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buffalo

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Update posted 11 months ago

Petition to Mr. & Mrs. Pegula

"The Next One" - Buffalo Bills Head Coach

“The Next One"   12/8/16 Mr. & Mrs. Pegula: REASON for READING: I’ve been a life-long Bills fan and season ticket holder for over 10 years. I, my friends, my family, and my fellow Buffalonians love what you have done for our community…we truly appreciate your contributions to our quality of life. With all due respect, we have been investing and contributing to this franchise our entire lives and would appreciate if you take our humble thoughts into consideration. COACHING HISTORY: We have noticed some characteristics that remained constant during the Buffalo Bills 17-year playoff drought: Russ Brandon, Training Camp at St. John Fisher College, and the coaching philosophy. Since we are not likely to convince you to address the first two, as they are primary reasons for the Bills’ financial success, we’d like to shed light on the reality of the situation regarding the third. Every year since 2000, the Buffalo Bills have had a veteran, defensive, conservative-minded head coach that has earned his opportunity through years of working in the NFL and climbing the coaching ladder. We have cheered through the 17-year playoff drought behind Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey, Doug Marrone, and now Rex Ryan. The only coach on that list that could have even been considered an aggressive offensive-mind was Chan Gailey, but he was the most-dated Head Coach in the league at 60 years old and had over 25 years of NFL coaching experience. We’d like to take you on a journey and explain why the next Head Coach you hire should be an aggressive, innovative, forward-thinking, risk-taking, analytical, leader that the Bills’ organization, players, and fans deserve. RUN, DEFEND, & MISS the PLAYOFFS: When you hired Rex Ryan, it was no secret he wanted to be run heavy, play strong defense, control field position, manage the game…basically everything we have been doing throughout the playoff drought. He delivered. For 2 consecutive years the Buffalo Bills have had the best rushing attack in the NFL and an above average defense. Over the last 17 years, the Bills have had Travis Henry, Willis McGahee, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, and LeSean McCoy. Our defenses have been among the leagues’ best: Best Buffalo Bills Defenses (2000-2016) Season   Yards Allowed  Points Allowed2000             3rd                    18th2003             2nd                     5th2004             2nd                     8th2006             18th                   10th2013             10th                   20th2014              4th                      4th Despite the Buffalo Bill’s successful rushing attacks and strong defensive play, the league leading 17-year playoff drought has seen them win 105 games and lose 151 for a 0.410 winning percentage. The coaching philosophies employed by this organization reinforce the notion that the Buffalo Bills are going to perpetually struggle with an outdated style of conservative football: run and stop the run, win the field position battle, protect the football, maintain a small margin, and hope that everything goes perfectly down to the end. When you depend on a running game and defense, everything has to go right and nothing can go wrong. If your offense sputters, your defense misses a tackle, the other team has a long touchdown, or your quarterback accidentally turns the ball over, then your game-plan is defeated. This strategy used to work more often in previous eras. Games were shorter, lower scoring, and fought down to the last yard. EVOLUTION of the GAME: In 2016, and more importantly into the future of the modern NFL, games are longer, higher scoring, and frequently won by controlling the air. There are now more opportunities to overcome mistakes, especially using the passing game. If you have a proficient and prominent passing attack, no game is out of reach. Small mistakes remain exactly that and comebacks can be engineered quickly and efficiently. The obvious advantage, that the Bills have badly missed this season, is the ability to drive down the field with minimal time on the clock. Until the NFL decides to change the rules and stop the clock after running plays, teams simply can’t execute fourth-quarter winning drives on the ground. Perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of an aggressive passing attack is that games can be closed out late, not by grinding out the clock with the run, but by scoring even more points to put away your opponent. Winning modern NFL teams need to be able to march down the field in the air; it’s a prerequisite for success that even the successful rushing teams turn to in the end. By the NUMBERS: As the Buffalo Bills continue to focus on rushing and defense, our passing offenses have been anemic. It is obvious to most teams that the game has evolved through rules changes and marketing; it is now a passing league. In 2000, NFL teams averaged 3,300 yards passing per season. In 2016, teams are on pace for over 4,000. