Buffalo Bills: Things We Know This Week
Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie was one of the most noteworthy quarterback controversies of our time.
“Love you Buffalo, it’s been real.” – Matt Barkley
64 touchdowns to 37 interceptions with a Pro-Bowl on his resume makes the 2017 second overall draft pick, Mitchell Trubisky, a compelling signing by Brandon Beane.
“I’ve got a quick release, and I can throw the ball accurately as long as I bring my feet with me.” – Mitchell Trubisky
Did that statement get you excited? A quote can be more relevant based on who the player is. Try this one instead:
“There is no defense against a perfect pass. I can throw the perfect pass.” – Dan Marino
Boom. Much better.
Trubisky had not turned out to be the franchise quarterback the Bears had projected of him. Beane continues mastering the one-year contract, aiding in managing the salary cap. The Mcbeane administration realized the Bills are a relevant championship competitor needing to have a backup quarterback that could play with some success when needed. Matt Barkley was the ideal clipboard holder and team player helping Josh Allen develop almost as a second quarterback coach. If Allen happens to have the durability, toughness, and luck that Brett Favre had (297 consecutive starts/321 counting playoffs), Barkley and Allen could be that match made in heaven.
“Injuries obviously change the way you approach the game.” – Brett Favre
Most NFL quarterbacks have seasons that they miss significant time due to injuries. Matt Barkley has not shown that he could play and win any significant stretch of games.
The wife and I spent last week in Ellicottville/Holiday Valley for yet another Covid-19-friendly get-away. A group of Bills fans were sitting at Ellicottville Brewery not too far from our seats. I was not using any spy technology to invade their privacy. They were extremely loud as they were drinking and having fun. So, my eavesdropping was justified. They were debating if the Mitchell Trubisky signing could evolve into a quarterback controversy. A couple of the group were very high on Trubisky. They promoted him based on his North Carolina Tar Heels days and NFL Pro-Bowl selection. Before I could chime in, the two were already being blasted by the other four in the group.
“If you didn’t want to believe in me, that’s OK, because I’ll make a believer out of you.” – Josh Allen
A boisterous member of their crew emphatically proclaimed, “Two years ago…maybe. After this past season, Josh Allen elevated his status to the NFL elite. The Bills are his team. You clowns want to turn every duo into some kind of Flutie/Johnson debate. Just stop. It is not going to happen. If Trubisky got a chance to play, he would need to orchestrate a season better than Allen did. That will not happen. Josh Allen is the Bills’ quarterback, period.”
I had a sweet Aussie t-shirt that I wore to a late 90s Kentucky Derby. WHO NEEDS A BIG JOHNSON WHEN YOU HAVE A LITTLE FLUTIE.
It became a humorous tradition for my friends to start a chant: Flutie. Flutie. Flutie, while walking through the tunnel to the infield at Churchill Downs. One particular year, well after Flutie retired, the chants spread around to dozens of people as we exited the tunnel. These intoxicated people had no idea why they were chanting Flutie’s name. Neither did we.
Doodley Do! Doodley Do! Doodley Do! “Oh, dream weaver. I believe you can get me through the night. Ooh, dream weaver. I believe we can reach the morning light. Dream weaver. Dream weaver.“ ( You should be waving your arms like Wayne and Garth. You know the drill.)
The post Jim Kelly one-year-experiment with Todd Collins behind center failed miserably.
“Obviously, with a young quarterback who hasn’t played a lot, everyone assumes you’re not going to have a great offense. I don’t think there’s any rule that says you can’t have a great offense, so I’m really not worried about what people think outside this room.”- Todd Collins
He should have been worried.
The Bills traded a first-round pick (Fred Taylor) to Jacksonville for the athletic and talented backup quarterback, Rob Johnson. He was drafted in the fourth round out of USC where he won the Cotton Bowl.
Simply for depth, Buffalo signed Doug Flutie, who spent the previous decade dominating the CFL. The Heisman Trophy winner was known for his famous “Hail Mary” pass that won the legendary game for Boston College against the Miami Hurricanes. It was not a GIVEN that Flutie would make the Bills. He was drafted by the Rams and chose the USFL which folded soon after. His talent, size, and inexperience combined resulting in a failed first attempt at the NFL, landing him in the CFL where he mastered the art of playing quarterback at a professional level.
