Bills hope (or expect) to ride “culture change” to postseason


The Bills haven’t been to the postseason since Frank Wycheck threw the ball to Kevin Dyson on a late-game kickoff return, and Dyson then ran untouched to the end zone to polish off the Music City Miracle.

Buffalo’s pro football team has flirted with a playoff berth several times since then, but they haven’t been able to finish the job.  As the 2012 season approaches, the talk has become less about hope and more about expectation, week by week and for the full season.

“One thing Coach [Chan] Gailey has done is taken us from a team that hopes to win and hopes to have the ball bounce our way to a team that expects to win when we take the field,” safety George Wilson told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.

G.M. Buddy Nix says that, when he returned to the Bills as a scout in 2009, he sensed that the organization was in a funk.  “We needed a culture change,” Nix said.

“Sometimes you have to change a bunch of people, and that’s not an easy thing,” Nix explained.  “If you get people who are complacent, whether they’re players or anywhere in the building, you try to get by that.  We went a year with most folks [at One Bills Drive].  But if they couldn’t make the change, then you make a change.”

Part of the change has been to get the right kind of players.  “I don’t think you do that unless you emphasize all areas of life, not just football,” Gailey said.  “We have guys that believe in doing things the right way.  It’s proven out.  We have very few incidents on our football team because I believe we’ve got the right kind of men.”

Wilson says that attitude has resulted in a disappearance of bickering among players.  “We don’t have the locker-room-lawyer stuff that divides a team,” Wilson said. “We don’t allow the friendly fire.  We try to protect each other, come to each other’s aid. But we hold each other accountable.  We don’t let anybody cut corners.

“We have good people in the locker room.  They want guys they can trust even when they’re not looking.  That changed the culture with the kind of men we have.”

None of it will matter if quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t improve significantly under quarterbacks coach David Lee, or if the new Dave Wannstedt defense will be sufficiently disruptive, with the addition of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.

But at least there’s reason for hope.  No, there’s reason for expectation.

16 responses to “Bills hope (or expect) to ride “culture change” to postseason

  1. Hoping for a big year from the bills! Not expecting a division title bc of the pats! But 2nd place in front if the loser jets and a wildcard is what i expect! Then the fun begins! #BILLSMAFIA

  2. This team has had a fundamental change! As a lifelong Bills fan it’s easy to see the difference between this team and rosters from the past decade. Looking at the schedule 10 wins is not impossible! I def think were better than the Yets!

  3. On Paper… The Bills are the Second Best team in the AFCE.

    Based on looking at their roster and schedule I would expect them to win at least 8 games. I also see them winning as much as 11.

    When I watched them play last year they were a different Bills team. Down 21 against NE, under the old leadership they fold up and end up losing that game 40+ something to 13. Instead they come back to win.

    Unlike Bills teams of the past (Post 90’s) there is NO QUIT in this team on the field. I do think they push for the Wild Card this year. But I also think that they need one more offseason to finish the Depth roundout. (And a QB for the future).

    They can WIN with Fitzpatrick, but I do not see them as Superbowl Contenders with Fitzpatrick at QB. Next off-season that Franchise QB to take over in the future and you will see them as Superbowl Contenders in the near future.

  4. One of the most unfortunate side effects of the internet is giving Bills fans a voice and giving them the appearance of relevance despite their team being irrelevant for decades.

    What the heck is a “billsmafia”? Just move to Canada already and be internet tuff guys there.

  5. I don’t see how the Bills won’t make the Playoffs, unless it’s a crazy season like ’07 when the Browns didn’t make it, or ’08 when the Pats didn’t. A healthy Bills team can ride this schedule to an easy 10-6. 3-3 in the divison and losses to the Titans, Texans, and ‘9ers. However, I am not content with that. There is no reason why Buffalo can’t sweep the divison, and no reason why we can’t beat teams like the ‘9ers. NE has done nothing this offseason to change the fact that their defense is sub-par, and that Tom Brady carries that team. Buffalo doesn’t have the grade-A weapons of the Pats, but outside of Gronkowski and Welker, who else is there? There is no running game. I’m not guarunteeing anything, but to think a healthy squad can’t compete with, or overthrow the Pats and break the streak is extremley short sighted.

  6. When the Jets go 6-10, they’ll still be a bigger story than the Bills, no matter what the Bills’ record is.

  7. its ironic that fans of other teams mock bills fans when really i cant think of another team in the nfl whos fans are loyal and passionate enough to support thier team through a 12 year playoff drought the way bills fans have, if a team like oh say the jets goes a couple years without a winning season you can expect a half empty stadium on game day and d!ckheads like fireman mike nowhere to be found

  8. fck the pats, everyone just wants to give them the division.

    brady’s gotta start faultering someday, after all he’s still just a human…

  9. The Bills have to win a game in Nov or Dec to prove they’re capable of doing anything. Wins in Sept and Oct are all they’ve been able to manage in recent years.

  10. What else are people in Buffalo going to do but support their team? What other option do they have but to grip on the hopes of their football team?

    That town has been economically depressed for some time now with no hope in sight. If it wasn’t in the state of New York, they’d be viewed in the same light as a town like Cleveland.

    I’m still laughing about their fanbase calling themselves “billsmafia”!

  11. If you follow any of the Buffalo Bills on twitter they use #Billsmafia after each tweet. This was coined by the Bills themselves and not the fans and when Billsmafia punches your team in the face and moves on to the next week to do it again to another team you will not be laughing anymore.

  12. Hysteria.
    Bills fans need a concentrated dose of “settle down.”
    Barring a 2008 Brady injury scenario, your boys are not gonna win the division but the playoffs are definitely achievable. And then it gets tough.

  13. The conventional wisdom sais the Pats are top dog in the AFCE. They will have 3 new O line players, one, Vollmer, who is on the PUP list right now. Gronk has an injury that may be chronic, seeing how everyone tackles him the same way. The wideouts are aging fast, no run game, and despite not telling us, Brady had a shoulder injury in the SB, thats why the throw to Welker was off, and the Hail Mary didn’t go to Gronk, the most likely Pat to catch the ball. The D has been restocked with rookies, and the Pats track record of late is abysmal. If you haven’t been paying attention, the Bills and Pats have been at each others throats lately too. The Bills came back from 21 down to beat the Pats, and had a 21 pt lead in the rubber match before tanking. they lost on a fumble at the end of the 2010 opener 25-24, and in Fitz’s first real action against them, lost 38-30, and would have won if Fitz started over Edwards. In other words, they can compete with the Pats. The Pats only made it to the bowl because of a dropped pass in the endzone by Ravens WR Evans also.

  14. The Patriots schedule on paper is cake. Hopefully with the upgrades to the defensive line opposing QB’s don’t have all day to make plays. Then again breathing on a QB can result in a penalty.

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