Bills Maven

How Good is Brandon Beane at Judging NFL Talent?

The Bills' recent veteran additions have been uninspiring

Once I came down from the clouds after AJ McCarron led that legendary if ultimately meaningless win at the Bears on Thursday night, I was left to contemplate this question: How good is Brandon Beane at judging NFL talent?

For more than a year now, fans and media have been uttering the same mantra: That Beane and Sean McDermott have a vision and are a major step forward from the previous regime. While thats true, its also true that being more visionary than Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan isnt a terribly high bar. At some point, critical Bills fans will need to hold them to a higher standard.

The Bills hit the jackpot on a couple of veteran safeties last year in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, but that was after Beane was hired. I think the secondary is due to get a little exposed this season, but those two fortified a poor group and helped the Bills break the playoff drought. Fine.

Whaley made some good decisons, too. Every GM finds guys in free agency and trades. Its the overall picture that matters. Beane is in his second year as general manager and first full year (remember, McDermott ran the 2017 draft), and he has assembled a team that could be the worst in the league. I know they havent played any regular-season games, but judging by the influx of new talent, youd be tempted to think the Bills were, uh, tanking.

The offensive line is a joke. Russell Bodine, who was acquired from the Bengals to play center, has been a disappointment. Cincinnati didnt want Bodine for a reason. Marshall Newhouse, who had 70 starts on his NFL resume, has been dreadful. If he makes the cut to 53, its mainly because the other players fighting for OL spots are even worse.

Vontae Davis was supposed to fill the hole at cornerback. He looks washed up to me. The second cornerback is a big issue heading into the season and you can bet teams will be attacking it during the regular season.

Corey Coleman is the latest wide receiver pickup who has been a non-factor. Coleman seemed to give up on a long bomb early in Thursdays game. His commitment to the craft is very much in question. In the first episode of Hard Knocks, Jarvis Landry went into a rant about players not being willing to make the sacrifices to be great. He was clearly pointing at Coleman. At the start of the second episode, we see Coleman driving away from camp after the Browns traded him to the Bills.

Asked about Coleman on Thursday, Beane said Hes trying. Uninspiring.

Trent Murphy was expected to upgrade a sorry pass rush. Hes still nursing a groin injury, this after sitting out a year with injuries. Im sure he has much to offer when healthy. Beane says theres a chance Murphy will play in the opener at Baltimore.

McCarron was expected to be the starting quarterback after the Bills signed him in free agency. The more hopeful press, who are always ready to assume the best about every Bills move, called him a bargain at $4 million a year. Hes not an NFL starter. McCarron threw for 39 yards with two picks in the first half. The fact that he led a heroic comeback against backups who will be lucky to be on Chicagos practice squad next week, hardly justifies his presence.

(UPDATE: McCarron was traded to the Raiders on Sunday for a fifth-round draft pick)

Kelvin Benjamin, the receiver Beane acquired last season to help Tyrod Taylor, is a No. 1 wideout in name only. He doesnt get enough separation and isnt a serious threat down the field. Beane needs to do more to strengthen his receiving corps. Zay Jones isnt a proven No. 2, either, so once again theyll be running out WRs who are inferior at their designated spots.

I know, they havent played a game and the Bills surprised us a year ago making the playoffs with six-win talent. But fans need to start holding this franchise to a higher standard. That means not assuming greatness about coaches and executives just because they have the same base competence as the rest of the NFL.

Fans and media were aglow about the Pegulas other new GM, remember? Then Jason Botterill brought in a bunch of sad-sack new players and the Sabres finished dead last in the NHL. Botterill seems to have his team headed in the right direction (theres only one direction when youre last), so Im willing to give him time putting his own team together.

But hes still new, same as Beane. They should be treated that way. Beane has a lot to prove. Hed better hope that Josh Allen is the real deal.

Comments (6)
No. 1-6
Kppp
Kppp

This whole QB thing will prove out that the draft choice was bad and getting rid of AJ was worst !! More years of disappointment for Bills fans

Fatman23
Fatman23

Hi. I think too early to tell. Another draft and sc room will help Judge him better. Lets have patience. No more 3 and done with coaches and gms. Need stability

Spud1217
Spud1217

Your article does not take into account that GM Beane indicated that he needed 2 to 3 years to clean up the Salary cap mess that he inherited. he has done an amazing job at this while picking up 2nd tier players to help fill holes and let younger guys develop. The true rebuild will be next season with the draft picks and the extra salary cap space he has to target top tier players who fit our culture. We finally have a respectable GM and Coach who are for once in sync with one another. The future is bright for these Buffalo Bills regardless if you cannot see it, because you are still salty the Buffalo News let you go.

Peace Frog
Peace Frog

AJ was signed a few days after Tyrod was traded to Cleveland because a veteran presence was needed at the QB position. It was unknown if or who the Bills could/would draft for a QB and AJ was the best of the bunch after Cousins, Bradford, etc. had already signed elsewhere. If AJ (or any other veteran QB, for that matter) was not signed before the draft and the Bills somehow managed to come away from the draft with no QB, you would've eviscerated Brandon in one of your columns, Jerry. I, for one, happen to agree with most of what the front office is doing as it is not an exact science and they have, in my opinion, brought in some good players. Personally, I think the 'tank' that was supposed to happen last year will, in fact, happen this year, based on our brutal schedule and lack of talent at key positions.

GSpencer
GSpencer

Can't spend money you don't have. Whaley had this team handcuffed in SC room. I HOPE with high draft picks and plenty of FA money the building for the future starts next year. In the meant time it's going to be a long season.

Sargent
Sargent

They probably shouldnt have brought in a veteran [QB] in first place? Cmon Jerry. Given what they knew in the spring, that would have been totally irresponsible of them. You would have killed them if they didnt.