As the Bills turn to the back half of their schedule determined to get back above .500, Bills GM Buddy Nix is just settling back in behind his desk. Fresh off two straight weeks on the road scouting college talent during most of the bye week, Nix has always got his eye on the future. Regardless of what's swirling in the week-to-week world of the regular season general managers can rarely look at their football team any other way.
"Coaches are about winning now, but with me every decision is long term," said Nix. "You want to win today as much as anybody else, but you've got to look at where you're going to be down the road."
Nix, much like the Bills fan base, is hoping to see the team get on a run in the second half of the schedule and be a player in the AFC playoff race.
"I think our offense is starting to get an identity and come together," said Nix. "I think we'll continue to improve offensively. Our special teams are really playing good. We've just got to stay the course on defense and get better at what we're doing."
Knowing Chan Gailey and his staff are the ones to address the necessary changes for the better on the field, Nix is drawn to the road to hit as many college campuses as he can. Despite having a college scouting staff that numbers in the teens, Nix needs to see the talent with his own eyes, and as he has said "smell their breath." Having built the Buffalo roster and filled several holes over the past three drafts, the 2013 draft could lend itself to finally landing a young quarterback for the future.
"We want to bring in a guy that can be a franchise quarterback, I mean for the next 10 years," Nix told Buffalobills.com. "Starting maybe two years from now or whenever he's ready. I'd like to have a guy in place. I've got to look past this Sunday and past the rest of this year and decisions have to be long term."
If Nix had his way he'd draft a quarterback every year, but sacrificing picks to fill that position and leave others without viable answers the first few drafts just wasn't feasible.
"If we had thrown a young quarterback into what we had two years ago we'd have ruined him," said Nix in reference to the team's 4-12 campaign in 2010. "Every year one of two things has happened. You look back and every time we decided to draft (a quarterback) he went before us or there was a guy there that we knew we had to have at another position where we didn't have anybody."
A perfect example was last year's top pick Stephon Gilmore taken with Buffalo's 10th overall selection.
"Those guys that went the first three or four, we liked those guys too," said Nix in reference to Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill. We felt we had to have a guy that could come in and play at corner and by the time we picked again those guys were gone. We got a good player."
A young talent to groom behind Ryan Fitzpatrick however, is something that is not present on the roster. Tyler Thigpen and Tarvaris Jackson, six and seven-year vets respectively are also in the final year of their contracts. Still, if in fact a quarterback is drafted by Buffalo next spring it's unlikely to change the pecking order at the position.
"Drafting one wherever you draft, we're not going to put a guy in there that's not ready," said Nix. "We think we've got a quarterback, someone that we can develop a young quarterback behind. Fitz put 34 points on the board the last time out and completed over 77 percent of his passes, and he's sixth in the league in touchdown passes. There's something to be said about a veteran that's been through it and there's something to developing a quarterback. Is it better to let him sit behind one a little bit? To me you let him compete and then play him when he's ready. It's not like we're trying to replace somebody. It is strictly to make our team better."
While some believe Nix's comments are groundbreaking, the Bills personnel boss sees it as just another step in fortifying the roster for a successful long term future.
"Stability and competition at the position is what you're looking for," he said. "So drafting a quarterback for the future is no different than what we try to do at every position."