Buffalo Bills: Real Changes Will Come When Ralph Wilson Is Gone
Lets be honest, wholesale changes are not on the horizon for the Buffalo Bills this offseason. All I'm hoping for is something fresh in the coaching staff and not another retread. Is that even asking for too much? Maybe, but one can hope.
Really, we as Buffalo Bills fans should be waiting for the day that Ralph Wilson no longer controls the team. Only new leadership will rectify the current predicament of this now moribund franchise.
Since Marv Levy retired, we've seen coach after coach and general managers that have done nothing but fail before their arrival in the Queen City. If you can count on one thing, it's getting a call from Buffalo after being fired by a NFL franchise.
When Wilson's time comes, as long as the Bills remain in Buffalo, this is who should take the reins.
Owner: Jim Kelly
There is no other choice. At least, this is the only candidate that won't relocate the Buffalo Bills. This is the only one we want.
Jim Kelly has expressed his interest and appears able to assemble a group to become the new face of this franchise. He has been maneuvering to take over the team for a few years now. It could be compared to John Elway in Denver.
He lives in Buffalo. He has a charity there. He absolutely wants the team to win again. I firmly believe he would have a ring if not for the lack of clutch decision-making by the Levy staff, but that's a conversation for another time.
He also brings the clout of a golden Hall of Fame jacket. I'm not saying he has to make all the decisions, but I'm sure he can see talent, and he would bring the necessary leadership at the top that this franchise so desperately needs.
General Manager: A.J. Smith
This team needs to get back to what has worked. A.J. Smith was a big part of that, and he's probably going to need a new job after a bad run with the San Diego Chargers.
Say what you want, Smith knows what he's doing. Subtract the hiring of Norv Turner from a few years ago, and his record is sparkling.
He has a keen eye for talent. Look at this list: LaDainian Tomlinson, Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, Michael Turner (in the fifth round), Antonio Cromartie, Quentin Jammer, Eric Weddle and Drew Brees.
Granted, just like any other GM, he has made mistakes. He traded away Drew Brees and pretty much let Michael Turner walk for a song, but most of his moves have been very solid.
As I said before, I don't like retreads, but there are some I wouldn't mind:
Andy Reid has had a rough couple years. Even when his teams were winning, he seemed to be on the hot seat. I think it's really just part of the territory of being a coach in Philadelphia.
Reid could get a clean start in Buffalo with a few very good pieces in place.
He coached in four NFC championships and a Super Bowl.
It should be clear that the situation in Philly became toxic, and he was unable to repair the damage. That doesn't mean he can't still coach. It has been his only stop, and he was extremely successful.
CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora claimed that Mike Holmgren has rediscovered his interest to be an NFL head coach. He is one of only five coaches to have gotten to the Super Bowl with two different teams.
If he really wants to coach again, the calls from Buffalo should be coming in.
Time for the new blood. Mike Zimmer has achieved some amazing accomplishments with the Cincinnati Bengals. His unit is now a top-five defense, and the team is headed to the playoffs for the second straight year mostly because of it.
Zimmer has downplayed the possibility of becoming a head coach. He also had to recover from the loss of his wife and may not have desired to uproot himself until he was comfortable.
He is a talented defensive coordinator who appears to have the intangibles to be a successful head coach in the NFL
This is somewhat baffling. Bruce Arians was not extended after having a successful tenure as offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Owner Dan Rooney ordered head coach Mike Tomlin to make a change because he wanted the team to go back to a pounding running game.
He arrives in Indianapolis and is forced into the head coaching spot of a 2-14 team when head coach Chuck Pagano is suddenly diagnosed with cancer.
The Colts are now 10-5 and in the playoffs with Arians calling the shots. He will now surrender the headset to Pagano for the regular-season finale and the playoffs.
It's also possible that Arians is completely comfortable as an offensive coordinator. If I were a Buffalo Bills general manager, he would be on speed dial as soon as the Colts postseason is over.
The Buffalo Bills are going to have a new quarterback under center. This is a quarterback-driven league. I point to the progression of Ryan Tannehill under Karl Dorrell in Miami.
He has been an offensive coordinator for Northern Arizona, Colorado, and Washington at the collegiate level. He was also the head coach at UCLA. He is now guiding the young Tannehill in his first year as a successful rookie.
He would have a new quarterback to work with and comes with a glittering quarterback resume.
Doug Pederson has played behind Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb. He was coached by Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid. He has been part of the development of Nick Foles and the Michael Vick comeback.
He has vast experience from with to draw and teach. Pederson should be looked at very closely.
Joe Lombardi has been talking in Drew Brees' headset since 2008. He has been part of what may be considered the league's most prolific offense and has a Super Bowl ring with the Saints.
He is absolutely a must-call.
My first choice of Darryl Talley may be a pipe dream. Nonetheless, this would be my first choice.
Talley was the leader of the Buffalo Bills defense from the moment he arrived in 1983 until he left after the 1994 season.
He wasn't the most talented player on a unit that included future Hall of Famer Bruce Smith and perennial Pro Bowler Cornelius Bennett, but he was by no means a journeyman.
He is the all-time leader in tackles for the Bills and was the smartest player and emotional leader of the team. He would bring an infusion of leadership, knowledge and excitement to a defense that is rather stocked with potential.
Ken Norton, Jr.
Ken Norton, Jr. is helping to lead the most exciting defense in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks have a trio of overachieving linebackers that are helping lead that defense's charge to the playoffs.
He has also won three Super Bowls and is a two-time All-Pro. He as been serving under Pete Carroll since he joined his USC staff in 2004.
After a 10-year NFL career, Winston Moss has now been coaching linebackers for the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers for 11 years.
Moss would also bring some much needed attitude that he acquired while playing at "The U," which cannot be underrated.