When the Buffalo Bills played the New York Jets in Week one of the 2012 NFL Season, both teams had high hopes of making the playoffs. Now both teams must play each other again to close out in what has been a very disappointing season for both the Jets and Bills. A season in which once over, will most likely bring about major changes in the three most important positions in an NFL team: the General Manager, the Head Coach and the Quarterback.
General Manager Buddy Nix has said the time has now come for the Bills to draft a franchise quarterback, sending a strong statement that Ryan Fitzpatrick has more than likely will be playing his last game with the Bills.
But the quarterback will not be the only change Nix will make. There is also a good chance that Head Coach Chan Gailey will be fired when the season comes to a conclusion. The Bills have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, including giving big contracts to free agents Mark Anderson and Mario Williams. But the Coach Gailey has not been able to get the team to improve their record or performance, including two last minute collapse by the defense against the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams at home.
The players have proved their loyalty to their coach, yet have not proved it on the field and when free agency arrives on March 1st; some might find their way onto another team or hit the streets.
The players who will be unrestricted free agents for the Bills will be Jairus Byrd, Andy Levitre, Leodis McKelvin, Kyle Moore, Tashard Choice, Bryan Scott, Shawn Merriman, Spencer Johnson, Ruvell Martin, Corey McIntyre, Tyler Thigpen and Tavaris Jackson. Fred Jackson may also be a salary cap casualty as he’s been unable to stay healthy the past two seasons, is aging along with the emergence of C.J. Spiller.
However, Buddy Nix may not be around to deal with any of this. There has been talk that Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. will blow things up and start all over again.
On the other side of the ball you have the New York Jets who gave new meaning to the word dysfunction, could be looking at changes in the same three areas as the Bills, the General Manager, the Head Coach and the Quarterback.
Jets owner Woody Johnson has to contemplate if he should fire General Manager Mike Tannebaum or demote him to another position and hire a G.M. to replace him. The Jets could be heading for a power struggle between Tannebaum and Head Coach Rex Ryan, where, according to a report by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily, Ryan would rather get fired than accept the status quo and wants changes to be made. Though Ryan was “mad as a hornet” about that report changes that could still take place include firing offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, getting rid of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow and ask Johnson and Tannebaum eat salary cap and money held up in coaching contracts to make the necessary changes to turn the franchise around.
Then there is the big question mark at quarterback. The Jets traded for Tim Tebow with the plan to use him in the Wildcat for up to 20 plays per game. He never came close to 20 plays a game whether it was in punt formations, wildcat or in a regular offense. When he did play, he made no impact. Despite offensive coordinator Tony Sparano wanting to get Tebow involved more, Ryan just did not have any confidence in him whatsoever and when Mark Sanchez struggled all season, Ryan never wavered, stating Sanchez gives the team the best chance to win. While Sanchez didn’t give the team the best chance to win on most Sundays, that weren’t exactly a ringing endorsement for Tebow either.
There were conflicting reports that he was taken out of the Wildcat package while others reported that he asked out of it. Needless to say Tebow will move on from the Jets after this season, with Jacksonville looking like the only team still interested in his services, at least at the behest of Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
After Sanchez was responsible for all the teams’ turnovers in a disaster loss to the Tennessee Titans, he was finally benched in favor of third string quarterback Greg McElroy. But McElroy was sacked eleven times and suffered a concussion in a loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Instead of giving Tebow a chance in the season finale, Ryan gave the starting nod back to Sanchez, a decision Tebow was not happy about.
So as the season comes to a close Jets owner Woody Johnson has to decide if he wants to keep up with the circus atmosphere and keep everything in place or clean house and start from scratch. Strong team structure starts at the top and Johnson has shown he’s more concerned with headlines than winning. In order to reverse the culture as it is, Johnson may need to sell the team.
What will happen to both teams and the possible changes remain to be seen once the regular season has concluded.
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