Bills GM Nix criticizes defense's lack of urgency
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buddy Nix places the blame for the Buffalo Bills' defensive meltdowns on an overall lack of urgency and not solely on high-priced defensive end Mario Williams. And the Bills general manager maintained his confidence in coach Chan Gailey's ability to turn around a team suddenly facing an early season crisis.
Otherwise, Nix finds himself as frustrated and "puzzled" as anyone after watching his team get outscored by a combined margin of 97-31 in its past two games.
"Well, obviously, we're not pleased with it. There's really no excuse for losing the way we did," Nix said Tuesday during a telephone conference call with reporters. "We're all to blame. Let's do better. Hell, let's get it going."
Nix spoke from Phoenix, where the Bills (2-3) are spending the week preparing to play the Arizona Cardinals (4-1) Sunday.
The Bills elected to stay out west to save time on travel after a 45-3 loss at San Francisco on Sunday. And yet there are many fans beginning to wonder whether the team should come home at all after putting up consecutive duds, including a 52-28 loss to New England a week earlier.
It's a two-game stretch in which the Bills have allowed 1,201 yards offense, the most by an NFL team since the New York Yanks surrendered 1,227 over that span in 1950. Buffalo has particularly struggled in the second half in each loss, having been outscored 73-14 over the past two games.
Against New England, the Bills became only the second NFL team to allow an opponent to have two players with 100 yards rushing and two more with 100 yards receiving. Against the 49ers, the Bills gave up a franchise-worst 621 yards and became the first NFL team to allow 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing.
These are numbers Nix said he couldn't have envisioned this offseason when he revamped his defense by committing about $127 million in salary to sign Williams and fellow defensive end Mark Anderson in free agency, and after Dave Wannstedt took over as the unit's coordinator.
Nix refused to single out Williams by saying there's enough blame to go around on defense that he sees to be playing with a lack of urgency.
"When you miss tackles, usually it's one of two things: It's talent or lack of effort," Nix said. "And we've seen these guys do it before so I think they can. But we've got to get that urgency back somehow."
As for Williams, Nix said it's unfair for the player to take the brunt of the blame, because it would be difficult for anyone to play up to the high expectations that were raised around Buffalo after Williams signed a six-year, $100 million contract.