We are back baby, and in the only way we know how, writing about sadness. For seventeen years, the Buffalo Bills have, let we say, struggledto find their grip in the NFL and make it to the NFL playoffs. The last time the Bills made the playoffs Believe by Cher was the number one song in America, Bill Clinton was president and this happened. Kill me. If your dad staring at the TV and slowly standing up to turn it off after that BS is one of your first memories then maybe you should’ve known something had to give. It was forward pass, but that’s for another place and another time. Whatever way you slice it, the Bills lost that fateful “Music City Miracle” (give me a break, it was a crime as Tim Russert would say) and haven’t been back since. They’ve come close (see 2000, 2004, and just about every year in the 2010s) but really they have not come close at all. There have been many players and coaches that have come through One Bills Drive to try and lead the Bills back to the playoffs, but all have failed. Yesterday we did the offense and today we will wrap it up with the defense and pick a coach to lead this ragtag bunch of awful players. For all intents and purposes I am going with a 4-3 style defense since that is the base defense that the Bills have used for a majority of the drought years.
Defensive End: Aaron Schobel, 2001-2009
Choosing the defense was hard, but this decision was probably the easiest. Schobel played his entire career for the Bills after being drafted out of TCU. He made the Pro Bowl in 2006 after a fourteen sack season and then made it again the following year as Jason Taylor’s alternate. Since he came into the league in 2001 he is second in sacks only behind Taylor. Here he is gently pushing over a gentle butterfly.
Another slam dunk of a pick, Williams has anchored the defensive line for the Bills for almost a full decade. A four-time Pro Bowler (2010, 2012-2014) Williams has been a force in the middle of the Bills’ defensive line especially as run stuffer. Williams also 40.5 sacks to go along with his stellar career.
Here’s where it gets tough, but Dareus has to be here, despite all his problems off the field. When Dareus he is on the field, Dareus is a force. A Pro Bowler in 2013, the combination of Dareus and Williams has been one of the best interior combinations in the NFL. Dareus has 30.5 sacks, an impressive stat for a defensive tackle for being in the league for six years.
Honorable Mentions at DT: Pat Williams, Sam Adams, Larry Tripplett
Another Bills lifer, Kelsay was not flashy or a superstar, but he was consistent starter for the Bills. He started every game from 2007 until his retirement after the 2012 season along with being a captain. He never made the Pro Bowl and finished his career with 32.5 sacks.
Honorable Mentions at DE: Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Ryan Denney
Linebacker: London Fletcher, 2002-2006
A common theme for the All-Drought defense is that many of the players will come from the dominant 2004 defense. With that the case, it makes sense that the middle linebacker from the squad would make the team. Fletcher started every game he could while in Buffalo and broke the Bills record for tackles in a season with 209 in his first season in Buffalo. Surprisingly, he never made the Pro Bowl while a member of the Bills.
Linebacker: Takeo Spikes, 2003-2006
The other middle linebacker on that 2004 defense, Spikes was an important player in almost getting the Bills to the playoffs. A Pro Bowler in his first season in Buffalo, Spikes recorded 126 tackles and a pair of interceptions, sacks and fumble recoveries in 2003.
Linebacker: Paul Posluszny, 2007-2010
The man who always seemed to break his arm. I hate putting him on this team because he was such a disappointing player and his injuries did not help. Unfortunately, there really is not another linebacker who I could definitely say was better than Posluszny. Here is a video of him actually doing something.
Honorable Mentions at Linebacker: Kiko Alonso, Manny Lawson, Kelvin Sheppard
Cornerback: Nate Clements, 2001-2006
One of the best cornerbacks the Bills have ever had, Clements was drafted by the team in 2001 and had his best years in Buffalo. He finished his career with the Bills tallying 23 interceptions, including three in a game against the Dolphins in 2002. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004 after having a career high six interceptions during the year.
Cornerback: Terrence McGee, 2003-2012
McGee will return later on this team. He is probably better known for his kick returning skills, however people forget how solid of corner he was. McGee played his entire career with the Bills and finished it with seventeen career interceptions and is the Bills all-time leader with 97 passes defended.
Honorable Mentions: Antoine Winfield, Stephon Gilmore, Troy Vincent
This was the hardest decision of the entire team because there has been a lot of average strong safeties during the drought. Whitner has been the best of the average as he made the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team in 2006 and finished his time with the Bills with 451 tackles and five interceptions. Still fantastic that he tried to change his last name to Hitner while he was with the 49ers.
Honorable Mentions: George Wilson, Lawyer Milloy
Free Safety: Jarius Byrd, 2009-2013
Byrd was dominant when the Bills drafted him out of Oregon in 2009. He led the league in interceptions during his rookie season and made the Pro Bowl three times in 2009, 2012, and 2013. He was the first Bills rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl since Greg Bell (Who?) in 1984. Byrd was a first team All-Pro member in 2012 and was one of the best defensive players from the entire drought. But, as common with most good players from the drought, the Bills were not able to meet the money required to resign him and he is now on the Saints where he has found limited success.
Kicker: Rian Lindell, 2003-2012
Punter: Brian Moorman, 2001-2013
For the longest time the Bills sold his jersey in the Bills Store next to the stadium and people actually bought them. A two-time Pro Bowler, a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team and a member of the Bills 50th anniversary team, Moorman was the easy choice for this spot.
Kick Returner/Punt Returner: Terrence McGee, 2003-2012
Another no doubter, McGee was one of the most feared kick returners in the NFL. He has the Bills record for most kick return yards, kickoff return touchdowns, career all-purpose yards and the longest kick return for a touchdown at 104 yards. He did not even score here but it shows how dangerous of a returner McGee was.
And now, the saddest pick of the whole team…the head coach!
Mike Mularky, 2004-2005
There is not a single coach that was hired during the drought that has an above .500 record and there have been six. Not…a…single…coach. It is pretty miserable, so let’s choose the guy who got the closest to the playoffs of any coach during the drought. You remember, the 2004 Steelers backup game (here it is just to remind you, go to 5:30).
Honorable Mentions: Doug Marrone, Rex Ryan!, Dick Jauron (FML)
So there it is, the team of suck. I cannot I believe I root for this team and have for more than twenty years. It is pretty miserable being stuck in this constant abyss of suck, but here we are. One day this team will make the playoffs and, who knows, maybe mess around and actually win a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that day seems pretty far away at this point. Let the debate begin!