Buffalo Bills: #ItsNotAllEJsFault

EJ struggled with reads, but the O-Line really let him down. - Photo via www.syracuse.com

EJ struggled with reads, but the O-Line really let him down. – Photo via http://www.syracuse.com

When it was made official that Chan Gailey wouldn’t be back, Bills fans were excited about the possibilities. With coaching prospects like Chip Kelly and Lovie Smith available gave us visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Though we couldn’t land Chip Kelly who was playing hard to get anyways, the Bills went after Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. They sold him as the next best thing to Chip Kelly. He was a younger coach that was going to bring new ideas and help change the culture like he did in Syracuse. He spent time as the OC for the Saints so he knows what it takes to win. Two years into the Doug Marrone era and its littered with head scratching decisions. Marrone seems more like a young Dick Jauron than the second coming of Chip Kelly. Being a first time coach I expect some hiccups along the way but managing a football game should be common place for a head coach. Marrone still doesn’t understand you coach to win not coach how not to lose. Its seems most Bills coaches are ultra conservative. Conservative offenses don’t win championships. This is something Bills coaching staffs don’t seem to understand. Chan Gailey at least knew how to coach to his teams strengths. The result was CJ Spiller being one of the best running backs in the league and a decent offense behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. The list of head scratching decisions by this coaching staff is a mile long. The only answer that seems logical is that these guys are scared and they are coaching for their jobs.

Gamechanging play by JJ Watt, Is this how we will remember EJ going forward? photos.syracuse.com

Gamechanging play by JJ Watt, Is this how we will remember EJ going forward? photos.syracuse.com

Mr. Wilson’s passing really made the organization uneasy. Upper management went about their business like a rudderless ship. Most of the questionable decisions lie with Russ Brandon. Extending Fitz to a 5 yr 60 million contract then cutting him the following year. Extending and then Trading away Stevie Johnson after acquiring Sammy Watkins. Trading away next year’s first round pick to get Watkins. Placing all their eggs in the EJ basket; A QB that everyone said wasn’t ready to start and needed time to develop. From the way they handled the QB position cutting Fitz to signing Kolb. They repeatedly told us they liked their QBs in regards to Tuel and Lewis behind Manuel. They were afraid to cut Tuel thinking someone would snatch him up. A year later both QBs are cut and Tuel is on the practice squad; no one attempted to sign him. Then the Bills go out and write a blank check to Kyle Orton. The Orton signing raised a lot of red flags on how they feel about EJ.

This week Orton will be starting. This is a risky move for the staff. This could shake EJ’s confidence in himself and his team. It could destroy him like so many other young QBs we’ve seen in Buffalo. Is the GM and CEO making Marrone take the fall by having him say this is his decision? Perhaps it really is and Marrone is trying to right a ship placed in the wrong direction by management. Maybe management pressured Marrone to start EJ. Maybe the signing of Kolb was done to get Manuel out earlier than he should have been. Let’s be honest Manuel is better than Kolb. Maybe It was a fixed competition that was never going to see Kolb be the starter. There were reports of a turmoil between management and the coaching staff this season. Perhaps it’s a scenario where there are too many hands in the cookie jar. Winning is everything and the Bills are now making desperate moves but are those moves to win now or save jobs?

Teams generally don’t go to camp with 4 QBs then cut three of them after the 4th preseason game and sign a guy off the street and pay him starter type money. Should we have expected anything less from this coaching staff though? Marrone’s a guy who punts from the opponents 39 on 4th and 3. Takes timeouts into the locker room and tells EJ to run out-of-bounds or slide 5 yards before contact. Marrone brought in Nathaniel Hackett who isn’t an NFL OC. His play calling is to basic for the NFL level. They have no idea how to use CJ Spiller. They are still using the read option Scheme when their QB and team are better equipped to run a spread or Pistol offense. EJ isn’t a scrambling QB in the NFL, he’s a pocket QB who’s actually worse when moving outside the pocket. What surprises me the most is that fans can see all this, so how come the coaches can’t? With Orton Starting this week, they will have to scrap the read option plays so it’ll be interesting to see what they go with. I expect to see a lot of shot-gun spread and pistol formations. They may also need a lot of motion with CJ spiller to confuse the defense. If we start seeing a lot of max protect with two TE’s, don’t expect to the Bills to win.

Say Hello to your new QB - Kyle Orton. - Photo via www.syracuse.com

The Kyle Orton Era has begun. – Photo via http://www.syracuse.com

I like EJ and I think he has all the physical tools to be a good QB. EJ just isn’t doing anything to win over his detractors. Take all 9 games he’s played in this year and he’s looked ok in 2 and bad in 7. I hope this benching gives EJ a chance to reflect. Maybe he comes out of this refreshed. Maybe he gets a chance to study film, see what he’s doing wrong and fix it. His main problems are his reads and accuracy. Maybe the accuracy can’t be fixed or maybe its a product of his failure to read the defense correctly. EJ may have to tune out his coaches and just go play the game. Take the hits, show fans Fitzpatrick type heart and prove he wants to do whatever it takes to win. We have yet to see that fiery leadership from EJ. Wheres the will to win? Stop sliding and running out-of-bounds 2 yards before a first down. Own this team and you’ll own the fans. We don’t need EJ to be Jim Kelly, we just need EJ to be EJ and make plays when we need him the most. He shows us flashes of that play making, he just need consistency. Its hard but we have to be patient. Even Peyton Manning struggled his first year. Keep your head up EJ, go to work and come back with a chip on your shoulder. Show those who don’t billieve why the should billieve in you!

By: Jason Sinsabaugh

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