At 6-7 on the season, the Buffalo Bills find themselves two games behind multiple teams in the AFC playoff race. In a season that started with high expectations, it appears Buffalo will miss out on the playoffs for the 16th consecutive time.
We all know just how much Bills head coach Rex Ryan likes to talk. He makes predictions that are normally reserved for the most amateurish of individuals.
He also tends to speak off the cuff. At times, this has led to false optimism within the locker rooms of the teams he has coached.
That was evident in his first training camp as the Bills head coach, mainly with players speaking out of turn regarding what were then expectations most figured the team could not meet.
With the season winding down, at least one Bills player understands that the team might have put the cart before the horse:
“Of course, the hype was there and we all saw it and we all feel it as well; we’re good team on paper. Getting a new head coach and stuff, his system has to get placed in and it doesn’t happen in a year,” defensive tackle Marcell Dareus told Buffalo News on Tuesday.
“I think that we all missed that and looked at the pieces that we put in and forgot the big picture of letting it all set, seal and don’t touch it for a little bit. Let the cement harden and let the coaches know we’re on concrete. I feel like we jumped the gun on certain things, but we’re still playing together and we’re still moving closer and closer to what we’re looking for.”
Being optimistic about the expectations of your squad is one thing. Expecting things to come easy is a completely different thing, especially in a division that boasts the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
It’s definitely a learning curve for this team. It’s also something Ryan himself should have recognized before the season even kicked off.
Without suggesting that a false sense of optimism has played a role in the team’s lack of success this season, it’s important to note that Buffalo has committed the second-most penalties in the NFL through 13 games.
Some of that has to do with a lack of attention to detail — something Ryan-led teams have been missing for some time now.
With the talent Buffalo possesses, the humbling realization that it isn’t as good as first imagined could be a good thing for the team moving forward.
Unfortunately, it likely won’t be enough for Bills fans to see playoff football in Western New York for the first time since the Bill Clinton Administration.