Yes, I know the NHL is back and the Sabres are 2-0 and what not, but before the season gets too far under way, I still have some football business to take care of.
I still don't have a clear opinion on Mr. Doug Marrone. On one hand it, he has done a great job turning around a trashcan football program at Syracuse (and Buffalo IS a trashcan football organization as it happens), he appears to have been a popular candidate among many other front offices (unlike Chan Gailey, who Arena teams wouldn't call back), and he is the kind of "outside the box" hire that many of us have been clamoring for. On the other hand, said program was only a shitty Big East school, the Browns and Eagles folks are just as fatuous as the Bills, and a very successful, Super Bowl winning, defensive-minded Lovie Smith is still available.
Yet, no matter how I look at it, Doug Marrone IS the Buffalo Bills head coach, so I might as well get used to it. He has brought in Nathaniel Hackett to be the OC, as well as several hundred other assistants from 'Cuse, apparently, and has added some other staff members like new DC Mike Pettine (from the Jets) and WR coach Ike Hilliard (from the racist mascot taunting indigenous peoples team), both of whom I really like. So maybe, just maybe this guy actually knows what the hell he is doing. Or maybe not. #BecauseItsBuffalo
So instead of running down a hundred more "in-depth" points as to why or why not this hiring makes sense, I am choosing to embrace Douglas whole-heartedly, and actually give him some advice as someone who is already familiar with the player personnel shit-show he has inherited. I'm going to stick with the offense for today, as they give me a slightly less chance of having a rage aneurysm than the defense does. Maybe I'll be brave enough to tackle that next week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - I understand due to salary complications it may be difficult to cut him loose, but if you can find a way to make this happen you already have won me over tenfold, Doug. Yes, there are those out there who feel Fitz can still be the guy to hold down the fort until his certain-to-be-drafted young replacement can be groomed (our resident cruise ship included), but I can't bear to see that jersey on the sidelines. The memories of his play are making me rage inside and he has no place in Buffalo anymore, not with the devastation he has already brought upon us. PLEASE DOUG MAKE THE HURT GO AWAY.
Tyler Thigpen - An unrestricted free agent, you can just let him walk away because nobody else is going to sign him. He had no business being the NFL last year and is only known for this. His only purpose could be to dress him up in a Jester's costume and have him serve as the team fool, which may lift team spirits. You can even give him a fake, wooden horse to ride and call him Ser Dontos the Red (JOE BUFFALO WINS GAME OF THRONES REFERENCE!)
Tarvaris Jackson - I personally think you should keep him around and draft two quarterbacks. If he begins the season as the starter, it can't be any worse than Fitz, but we all know this won't happen as long as Ralph is still alive. Change his name to 'Chad', and you may have a shot at fooling the old man.
C.J. Spiller - Don't you even let him near you on the sideline. Run him, throw to him, let him even return kicks, but if I see him on the sideline every other series, I will hunt you down and make your family cry at the bloody result. Too much? I blame Chan.
Fred Jackson - Doug, you seem to know how to make two talented running backs coexist in the game of football, so this could be fabulous for you. However, please be careful with Fred and make sure you have a back-up plan because he is only slightly less fragile than Buddy Nix. Also, if you let the front office trade him for a 4th round pick, he will then subsequently run for 1400 yards and 11 touchdowns for another team. Heads up.
Tashard Choice - He played admirably against Cleveland when both Spiller and Jackson went down with injuries, but if I ever see him on the field again for 3rd and goal it will be too soon. The twitter "choice" puns are also killing me inside.
Corey McIntyre (FB) - The guy plays insanely hard on special teams and really opened up some nice holes for Spiller. I say bring him back on the cheap, but honestly I couldn't give a fuck either way. I still think he'd be cooler if it was actually him jerking off outside that old lady's window. I'm sure you agree.
Zach Brown - Apparently at some point this season the Bills signed him away from his shitty alt-country band. Throw him in the Niagara so he doesn't perform at halftime of any more college bowl games.
