Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott are each about to start their third season as the general manager and head coach of the Buffalo Bills. It is often around the third or fourth season that NFL general mangers and head coaches either solidify a future with their team or hit the job market. Since the year 2000, the Bills have had six different general managers and nine head coaches including Beane and McDermott. The Bills have not been able to find long term answers at general manager or head coach for years, but it appears that Beane and McDermott are here to stay.
The two share a vision of what the Bills could be. Both Beane and McDermott come directly from the Carolina Panthers‘ organization, proving that they work well together. Hiring two people that already have experience with each other was a great decision by the Pegulas. Beane and McDermott had already established a relationship in Carolina, and the fact that they both accepted the Bills’ offers shows that they agree on what a football team should be. The days of friction between general manager and head coach appear to be over for as long as these two are in Buffalo.
Brandon Beane is what a general manager should be. Beane has worked hard to ensure that McDermott has what he needs to win, not shying away from trades or free agent signings. Previous general managers have either been smart or aggressive, but not since Bill Polian have the Bills had a general manager that was both.
McDermott is a professional. McDermott comes into Buffalo on the heels of Rex Ryan, who in many ways helped McDermott’s reception in Buffalo. Ryan, as many of us remember was quite a hot-head. He guaranteed playoffs in his first year, in which the Bills ended 8-8, and outside a playoff spot. Ryan also celebrated like a madman after every victory over the Jets. McDermott in contrast, has shown nothing but class and professionalism. He has made no lofty promises and he has left any personal vendettas off the field, choosing to instead focus on the game of football.
What They’ve Done So Far
This manager/coach pairing is the first to finally nail down what will almost certainly be a dominant franchise quarterback since Polian who brought Jim Kelly to Buffalo (Kelly was actually drafted by Pat McGroder in 1983, but did not play for the Bills until 1986 when Bill Polian took over). It is still early to say, but I think Bills fans can agree that we have found what we’re looking for in Josh Allen. He is talented, confident, professional, and has an outstanding work ethic. He will do great things in Buffalo, and we can thank Beane and McDermott for bringing him here. Beane has not been afraid to help Allen either. Buffalo has signed 10 offensive free agents this offseason, making them one of the league’s most aggressive teams.
The two have completely revived a defense that was on the brink. Rex Ryan destroyed the Bills’ defense, which was top five in the league when he was hired. The defense was atrocious under Ryan; done in by poor play calling and lackadaisical play on the field stemming from a lack of accountability. Remember week 16 of the 2016-17 season? The Bills were 7-7, playing the Miami Dolphins and trying desperately to keep playoff hopes alive. In overtime, Jay Ajayi ripped a huge run to put Miami in field goal range to win the game, crushing the Bills playoff chances. The run looked easy, and probably because it was. Buffalo had only 10 men on the field. Stephon Gilmore was missing, and Ajayi ran to the left, exactly where Gilmore should have been. Gilmore’s absence allowed Ajayi to trot past Buffalo’s slower linebackers, gaining 56 yards before Robey-Coleman was able to catch up to him and bring him down, but it was too late. Buffalo’s defense ranked 19th that year. Fast forward to the end of the 2018-19 season, and the Bills’ defense sits in second place. Beane and McDermott have completely turned the defense around, drafting promising young players like Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, and signing players like Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The difference is night and day.
Last and most definitely not least, they broke the drought. In their first year in command, Beane and McDermott brought the Buffalo Bills to the NFL playoffs, who had not been since the 1999 season. They ended a historic 18 year drought that was the longest active playoff drought across professional American sports. That has bought Beane and McDermott some freedom, allowing them to be confident and go to work knowing that they have a place in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Bills finally have a general manager and head coach that fans can put faith in. Going into the draft last season, one of the two quarterbacks I did not want was Josh Allen. His accuracy scared me, and I did not think his backyard football style would translate to the NFL. As Roger Goodell announced that the Bills “select Josh…” I prayed that he would end the sentence with the word “Rosen”. When he instead said “Allen” I was so upset I actually left my house and took a walk. Almost a year later, you cannot convince me that Josh Allen is not the best quarterback to come out of the draft class, and Josh Rosen is on the trading block after one year on the Cardinals.
Beane and McDermott just plain fit the culture. McDermott is a tireless worker and he preaches blue collar ideals. He holds his players accountable, and he has brought the spirit of real football back into this team. Beane openly defended Buffalo not only as a free agent destination but as a city and a fanbase. If that isn’t Buffalo then I don’t know what is.
For the first time this century, when we see the Bills make a move we don’t understand, we don’t have to panic. Not every signing/trade/draft pick will be a hit, but they never will be under any GM or head coach. However, we can trust that this regime always has a plan in place and always does its homework. Bills fans can finally “trust the process”.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below.