The Bills at the bye week

Well, wasn’t it fun for the first four weeks? And then came Cincinnati.

I was recently encouraged by an old friend who asked for some Trump relief and suggested a post about the Bills. I’m obliging, Tony, but I’m not sure if this qualifies as relief.

My pre-season prognosis suggested that the Bills might finish the season with 5 wins and 11 losses as part of a tanking season designed to help draft a franchise quarterback in 2018. The 5 wins for the season total may seem a little iffy, but it might not be that far off.

There have been too many seasons over the past 17 years which started out with excitement and hope but quickly came down to a regular mess. It’s too early to tell if 2017 will be another one of those years.

White#27I will, however, take back the tanking comment. The new coach, Sean McDermott, seems like the real thing. The defense has been super, returning to the form of the pre-Rex Ryan days. They are what you need to get into the playoffs.

So are the special team folks, highlighted by kicker Steven Hauschka. No need to hold your breath anymore when a field goal is needed.

Unfortunately, football teams are also required to put an offensive squad on the field for about half the game. Unfortunately, the Bills offense has been offensive.

Tyrod Taylor cannot throw from the pocket. I doubt he can even see over the rushing linemen. He can’t throw over the middle. He cannot check off receivers. He has trouble getting rid of the ball when he is about to be sacked. Other than those things, he is okay.

It is not all Tyrod’s fault, of course. The team does not have any quality receivers, having disposed of several of them over the past year or two. Charles Clay occasionally shows some talent, but even New England does not rely on just the often injured tight end Rob Gronkowski to carry the team. And the team now says that Clay will be out for several weeks following his injury in the Cincinnati game.

LeSean McCoy is still a quality running back but he has sure been struggling of late. Mike Tolbert, as the second string running back, is not even in the Mike Gillislee class. The Bills were intending on compensating for a lack of a quality quarterback by featuring the running game. That is not working.

So the team will tease us a bit for the remaining eleven games, but then probably will settle into somewhere around 7 and 9. That, plus the fact that currently undefeated Kansas City’s first round draft pick in 2018 isn’t going to be worth much as they move toward the playoffs, doesn’t say much for getting a franchise quarterback next year.

But for the moment, after five games and at the bye week, the Bills are tied on top of the AFC East with New England and the Jets. So pretend that means something and enjoy it for the moment – literally, for the moment. It is as good as it is going to get for 2017.

Meanwhile in Pegulaville, the Sabres are still waiting for their first win.

Here’s a little poll of how Politics and Other Stuff readers think the 2017 Bills season might wind up.

 

Knowing when to leave, in politics and football; Caputo looking for partners

My daughter points out to me that I often quote a song lyric to make a point and that I do that more than most people. Guilty!

Recent headlines got me reviewing some lyrics in my head, from an old Burt Bacharach song. The lines that rang a bell: “go while the going is good; knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn. Go!”

I’ll avoid here referring to anyone located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Buffalo News a few days ago reported on the ongoing feud between two veterans of local politics, Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein and former Amherst Town Councilman Bill Kindel. Both of them have been around the block a few times.

20150526_Weinstein_GiambraWeinstein is finishing his second term as Amherst Supervisor. He previously served as a town council member and a member of the Williamsville School Board. He was also a member of the Erie County Legislature, serving as a supporter of the policies of Joel Giambra which led to the meltdown of county government in 2005.

Kindel, besides having served 20 years as a member of the Town Council, has for many years been the Chairman of the Amherst Conservative Party. He has also made some unsuccessful comeback attempts with the Town Board.

The current feud involves the upcoming race for a couple seats on the Amherst Town Board. Weinstein, who is term-limited as supervisor, wants to stay on the Board as a councilman. Kindel would like to return to the Board. The feud follows from Weinstein’s re-affiliation last year as a member of the Conservative Party, which would facilitate him running for the Conservative town board nomination in a primary as a member of the party. I guess he assumes that the Republicans will give him their endorsement.

While I have been a resident of Amherst for thirty years, I haven’t involved myself in town politics. I do think, though, some new blood would help a town government to spend less money and to cut down on the congestion that excessive development is creating. Transit Road, Sheridan Drive and Main Street, on any given day, are among the most traffic-jammed streets in Western New York. It’s time to call a time-out and re-evaluate where the town is going.

