Despite an off-season filled with moves that seemed to indicate that Buffalo’s new front office was punting on the present in the hopes of building a better future, the Bills started this year with a surprising 5-2 record. Even after a puzzling loss to the Jets and an absolute thrashing at the hands of the resurgent Saints, the Bills were 5-4 and sitting in the AFC’s last playoff spot. Considering what was expected of the team heading into this season and that – as I am contractually obligated to tell you – the Bills haven’t made the postseason since 1999, it was hard to consider Buffalo’s 5-4 start as anything but a success.
Unless, apparently, you’re Sean McDermott, Buffalo’s first year head coach. After his team was pummeled 47-10 by the Saints, McDermott decided that the steady if unspectacular play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor simply wasn’t cutting it and instead inserted rookie Nathan Peterman (a.k.a. a guy that no one had ever heard of) into the starting lineup. It, um, didn’t go very well.
The Bills may not be a dominant team like the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots, but they have a few pieces (an explosive running back, playmakers on defense and – here’s the troubling one – a steady quarterback) that give them a chance to win on any given Sunday. They’re not “start a developmental fifth-round pick at quarterback for no reason” bad. The AFC is a mess and the Bills have – or at least had – a legitimate shot at a playoff spot and, considering that their last playoff birth is almost two decades in the rearview, it’s safe to say the Bills’ “rebuild” has gone on long enough. At the risk of invoking Herm Edwards and enraging Process Truthers everywhere, let me be clear: the Bills should be playing to win the game.
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