The Bills 2018 season ended five days ago, but some leftover issues from the season were a big part of the discussion this week on One Bills Live.
Here are some of the news items you may have missed from One Bills Live this week:
1. FINDING THE RIGHT CHEMISTRY IN THE QUARTERBACK ROOM
It was a tumultuous start to the season in the Bills quarterback ranks, with five switches at starting quarterback in the first 10 games. Thankfully, things settled down in the final six games, with Josh Allen taking control of the position.
General manager Brandon Beane told One Bills Drive the upheaval in the QB room was the result of a variety of issues and he regrets what happened.
“One Hundred percent,” Beane said. “We knew coming in that Nathan (Peterman) was coming back. We had made the decision to trade Tyrod to Cleveland and so, you know, before the draft, we really had one legit quarterback here with Nate and then there were different guys out there in free agency. We thought A.J. (McCarron) was a guy that could come in and compete and potentially win that job.”
McCarron was ultimately traded before the start of the 2018 season. And Beane says in retrospect, he should have brought veteran Derek Anderson in sooner than he did (Anderson was signed on October 9).
“I regret not getting Derek Anderson in here earlier,” Beane says. “He was a guy that we talked about whether to sign him or sign A.J. but just really was trying to bet on A.J. He did everything he could, he competed hard. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But once it doesn’t work you've got to move on.”
“So, getting D.A. here when we did, I was glad. Again, it was my error not getting him in here earlier and the thing I’m excited about is that we go into this offseason and Josh is the number 1. We don’t have any debate. I sleep better at night now knowing I’ve got that.”
2. JOSH ALLEN’S EARLY OFFSEASON PLAN
Josh Allen’s got a chance to sleep at night now, and recover, after six straight starts at the end of the season and 11 starts overall in his rookie year.
And he can put the stress of the Senior Bowl, the combine, interviews and the draft behind him now. Allen appeared on One Bills Live this week and outlined his plan for the first few weeks of the offseason.
“Kinda getting away from football for a week or two, relaxing and just hanging out with family and friends. But when February rolls around, I’ll get back into the swing of things, so I can get back on April 15th and be ready to go.”
Allen says he plans on watching some playoff football in the next few weeks and going through mental reps while he watches.
“Especially with the playoffs going on, picking a couple of defenses out, and I’ll try to find out what they’re doing and break them down, and apply what we might do against these defenses.”
3. HEAD COACHING CAROUSEL SPINNING QUICKLY
Eight NFL teams spent this week interviewing or getting ready to interview, potential head coaches. Two of them are AFC East rivals for the Bills — the Dolphins and the Jets.
Former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason, now a radio host in New York and part of ‘The NFL Today’ cast on CBS, says fired Packers Coach Mike McCarthy should be the obvious choice for the Jets.
“They’ve got to get this one right, this is a huge decision for them,” Esiason told One Bills Live.
“I would like to think that a Mike McCarthy, with that kind of resume, would be perfect. This franchise needs stability, it needs a face, and it needs somebody who’s been down this road before. This is going to be somebody who has some pelts on the wall, somebody with a resume that the fan base can get behind. And, also, somebody who can nurture a young quarterback. Mike McCarthy fits that and he would be the perfect hire.”
4. WHAT’S THE MOST ATTRACTIVE HEAD COACHING VACANCY?
The Jets, Dolphins, Browns, Packers, Bucs, Bengals, Broncos and Cardinals are all in the market for a new head coach. And many observers think Cleveland, with standout rookie QB Baker Mayfield and enough talent to go 7-8-1 this year, might be the most attractive head coaching opening.
Don’t tell that to former Packers front office executive Andrew Brandt, now the ‘Business of the NFL’ specialist for MMQB.
“I’m not into comparing rosters,” Brandt told One Bills Live. “I’m not into comparing the Browns roster to the Packer roster, but for anyone to say the Browns job is a better job than the Packers job—that owner has fired how many coaches over seven years? There’s no way that’s a better job.”
For the record, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is looking for his fifth head coach as he heads into his eighth year of ownership.
Brandt says the Packers stability, and the team’s history of giving the head coach plenty of autonomy, make Green Bay the better job.
“The Packers have this unique ability to let the coach focus on football,” Brandt says. “All revenues go to football – there’s no taking out for other businesses. Forget about the roster comparisons—Green Bay is the more attractive job.”
5. COLTS DOING IT THE ‘REICH’ WAY
The Wild Card playoffs start Saturday at 4:35 pm, with the sixth-seeded Indianapolis Colts on the road at the third seed, the Houston Texans.
And Bills fans get to see one of the franchise all-time favorites, Frank Reich, coach his first playoff game. Reich’s Colts won nine of their last 10 games to make the playoffs, and it started with a big week-seven win over the Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium. Reich is winning accolades for his steady hand and calm leadership after a rough start to Indy’s season.
Stephen Holder covers the Colts for The Athletic in Indianapolis. He told One Bills Live that Reich has the undivided attention of his young roster.
“He’s created a real culture where guys are all in — they’re completely bought in. They are invested. Yet, he’s not a guy who does it with screaming and yelling. That’s not his approach at all.”
“He doesn’t do it by ruling with an iron fist,” Holder continued. “It’s so difficult to create a culture, and to do it just by being yourself and being the guy next door, which is what Frank is. The one difference between him and your neighbor, is that this guy is the ultimate competitor.”
6. RAVENS RUN GAME THEIR BEST ASSET
The other AFC Wild Card game puts the Los Angeles Chargers in Baltimore to play the Ravens at 1:05 pm on Sunday. Baltimore rookie Lamar Jackson becomes the first member of the quarterback class of 2018 to make the postseason, after leading his team to a 6-1 record as a starter.
Jackson has done most of his damage on the ground. He’s the leading rusher among NFL quarterbacks this year and his unique skill set forced the Baltimore coaching staff to rework their entire offensive scheme.
Former Bills and 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, now the Ravens assistant head coach, is getting credit for that offensive overhaul, working alongside Baltimore’s offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinwheg.
“A lot of the run game, the RPO, zone read stuff, the play action stuff, a lot of that is what they used to do with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco. And I think he did a little bit of that with Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. That’s a lot of his offense he’s bringing,” according to Ravens radio analyst Dennis Pitta.
“Marty Mornhinwheg has done a great job relying on Greg Roman and allowing him to implement some of the things he’s done with more mobile quarterbacks,’ Pitta told One Bills Live. “It’s really been a combination of those guys tweaking this offense and tailoring it to fit Lamar Jackson’s strengths.”
One Bills Live, a radio show hosted by John Murphy and Steve Tasker, airs from 12 pm - 3 pm on WGR 550 and MSG WNY Monday-Friday.