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills exhibit the following passing accomplishments: Passing Yards per Game NFL Average (2016)  = 246NFL Average (2000) = 207   Buffalo Bills (2015) = 209  Buffalo Bills (2016)* = 182 The current number, 182 passing yards per game, is dead last in the NFL. I know many folks point to conditions such as injuries, assistant coaching changes, matchups, weather, and poor play from the quarterback position. The truth is, however, this is a symptom of Rex Ryan’s philosophy. Regardless of the excuses, history has proven that the Bills’ passing game is consistent with Rex’s game-plan, season-plan, career-plan, and conservative background. The following table displays his annual passing performances, averaging just 28th in the NFL in passing yards, during 8 seasons as a Head Coach. Rex Ryan’s Passing Rankings by Season Season          Yards     Rank2009 (NYJ)   2,380      31st2013 (NYJ)    2,891      30th2010 (NYJ)    3,242      22nd2014 (NYJ)    2,946      32nd2011 (NYJ)     3,297      21st2015 (BUF)    3,343      28th2012 (NYJ)    2,891      30th2016 (BUF)*   2,178      32nd Rex Ryan’s passing offenses have never been higher than the bottom third of the NFL. Furthermore, once he left the New York Jets in 2015, their passing offense actually significantly improved (32nd to 13th) and the Bills passing offense significantly regressed (18th to 28th). Since 2002, the best the Bills have finished in passing yards was 15th in 2011. Season after season, General Manager after General Manager, Head Coach after Head Coach, with all of this losing, the best the Bills have done is barely above average. Frustratingly, our ineptitude in passing and conservative approach appears to have been a fundamental and intentional aspect of our team’s coaching selections throughout the 17-year playoff drought. TOXIC MINDSET: Conservative run-heavy coaches obsess over field position, down and distance, momentum, fullback packages, executing perfect punts, etc. In any in-game situation, there are infinite variables to consider. There is, however, one constant that the Buffalo Bills should maintain…every possession is an opportunity to score. When the Bills get the ball, the Head Coach should always be thinking about how they are going to get more points. They should not be satisfied with a lead at halftime and absolutely not thinking about how to best setup a punt. At the end of the first half against Oakland, Rex Ryan did just that. It was clear that he was content with his 10-6 lead. Despite the fact that the Bills had the ball at midfield, 3 timeouts, and 2 minutes left on the clock, the Head Coach maintained his conservative strategy. On 3rd and 4, the Bills took a delay of game penalty. Most forward-thinking aggressive coaches would have been standing next to the official, ready to use one of their 3 timeouts to prevent a 3rd and long, Rex did not. Even after getting that first down, the Offensive Coordinator ran the ball through the 2 minute warning, drained the clock, and punted the possession away to Oakland at their 15-yard line with 30 seconds on the clock. At this point, Rex Ryan and his coaching staff were thinking “job well done.” This conservative mindset, that a 4-point lead is good enough, and that field position is more important than scoring, has been plaguing the Buffalo Bills organization throughout the 17-year playoff drought. Oakland, being an offensive-minded passing team, took the ball 57 yards through the air in just 25 seconds, called timeouts along the way, and kicked a field goal. While we could predict Rex’s thought process, as it was consistent with his conservative philosophy, it was his reaction that exposed his deeply antiquated mindset. Just before the field goal, Rex Ryan called a timeout to “ice” the kicker. This has been a fairly standard practice in the NFL for years now, every coach does it, and every kicker expects it. Most of them, including Oakland’s, actually use it as an opportunity to get a free practice kick. The camera showed Rex on the sideline, smiling across the field at the Raiders, acting like what he just did was some great feat of a coaching mastermind. It’s not, its basic coaching in 2016. “Icing” the kicker is not the brilliant action of a cutting-edge