Jason Cole: Bills Owners Are Interfering A Lot

The Buffalo Bills entered the season with expectations to make the playoffs for the first time this century. Unfortunately for them, they have started 0-2 and there are numerous problems on both sides of the ball.

In Week 1, the Bills held Baltimore to just 13 points yet still lost. In Week 2, meanwhile, they scored 31 against the Jets but couldn’t come away with the win.

What is going on in Buffalo?

“Rex is actually playing along with the owners, and the owners are interfering a lot,” Bleacher Report NFL reporter Jason Cole said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You get this a lot with new owners. You buy a new toy, you want to play with it, especially if you pay $1.4 billion. You want to play with that new toy. So they’re interfering a lot. So the decision to interview players before they fired Greg Roman – without Rex being there – (is an example of interference). They got involved with Marcell Dareus and that contract extension a year ago. I also think their fingerprints were all over the firing of coach Karl Dunbar, the defensive line coach. That was done in March, which is a very odd time for an assistant coach to be hired or fired. So I think that you’re seeing that the owners want to do all of this, and Rex is basically allowing it because he’s not stepping in and saying, ‘Look, if you want me to run the football side, let me run the football side. You guys go do what you do as owners, but you can’t interfere this way.’ Instead he’s doing what Jason Garrett does in Dallas and allows ownership to do whatever it is that they want to do. I know it’s hard for a head coach to interfere like that, but you can’t allow owners to undermine the football organization. Football teams are very oddly run organizations, but you can’t have interference like that.”

This problem isn’t unique to Ryan, either. Doug Marrone had similar problems.

“You hope that the owners will learn,” Cole said. “The owner has a place and it’s a very important place. I’m not trying to diminish the person who writes the checks, no question about it. But they have a very specific place that doesn’t include too much interference in football ops. That has to be handled by the coaches and the general manager. You hope that they learn and understand that eventually and learn it sooner than later. Ultimately, though, especially with modern owners that I watch, they interfere far too long and (with) far too much. But there is no position more important than owner of an NFL team. if the owner gets it and understands it and knows how to guide the ship – but not necessarily steer it and take control of it – that’s usually a smoothly run organization. That’s where you saw John Mara, the Rooneys, the Krafts – they understand where they belong in the operation and where the line is between them and football operations.”

Buffalo, which has finished with a winning record just twice in the last 15 seasons, has not made the playoffs since 1999.

In other news, another AFC sleeper, Jacksonville, is also 0-2 following a 38-14 loss to the Chargers on Sunday.

“They actually look pretty good in the game against Green Bay,” Cole said, referring to Jacksonville’s season-opening 27-23 loss to the Packers. “They looked very good. But they looked horrible yesterday and the defense is just not making the progress. They brought in a lot of defensive talent. Now I’ll say this: I think this team defensively is going to be terrific in the second half of the season, but I’m not sure they’re going to have enough patience to get there. (Bradley) is 12-38 over the 50 games. As nice as Gus Bradley is, that’s not going to keep you in a job. I think that they’ll wait to the end of the season (if they fire him). Ownership knew going in that this was going to be a team that, if it peaked, it was going to peak in the second half of the season because of all the young players on defense. But again, you got to get through the first half of the season 4-4 (or) 3-5 to make a run in the second half of the season.”

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