With the Buffalo Bills recent moves in free agency, the team is heading into a new direction and general manager Brandon Beane is leading the way. Even with their recent success, I had to pull this one out because it is manifestly my way of getting the last word in over “Negative Stanley”.
Stanley has earned his nickname “Negative Stanley” this offseason after the Buffalo Bills ended their seventeen year-long playoff drought, more so than ever before. Stanley went on an overwrought rant at Tim Horton’s Coffee Shop “this process is what?” It is just a word being thrown around by someone who does not want to or does not have answers to media questions? The process looks like this extremely brilliant plan that broke the drought in year one. They did not play that well last year. They almost imploded when the quarterback who had them in a playoff position was benched for an unproven rookie which easily could have divided the team. The Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd connection broke the drought. The Bills had better years under Rex Ryan and was far superior in Mike Malarkey’s winning season. The Bills were lucky. Everything that needed to fall in to place did. That’s bound to happen when you miss the playoffs for that ridiculous amount of time. Everything that needed to happen, it all worked out for the Bills. This year will prove the point when they regress to a six-win team. They got rid of good players since they came to town….Mr. Beane and Mr. Clean”
I inquired how he could imply these accusations watching the Bills surgically executing the process. Brandon Beane does not conduct himself like a first time general manager. He makes smart well thought out moves like a dynamic chess player. That does not imply he does not take chances or turn heads with some moves.
When it was pointed out how well the Bills are doing with trades, signings and even the process of moving up where they are so far in the draft, Stanley got vocal.
“This Star Lotulelei is another example of the Bills general manager and coach living in the past. This defensive lineman is overrated, does not get to the quarterback and his numbers have regressed as he heads to the prime of his career. Five years is a long contract with some apparently big money for a guy that has not even dominated in tackles or stopping the run. The Carolina Panthers went to one super bowl and lost. No reason to focus on bringing in former players from there just because he was a first round pick. Go out to the market, and find better players, not safe players who was on the roster when they were both on the Panthers staff. In his rookie year he had 42 tackles and then he nose dives to averaged around 25 tackles per season. I know an average player when I see him and I know my stats before I make a statement.”
Many times, a player who has dropped off gets a fresh start and returns to the glory days or simply outshines their own past performances by creating new glory days. When the Bills were managed well many years ago they signed free agents like Ted Washington and Bryce Paup who went on to become the stars they were with new surroundings. Paup won AFC defensive player of the year in 1995 and Ted Washington went on to play in the league for many years as a player occupying two and three opposing players freeing up the likes of Bruce Smith and Paup being able to get to the quarterback.
Lotulelei is from Tonga, and went to college in Utah. Lotulelei is 6’3″ and is a big guy who can stop the run. He fills an immediate job opening on Buffalo’s defensive line that trading away Marcell Dareus and his extra baggage created.
He has played in 76 games in his NFL career which is quite durable for a man of his size. He will not wow you with his sack totals or even quantity of tackles, but he does what many old school nose tackles did and that is occupy the other team’s players and more than one at a time. He creates space, so linebackers or edge rushers can do what they do best, and make plays. Signing guys who are going in to their second contract in the NFL approaching the prime of their career is not an issue most of the time. Having Lotulelei, who already knows head coach Sean McDermott’s system is a bonus for the Bills,and it’s also important that the management already knows his work ethic and character that an equal talent or better who ends up like Dareus, who has gotten himself into trouble the last few years.
Bringing in Lotulelei brings in a big man in the middle which was a desperate need for the Bills. Pairing him up with Kyle Williams who is returning for one more year, upgrades the run game in a huge way. The Bills defensive line may show a lot of improvement this year.
-Scott Bryk is a writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter @skotbrick1970.