strategist, certainly not while you are going into halftime with 2 unused timeouts in your pocket. Rex sure did look proud of himself, though. This particular sequence is a microcosm for how outdated and behind-the-curve our conservative Head Coaches have been throughout the last 17 years. Ryan’s toxic conservative mindset radiates top to bottom through an organization. The Tuesday morning following a season-crushing, playoff-hope eliminating, collapse when the Bills couldn’t move the ball in the second half and got outscored 29-0 by Oakland’s aggressive down-the-field passing attack, the Buffalo Bills posted a feature article on their website entitled “Felton adapts to keep rolling defenders”. This well written article talks about the success of the Bills fullback, boasts about their power running game, and complements the Bills on their blocking schemes. Meanwhile, around the NFL, many teams don’t even use dedicated blocking fullbacks. If they have a fullback on their roster, he’s an off-the-street special teams player, a guy they occasionally use to mix up their attack, or someone to catch passes out of the backfield. He is not a focal point and critical element of their offensive strategy. But here we are, 17 years with no playoffs, and the conservative Rex Ryan led Buffalo Bills are writing articles about how great their fullback is at run blocking. The last time the Buffalo Bills were truly great and captivated our community, they were doing something new and inventive…the no-huddle. As what often happens in the NFL, teams adapted and adjusted, incorporating no-huddles of their own, and the league continued to evolve. It is time again for the Buffalo Bills to be innovators, go in a fresh and intriguing direction. We can’t afford to continue to hire savvy veteran Head Coaches with conservative philosophies that are destined to be behind-the-curve as the game continues to grow. The Bills desperately need a forward-thinking, aggressive, pass-oriented, offensive mindset with a vision for the future of the league. FALSEHOOD of CONTINUITY: Throughout this 17-year playoff drought, I have heard Russ Brandon refer to continuity several times as justification for not moving on from a coach. In every instance, the Bills squandered skill position talents only to end up moving on from that coach a season or two later. While the continuity theory is preferred for a team to succeed, it should be clarified that it only applies to coaches that win. When winning teams have their offensive/defensive coordinators poached by other teams, they can talk about continuity. It does not apply to a franchise and its coaches who haven’t made the playoffs in 17 years, particularly if the team has regressed in the passing game each season under the current coach. The Bills preached continuity coming into the 2016 season; coaches and offensive starters were all returning and, therefore, success was expected. Clearly, that was a false positive. Just like everything else in your life, do not let continuity prevent you from trying to improve yourself. THEN WHO? When you eventually move on from Rex Ryan, please consider a replacement with an aggressive passing attack. The table below contains some examples of current NFL Offensive Coordinators and potential Buffalo Bills Head Coaches: Name (Team): Passing Yards - Rank - Years Coaching in NFLSean McVay (Washington): 3,709 yards - 2nd - 8 yearsKyle Shanahan (Atlanta): 3,624 yards - 3rd - 13 yearsJosh McDaniels (New England): 3,243 yards - 5th - 16 yearsHarold Goodwin (Arizona): 3,166 yards - 9th - 13 years We haven’t met any of these gentlemen and probably never will. They may not have a media-friendly personality, you may not be impressed with their interviews, and they may not “tell it like it is” ala Rex Ryan. Still, we are impressed with the fact that they can coordinate a winning offense that is top 10 in the NFL in passing yards. Furthermore, in the back of their minds and at the base of their football philosophy, they are not trying to re-live past accomplishments from a NFL era over 17 years ago that time has forgotten. FINAL PLEA: Terry and Kim, when you bought the team, all of Buffalo was overcome with joy and love. Many of us were optimistic that, when conducting your first coaching search, you would break from the traditional Buffalo Bills mold of a veteran, conservative, run-first, defensive-minded Head Coach. This time around, please make the right decision and try something we have not done throughout the Buffalo Bills 17-year playoff drought…we don’t know if fans can survive 18. The next Head Coach needs to see the NFL for what it is and what it is going to be, a passing league. Thank you for your time…Go Bills!  

Joseph Kasperski
96 supporters