Bumbling Bills and Other Bulletins
It's still two months away. But not too early to wonder what the Buffalo Bills will look like, what shape they'll be in, by the time they play Seattle at the Rogers Centre in mid-December.
This thing's headed off the cliff so fast its starting to feel like the second half of last season for the Leafs. Even the words of Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey revealed a sense of shellshock similar to that spoken by Leafs GM Brian Burke last winter.
"I don’t know what it is," Gailey said after a 45-3 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. “I’ve never been here before, so I’m in new territory."
We now know that Burke had an inkling of what some of the problem was, a coaching staff in which goalie coach Francois Allaire wasn't speaking to assistants Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin, and vice versa. It didn't cause the Leaf crash. But it undoubtedly helped create a mood that the team was falling apart.
Similarly, it's likely Gailey has a pretty good idea what's wrong, and after surrendering, 1,100 yards in the past two games, he's probably starting to think defence is a big part of the problem. Dave Wannstedt, a defensive genius in another lifetime, is running the Bills D and something has gone drastically wrong.
"If this keeps up, they’re going to break a record for most records broken in a season," opined the always clever Bucky Gleason in the Buffalo News. "Buffalo’s defense has allowed 580 yards and 621 yards in its last two games. Quick, what do you call it when the Bills allow 550 yards and lose by three touchdowns? Progress. What do you call it when they give up 300 yards? Halftime."
By Dec. 16, when the Bills entertain the Seahawks, the Buffalo season will have either been turned around or heads will have been lopped off. Maybe Wannstedt goes first. Maybe Gailey goes. Maybe GM Buddy Nix who spent boatloads to augment the defence with end Mario Williams.
They've already slashed prices for this game compared to other years. The new five-year extension to the Bills In Toronto Series has been approved by the NFL's International Committee and should be announced soon, a deal that will be much less lucrative for the Bills.
Toronto doesn't really need another team that doesn't win. We've got lots. But the Bills are staying for a while, and based on what we're seeing, they may keep losing for while as well.
And in other news:
Beware the bogus NHL tales coming your way as folks search for semi-stories that can be dressed up as news. Know this: the league's owners may get happy feet, or the players might turn on each other again. But neither is going to happen next week or next month. Stories that suggest either is happening now are pure bunk. . .I think the NHL should announce the cancellation of the Winter Classic. Not because of the lockout. Just because it's a phony event and I can't stand it. . . Clay Matthews is right. Defensive players deserve to be protected just like offensive players. That chop block on Houston's Brian Cushing should be a suspendable offence. . .The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting say the CBC makes a $15 million profit annually on Hockey Night in Canada, while HNIC delivers more than 50 per cent of the ad revenue earned by the CBC's English network. Losing NHL rights in 2014, the FOCB suggest, would cripple the CBC. . .Great Britain is unlikely to enter a men's soccer team for Rio. But the women, who lost a tough one to Canada? Maybe. . .Gregg McKegg is one player who has apparently created a positive impression at Marlies camp. . .Nail Yakupov was made eligible to play in the KHL after paperwork issues were cleared up. Interestingly, Mikhail Grigorenko chose to return to the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL and is ripping the league up with 17 points in eight games. Remparts are 5-0-0 and the No. 1 ranked CHL club in the country. .A 1-5 start apparently doomed ex-Leaf Dave Reid as GM of the Peterborough Petes. Reid was fired earlier today. Head coach Mike Pelino takes over. . .Every team in the CFL East Division has allowed more points than it has scored. Three of the four eastern teams have surrendered more than 400 points. Only the Argos haven't, and they're still worst the any of the four CFL West teams.