Earlier in the week, Bills GM Buddy Nix gave an interview to the Toronto Sun and opined on several topics. But the thing that caught everyone’s eye was his bold proclamation. Or, really, his true opinion of his team’s standing.
Nix was asked about the high expectations in Buffalo — which we’ve mentioned here before — and he didn’t blink. The Bills have put themselves in position to win, and he didn’t mind saying so.
“I like high expectations,” Nix told the Toronto Sun. “I’ve never been many places where if you didn’t have ’em, that good things happen. So I think they oughta expect a lot of us. We expect a lot out of ourselves. New England, the AFC — they don’t scare me. I think we can compete with any of ’em, and our intention is to try to win the division.”
In other words, bring it on. In other words, the Patriots are no longer seen as the big brother picking on the little brother. The Bills feel like they are equal.
This is as a good a sign as any that Buffalo is ready. It isn’t the only one.
First, the Bills shouldn’t be scared of the Patriots. Yes, they should respect them, and I sense they do. But fear shouldn’t be there. The Bills, remember, beat Tom Brady’s Pats last year, one of Brady’s most frustrating losses. Deep down, I know Brady thought it was a fluke (tipped interceptions and all), but it wasn’t. It was a sign of a team peaking, finding their stride, and using their considerable offensive weapons and defensive ability to pounce to force an upset.
Of course, injuries and poor play by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick did them in, and it all went South late in the season for Buffalo. But snapping a 15-game losing streak vs. the Pats was a big step. Others came in the offseason.
Hiring a QB coach in David Lee, a real guru, should help Fitzpatrick with fundamentals — notably footwork. That should keep him more consistent. Fred Jackson is healthy again. The defensive line may be the best in football, specifically with the addition of Mario Williams. And adding a stud CB like Stephen Gilmore should create more turnovers.
At this point, I’d say the Bills are more likely to win and earn a Wild Card spot than the Jets. So, should they be scared of the Patriots? Nope. They are in position to challenge them. That’s why Nix’s words resonated with me, and why they should resonate in Buffalo.
The man speaks the truth. He has a read on his team. And he likes what he sees. Things are changing up North, it seems.