Stevie Johnson - I will be the first to admit that Stevie has not always been on my good side. When he dropped the game winning catch against Pittsburgh in 2011 and followed that up with blaming God, I thought he was a total loser-- the typical Buffalo player with all the talent in the world, but in the clutch he couldn't make it happen. Fast forward to 2012 when his plethora of dropped passes at Met Life Stadium cost the Bills a game against the Jets, I was almost done with his potential "star power". Yet, this year there was something about him that brought me back. He played hard, kept his mouth shut, and still put up incredible numbers despite a senile coach and his poor excuse of quarterback. I think Johnson has turned the corner, and with the right offense and QB he could be on his way to several All-Pro appearances. It's in your hands now, Doug.
Of course that also depends on what support Stevie gets from his fellow WR corps, which brings me to:
David Nelson, Donald Jones, T. J. Graham, Marcus Easley, and Ruvell Martin - I'll make this short and sweet for each one. If Nelson's job is the slot and only the slot, keep him. Donald Jones is #4 receiver at best, cut him loose. T.J. Graham will probably end up a waste of a draft pick, but he's young so I'm o.k. if you keep him. Marcus Easley is 42 and hasn't played a full season, so let him go. And I don't think there is any actual evidence that Ruvell Martin is a real person. GO GET SOME NEW WIDE RECEIVERS!
Scott Chandler - I expected big things from Chandlaars this season, so naturally he let me down. He still has way too much upside (Hubie Brown fo' life!) to simply cut him loose, but make sure you make his fingers bleed from constant hand drills so he can hold on to the damn football.
Lee Smith - I actually made myself watch him on a handful of big Spiller and Jackson runs this season, and I was pleasantly surprised to see him lay out plenty of D-lineman and linebackers to help create holes. I'm sure another solid blocking TE can be found, but can you get one who will also embarrass himself on live television?
Dorin Dickerson - No. Don't even think about it. Cut him just to spite the idiots who think this guy is prodigy.
Mike Caussin - He made a funny joke on Twitter once so you can keep him on the practice squad if he still has
Wild Cat Decoy:
Brad Smith - Fire him out of a cannon into Canada and let the networks fight over the rights to air it on national television. Russ Brandon has already started planning this to get the team more exposure. You know, rather than put a group of capable athletes on the field.
The readers of this site probably know that the offensive line is one of the only bright spots I saw from the past season. In fact Doug, I think you should bring back OL coach Joe D'Alessandris. Although they struggled late in the year (due to injuries so thank you again for bringing back the same god-fucking-awful strength & condition coach you meathead), they were solid as a rock when healthy even with a rookie LT. I credit D'Alessandris for making this group gel together, so please don't fuck with it too much.
Cordy Glenn, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Chris Hairston, and Chad Rinehart - I like all of them, but be advised my favorite hockey player is Matt Ellis. Also, feel free to pick Hairston as starter over Pears since he has more raw potential and is much younger, but both can stay.
Sam Young, David Snow, Zebrie Sanders, and the carousel of other injured back-ups. - I don't care. If you bring D'Alessandris back I'm sure he can fill anyone in his schemes, but just be ready for lots of injuries with Eric "walk it off" Ciano back at the helm.
With the hiring of Danny Crossman, who has been one of the worst special teams coaches in the NFL for the past five seasons, you are now reminding me of all the reasons I WANT to hate you, Mr. Marrone. Then again, this unit already blows so I can't imagine you'll do any worse.
Rian Lindell - For the sake of the Outlander's health, replace him. Maybe even bring back that Potter kid. He joked with me on Twitter a couple times. (ZOMG THANKS FOR THE RT JOSH YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PLAYER!!!!! #BERLSMAFIA)
Shaun Powell - He sucked pretty hard, but is by no means the cause of the Bills' problems. Unless you're a 44 year old mom with a Bills tattoo, and then the moment he replaced Brian Moorman was the exact moment this team began their downward spiral. For more on him, read my in-depth look at him from the pre-season.
Garrison Sanborn - SAAAAAAAAAAAANBOOOOOOOOOOORN!!!!! Meh, I guess he's o.k. now.
Leodis McKelvin - I'll get to his defensive prowess (huh?) another time. Until then, I say bring him back for his return abilities. The guy is way too explosive to let him walk away....unless some other garbage team offers him a ton of money to start at DB, then turn around and run away as fast as humanly possible.
You're welcome, Doug. Please take my advice, as I am obviously very intelligent when it comes to the game of football and throwing and the passing and the running and the blocking and things of that nature. Next week check back for a half-written analysis of the defense that the Barrister will post after my head explodes when I start writing about the linebackers.