“It may be an unwise man who doesn’t learn from his own mistakes, but it’s an absolute idiot that doesn’t learn from other people’s.” — Dr. Frasier Crane
Something that the Buffalo Bills did not have to acknowledge until 2023 is upon us. It is a time that the Josh Allen pay-day kicks in and other high end players need contracts. The question becomes huge as managing the salary cap becomes more difficult.
Would you rather have a totally complete roster from top to bottom with minimal holes? Or an incomplete team with some holes but a large quantity of star top end talent?
This is directed at those who believe the Cincinnati Bengals manhandled the Bills, primarily motivated by the announcement of the neutral site AFC Championship game planned in advance.
Did the coordination of a potential Bills/Chiefs Championship game in Atlanta motivate the Jacksonville Jaguars to dominate the Chiefs? Uh, no.
The Buffalo community dealt with the Tops shooting tragedy in 2022. They dealt with a standard Buffalo blizzard followed by a monstrous generational blizzard. The Bills had to play a home game in Detroit after getting “dug-out” from our paralyzed Queen City. Then of course they experienced the entire Damar Hamlin tragedy. Enough said.
Notice I did not bring up the injuries to Micah Hyde, Von Miller or Jamison Crowder. All teams deal with injuries. Imagine having Von Miller already out and then DaQuan Jones goes down heading into the divisional playoff game. Jordan Phillips was not very effective against Cincinnati, but was playing with one good arm. That is not the dominating defensive line they started the season with.
I will not get into players struggling with family illness or deaths such Dawson Knox losing his younger brother, Luke. Legal problems, player injuries, family illnesses and deaths happen in life. They happen within all NFL organizations.
A typical NFL franchise deals with so many aspects of running a business that we could not touch on in this article. That being said, a typical franchise does not deal with all of the curves in the road life throws at us in addition to a mass shooting, TWO BLIZZARDS, a home game relocated and a Monday night Football near-death-experience.
We can skip over the fact that the Buffalo Bills had one of the hardest schedules in the NFL.
“The goal is to win a world championship. So for us to have a true evaluation of where we’re at, we have to be objective with ourselves and say, ‘Hey, where are we?’ And then go through each player and each coach, that’s what you do. You evaluate the whole thing, the injuries, all that, you evaluate everything, and we have to do that.” – Sean McDermott
Buffalo certainly could have used a bye week after the New England game, resting and getting themselves ready mentally for playoff competition. Actually, they probably were not “right” when they played the PATS. Who knows how many Buffalo players were mentally ok to play football against New England, Miami or Cincinnati. Maybe some players will be totally ok after the off-season. Mental Health is tricky. There could be a player or more that never will be totally fine with what they witnessed with Damar Hamlin.
“We won’t stop until we get there, and that’s the vision moving forward, and we’re all frustrated on a day after loss in the division round, that’s for sure. Extremely proud of how far this organization has come, but not satisfied.” – Sean McDermott
The Damar Hamlin tragedy put many things into perspective. One major factor is that football might have returned to being just a game to some. That goes for players, team employees, coaches and fans. Imagine that?
“We lost three games by eight points. Listen, I’m going to own all the things we can do better — no doubt.” – Brandon Beane
The Buffalo Bills won 13 games for the fourth time, tying the franchise record going 13-3. That would be an impressive 14-4 if we include playoffs. Had the Cincinnati MNF game been finished, the Bills could have been 15-4 or 14-5. Maybe still playing? This is a team that has won three straight AFC East Division Titles. They have made the playoffs in four straight seasons. The Bills have qualified for the postseason five out of the past six seasons. Not too shabby.
Things we know about the Buffalo Bills this week
The league is not moving the draft to Atlanta. The 2023 NFL draft will be held in Kansas City. The Bills will select 27th in the first round unless they do some wheeling and dealing to change that.
Buffalo finished the season second in both points scored per game at 28.4 and total yards per game at 397.6.
The Bills outscored the Dolphins by only four points in three games.
Josh Allen’s contract will have a cap hit in the $40 million range next season.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Seth Wenig