Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rocking the Cradle

Great picture (thanks Dinette) of my son Andrew putting in his first-ever cradle in a match at recent Great Lakes Elementary Wrestling League outing at Mercer (where we rode from Erie Saturday in an unheated bus. Temp on board had to be close to 0 F. Oh well, it ended up being a good time despite.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ego: God vs. the Devil

This is from a novel I'm reading A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, which is a fictional account of events surrounding the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976. It's a good read so far. Published in 2014, it is written from the perspective of several characters, with each chapter in an alternating character's voice.

This quote is from some "white bwoi" visiting Marley's house before the shooting, as told by Papa-Lo, a Jamaican gangster. "The thing about God is that he needs the fame, you know? Fine, the attention, the notice, the recognition. He said it himself, in all your ways acknowledge me. If you stop paying attention or call his name out he kinda cease to exist.

"Now the devil, he doesn't need acknowledgement, in fact, the more hush-hush the better.

"Meaning he doesn't need to be name-checked, identified, or even remembered. The way I see it, the devil could be anyone around you."

Worth thinking about.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rex Snowed the Bills

"He was very impressive during the interview process, as were many of the candidates to which we spoke, and we feel Rex is the best fit for our team," [Bills owner Terry] Pegula said. There it is. There is the quote (from this ESPN story) I have been waiting to see to explain why the Bills hired Rex Ryan to coach the football team.
From the logical standpoint, the move makes little sense. First, I'll go over some positives:
1. Rex had proven he can win in the AFC East, especially against the Patriots.
2. He's a good defensive coach.
3. His ex-players love him.
4. Mike Pettine, a former Ryan disciple, really turned our defense around in 2013.
5. The hiring of embattled former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who favors a ground and pound run game is supposed to complement Rex's coaching style.

Now from a negative standpoint:
1. The Jets went 4-12 this year and haven't finished above .500 in four years.
2. The Bills absolutely spanked the Jets twice this year.
3. Rex is defensive coach and the Bills already have a great defense, and a solid defensive coordinator (Jim Schwartz) that, from my perspective, was somewhat similar to Rex as a head coach.
4. Also, Schwartz and Rex employ different defensive schemes (and quite frankly, Shwartz's worked pretty well this year.)
5. Bills don't have a starting QB and Rex has shown no ability to develop starting QBs.
6. I'm not sure Greg Roman is a good coach, as the 49ers offense, in the past four years when he's been OC, has ranked (going backward from 2014) 20, 24, 11, and 26 in yardage in the NFL.

My view is that Terry Pegula is new to the NFL and took on too much responsibility in participating in the head coach interviews and was dazzled by Ryan during the interview - which is typical Rex. Heck, New York writers loved the guy and that's no easy task. No doubt, Rex will be a fun head coach to have around, but as far as building a winning football team. Well (and hats off to the Pegulas for investing in Western NY, but) when the Pegulas bought the Sabres during the 2010-2011 season, they were a playoff team. They have not made the playoffs since and are currently the second-worst (to Edmonton probably, which is incidentally suing our OHL Junior team) team in the NHL. Not that the Pegulas don't have good intentions... but the Polian thing kind of neutered Doug Whaley and now it seems that the owner has been snowed by a fast talking ex-New Yorker....I don't expect this to end well for football fans in Western New York (and parts of PA for that matter.)

Monday, January 05, 2015

One Point in Favor of Doug Marrone

Although, he did preside over the Bills first winning season in a long time, I have not been too shy about my criticism of Doug Marrone. Not that he reads my blog, but it seems the poor guy doesn't take media criticism very well. That is his prerogative of course, but it is also one of the reasons I think he'll have a tough time lasting as a head coach in the NFL. I think media criticism is part of the gig and you have to either learn to ignore it (Belichick) or embrace it (Rex Ryan).

Anyhow, if I'm going to criticize Marrone for stuff like being way to conservative on fourth down, I should probably praise him when he does something I agree with. And his apparent stance on the Sammy Watkins trade is certainly something I agree with. Once again, I want to point out that I think Watkins is a great player and in a bubble could certainly be worth giving up two first round picks (this year's and last) for. But, the Bills don't exist in a bubble. The problem from the start was that we didn't have a QB that I felt would be able to take full advantage of Watkins' skills.

Well, apparently Marrone felt similarly. From ESPN, "Marrone was not in favor of Buffalo surrendering a future first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in a trade that did not involve a quarterback, sources said." If this is accurate, it would seem GM Doug Whaley is to be blamed for the misplaced faith in EJ Manuel heading into this year, which seriously retarded (and I don't mean mentally disabled) our development. This excellent article by the Buffalo News' Jerry Sullivan will give you some idea of the sorry shape the Bills' front office is currently in following the rift between Marrone and Whaley, with the new owners, the Pegulas, left holding the bag (which unfortunately is kind of like the flaming bag of shit you leave on someone's doorstep as a joke).

The Bills certainly have their work cut out for them and are reportedly interviewing almost a dozen head coaching candidates, which seems like way too many. Hopefully, something works out here and somewhat quickly.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Marrone, Orton Gone; Things Looking Up

As you may have heard (I initially missed the news as I was busy with New Year's Eve Party prep), Doug Marrone has resigned as coach of the Bills. This came a couple days after stating QB Kyle Orton retired. You might think I'd be bothered, as we just had our first winning season  in awhile and have seemingly lost two key pieces of our organization. Well, bully on that. I think those two guys are the primary reason we only went 9-7, and not at least 10-6.

Marrone seems to have made a smart decision, as, due to a unique change-of-ownership clause in his contract, he gets his $4M 2015 salary whether he coaches the team or not. Rumors have him going to the Jets, where we will theoretically be paying him to try and beat us. And this year espeically, we played great against the Jets so I can see why they would be interested, but in the long run I think they will be disappointed.

Bills could promote Jim Schwartz, whose D was awesome this year, but I think he already proved to be a disastrous head coach with Lions and I wouldn't be in any hurry to change things up on the defensive side anyhow. No, we need help on offense, so let's bring in ex-Bills back QB par excellent Frank Reich, who was OC for Chargers last year. Rumors are Polian is coming back as advisor/czar, so it would be reunion of sorts.

Happy New Year and things already looking up for Bills in 2015!