The Wade Phillips/Rob Johnson era began with a disappointing 1-3 record, highlighted by 23 sacks and an injury. Flutie won the next four games and secured a playoff berth with an impressive 10-6 record. Flutie was named Comeback Player of the Year. He was also named to the AFC Pro-Bowl team. Flutie Flakes became the most popular cereal in Western New York. You could say that Flutie was up there at the time with Dominik Hasek as the most popular athlete in the Queen City. Not too shabby.
“My first two years in the CFL, all I thought of was getting back to the NFL. It was like ‘I’ll put my time in up here and go back.’ Then I went and signed a nice contract in Calgary and was like, ‘Hey, I can make a living up here; this is great football, and I’m having a blast.” – Doug Flutie
Flutie Magic secured him as the starter the second season. He led them to ten victories and was being rested in the final insignificant game. Johnson shined in the finale win.
“I kind of knew something was up when my position coach at the time said, ‘You may not like this decision that’s about to happen.’ Then Wade made the announcement in a team meeting. There was complete silence. You could see players looking at each other in confusion.” – Eric Moulds
Ralph Wilson interceded directing coach Phillips to start the “Big Armed” Johnson in the playoffs. Johnson struggled in the game now famously known as the Music City Miracle.
“Let’s be honest. Rob had all the tangibles to be a great quarterback, but there was something magical about Doug. Whoever’s the best guy, put him in. Guys don’t like the politics in professional sports.” – Donovan Greer
The defense kept the Bills in position to win until the final “Home Run Throwback” play.
“What do you have to do to keep your starting position? He won 10 games. It really made no sense. No sense whatsoever. And ultimately, the football gods made something happen that day.” – Steve Christie
That playoff loss was the last playoff appearance before the 21st-Century- Great-Draught, which did not end until Sean McDermott’s first season and Tyrod Taylor’s curtain call.
“I watched the end of the Bengals game next to Shady. I can’t even think of words to describe what our locker room was like.” – Tyrod Taylor
The third season was where the world-famous quarterback controversy kicked into a totally new gear. Western New York was split down the middle. The same could be said for the locker room. Flutie was injured in training camp, which made the decision to start Johnson a no-brainer. Johnson continued to get sacked at a ridiculous frequency resulting in injuries. Flutie continued to come in off the bench and outperform his younger teammate. The team struggled to get to an 8-8 record.
When did the quarterback strife end? I will honestly say, it did not end. Honestly, it still is alive today. Tom Donahoe and Gregg Williams took over and made the sensible decision at the time by letting the aging Flutie go free and end the quarterback quandary. The decision never really gained closure. Flutie followed the late John Butler to San Diego and the Chargers proceeded to defeat Buffalo with Johnson. The controversy lives on until this very day. Would the outcome of the Music City Miracle differ if the starting QB who got them there played?
Things we know about the Buffalo Bills this week...
Former Los Angeles Chargers 2nd round draft pick, guard Forrest Lamp, signed with the Bills. Once again the commitment is limited as Brandon Beane secured the lineman’s services, utilizing the art of the one-year deal.
Continuing with the one-year contracts, the Bills inked Offensive Lineman, Jamil Douglas. He was drafted by Miami in the fourth round in 2015.
Abiding with the one-year trend of 2015 draft picks, the Bills locked up offensive tackle, Bobby Hart.
Josh Allen on a contract extension:
“There’s a lot of different ways you can go about it. Honestly, I love playing football. I want to listen and be engaged in the contract talks. Ultimately, that’s why you pay your agents, and that’s why you hire a guy like Brandon Beane, Joe Schoen, and the front office guys and what they do. They’ll iron out the details, and if we can get to something soon, I’d obviously love to be locked down in Buffalo for a very long time. It’s a place that I call home. I love being there. I love the fan base. I love the city; everything that I want is there. If they called up and wanted to talk tomorrow, I’d be willing. But we’ll see, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”