. The responses by Tom Donahoe are so hedged in at this point that it should be a wonder if the man can move.

Two things caught my eye the most. First, is the attitude of the team given its horrendous offensive performances and now it's exposed defense. Second is the play of Bledsoe himself.

Things sure have turned around in a hurry in Buffalo. From offseason and preseason statements spoken of from the thrones of One Bills Drive assuring that the mistakes of the past have now been overcome, that Bledsoe really is a Montana or Esiason type just awaiting proper coaching in order to fulfill Donahoe's promises upon bringing Bledsoe to Buffalo [read save his job and credibility], that any old coach could outcoach the Williams/Gilbride tandem, that a .500 season was all but guaranteed, and that a winning season and even competitiveness on a level with that challenging playoff contention were all but gimme returns on this season; to now, the same people making those statements embarrassing themselves with ridiculous answers to the fans' questions and attempting to defend the indefensible.

Some comments from the most recent Q&A:

Craig (New York): You have stated that there are many "positive signs" that point toward this team winning in the near future. Specifically, what are these "signs"? And how long should fans expect to wait for this winning to take place? (Great question Craig!)

TD: We're hoping it starts this week in New York. We have a new staff and we have an outstanding young head coach who is going to get better as he grows with the job and with the team. We have some young players that continue to make great strides. Just to name one, Terrence McGee up to this point in the season has done a great job as a defensive back and as a returner. There are a lot of players on both sides of the ball who are continuing to get better and we feel very confident that with Mike Mularkey's leadership and the attitude of the players that we have we will get this thing turned around. When that will exactly be, it's hard to say when that will occur. I do know that the players and the coaches are going to work extremely hard to make it happen as quickly as they can.

We're hoping it starts this week in New York: And if not? How long will these "broken record" statements continue? Last week you had two weeks to prepare and fell flat against a Pat team that played below par for itself at home in Buffalo. "It's hard to say when that will occur?" You jest, surely!

See, the problem here Mr. Donahoe is that you promised that this team would be competitive from game one this season and unmistakably told the fans and media that this team had all the talent and more in place already and as prepared as it ever needed to be but needed only coaching. As well, quite frankly game one was more than very winnable. You then insisted that your coaching hire of Mike Mularkey & Co. was the solution. Yet, they have thus far only proven no better than (to be polite) the last coaching staff that was kicked out of Buffalo on merits of complete incompetence. You then insisted that your new solutions would not have these issues.

Could it not perhaps be that your decisions are simply stated, not the best decisions? We, the fans and media, know full well that everyone is "working hard" and do not challenge this notion. What your critics are challenging you on are your assessments of "talent" and more specifically how you "put it all together" to make the sum total less than the sum of the parts. Instead, what fans now see is a sum that should easily add up to a certain amount, but which you are only able to get to add up to a fraction of that amount when considered collectively.

As to "when that will occur," with your ‘star' players primarily either failed here in Buffalo or aging, many would suggest that if they are to hold their breath on the matter that they would soon die from asphyxiation.

On Offensive Performance:

The facts on this one are simple. I suppose that according to the rankings the Bills are no worse. And that's what it's all about, rankings, right! Just ask the defense.

But at present, the Bills are way under pace of last season's pathetic offense and on pace to become one of the NFL's all-time most vapid offenses of all time.

They have significant line issues and now with expected injuries to their starters, primarily the three starters that they could least afford to lose to injury, Jennings, Villarrial, and now Teague, things will grow dicier from week to week.

On Bledsoe:

This one's really, really simple! Upon Bledsoe's acquisition, the team's position was that yes, he had been playing poorly, but because there were no strings attached to his acquisition, it was a no-brainer try at reviving him, and should he not play well, the team could easily release him at no cost to the team. It sounded good! Forget whether or not this was in the best interests of the team at the time even. Where there's a player personnel challenge, there's Tom Donahoe, waiving his placard in the auction to try and prove whatever it is he is attempting to prove.

But the facts spell out something different with the Bills now holding a bag with all kinds of strings attached, wasted time and wasted seasons, and even team disunity, non-competitiveness, and disarray as they are on the front edge of yet a second rebuilding period under Donahoe's tenure.

The facts are that Bledsoe has only had a handful of good games and the vast majority of those were against "nothing" teams in games that the Bills should have been able to win with Rob Johnson at QB. Several of those were even then only won because the defense turned a superlative performance.

This past Sunday's game vs. the Patriots is yet another example of the front office using below average play to justify notions of improvement, for a 12-year vet I once again reiterate.

Some questions of my own:

To Coaches Mularkey, Clements, and Wyche:

Q: You exclaimed boldly at the beginning of the season that Bledsoe was only a "wee bit of coaching", my term, away from becoming Montana and Esiason like. Why hasn't that happened and can you give us a timeline of this expectation coming to pass please? What, two seasons, three, five? Follow on: If you do not see this coming to pass, which was off, your estimations and assessments, or your abilities to do what you said you would do? Drew Bledsoe is a twelve-year veteran, not an unaccomplished rookie or second/third year guy.

To GM Tom Donahoe:

You have taken some tremendous risks in managing and staffing this team's roster. Yet, none of these most risky, as well as very costly in one form or another, acquisitions, among which are Bledsoe, McGahee, Ryan Denney, Chris Kelsay, and Lee Evans not one of whom has performed to the level justifying either the time, draft pick or trade-up, and/or financial investment that the Bills made in them. Q: Given the risks that you have taken, coupled with the fact that few, if any, have worked out as having been worth the risks, certainly considering that as a collective these risky decisions have failure written all over them, why should such failures be rewarded with continued stewardship of our team and why should the fans continue to put their trust in confidence in you going forward?

Also, you made it absolutely clear prior to the season starting, that this offense would be corrected, that a "deep threat WR" was the primary "missing element" to making this offense go, and that anything short of a winning season, not a .500 season, but a winning season, was unacceptable. At this point in time given the state of the offense coupled with recent history suggesting that the defense is not capable of keeping a lid on decent offenses, many of which we face this season yet, and given that our offense cannot score without significant help from the defense and special teams or a prevent defense, now a factor in all four touchdowns scored by this team, and given that it will take a finishing 9-4 record to achieve your promised goal and minimal acceptable finish, what should happen to you and the others at the top of this organization if this season continues on in the trend and manner that is it now headed? I only ask because based on your own statements, all that intelligent fans seem to be seeing is excuse making and whitewashing of lemons in vain attempts to make them look like hot rods.

Also, should the team finish below last season's mark of 6-10, what reason is there why you should not resign outright given that it is highly probable that during your tenure you will have compiled the worst winning percentage of any team in the AFC during that stretch and will be challenging for the same "honor" league-wide?

Those are the tough questions! Answers?

To discuss this article or other issues on the Bills, Tune into "The 2004 Bills Report" which can be heard live on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. over the Internet at www.broadcastmonsters.com. Call into the show live at 1-877-913-9739.

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net

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