It’s also time to leave it to someone else, Barry and Bill. “Go while the going is good; knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn.”

There are new candidates on the horizon. Amherst Democratic Town Chairman Jerry Schad reports that at least three top-notch candidates are in the running for the two vacancies on the Board: Shawn A. Lavin, an accountant, Jacqualine G. Berger, an educator, and Matthew Clabeaux, an attorney.

Assemblyman Ray Walter’s Chief of Staff Erin Baker will seek one of the Republican nominations. I know Erin from the days when I was director of government relations at Canisius College and Erin worked in the Advancement Office as a student intern. She’ll make a fine candidate too.

It’s time for a change.

Football teams knowing when to leave

NFL teams are on the move. There’s never enough money where league owners are concerned. Cities keep throwing cash at them.

The Rams last season re-located to Los Angeles after a couple of decades in St. Louis; which was after several previous decades in Los Angeles; which was after a number of years in Cleveland, before the Browns joined the NFL for the first time. The Browns, of course, moved to Baltimore after the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis. Then, several years later, Cleveland got a new version of the Browns.

The San Diego Chargers are no more, having moved to Los Angeles – which is where they were originally for a couple years, before going to San Diego.

The League this week also approved the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in two or three years. It should be a fun time in Raider Nation, Oakland location, until then. The Raiders, of course, had previously re-located to LA for a few years before going back to Oakland.

Okay, I know, enough.

The Buffalo News reported this week that the Pegulas are letting things settle in Orchard Park before starting a conversation about a new stadium for the Bills. Evidently pressure from NFL bigwigs Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft has let up a little. How nice of Jerry and Bob to not tell Erie County what to do at least for a while. At the moment there don’t seem to be any cities left that are looking for an NFL franchise, so there’s no talk about the Bills moving.

The team’s ownership seems to think that they should “have some success” before coming to the county for a new home. That should keep the taxpayers safe for at least a few years.

Caputo branching out

Michael Caputo, locally-based political operative with an international reputation, is looking to capitalize on his connections with Donald Trump. Politico reports:

Michael Caputo is the latest former Donald Trump campaign staffer looking to parlay his experience into consulting work in Washington. Caputo, the managing director of Zeppelin Communications, a public affairs firm with offices in East Aurora, N.Y., Miami and Moscow. He worked as a senior adviser on Trump’s campaign before resigning after sending a celebratory tweet when Trump fired his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

— Caputo sent a letter to a number of Washington public affairs shops and trade associations earlier this month looking to strike up a partnership with Zeppelin and emphasizing his experience on the campaign. “After working closely with Donald Trump in recent years, we’re taking the initiative to be more active in Washington,” Caputo wrote in the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. “From advising the billionaire developer on his potential New York Gubernatorial race to assisting him as he sought to purchase the Buffalo Bills, I learned how he works. … Understanding how Donald Trump ascended to the White House – and how he will likely operate — will be unique and vital counsel for your clients in the years ahead.”

— In an interview, Caputo said Zeppelin is looking to partner with other firms to take on more Washington work. “We’re looking for partners to help us in a much heavier lift,” he said. He’s hoping to open a Washington office, too. “My arena will be mostly public engagement,” he said. “I don’t intend to lobby. I’m a public relations guy.” But after working in Washington in the 1990s for firms such as Widmeyer Communications, he’s not planning on moving back down himself.

 With an office in Moscow already, Caputo seems to be all set up and ready to go with his new Trump-centered venture. And knowing “how [Trump] works… and how he will likely operate” is certainly a plus. How many people can there be who know how Trump works and will likely operate?

Does this mean that Michael Caputo will be leaving his gigs with the Erie County Water Authority and WBEN?

Betting on the Trump administration; Cuomo at the ECDC fundraiser; Niagara County politics; free tuition

The Trump regime

Today, February 15th, is the 27th day of the Trump regime. Why does it seem like an eternity already?

All new administrations have a honeymoon period; a break-in period; and a denouement period. The first two usually stretch one hundred days or more; the latter, if lucky does not happen until years three, four, or five of an administration. For the Trump team the honeymoon period was over almost before it began. The break-in period will probably last four years, assuming the administration lasts that long. The denouement has started already. Continue reading

The Bills at the bye week

The Buffalo Bills have been enjoying their week off. Or as it may be known at NFL headquarters, the opportunity to stretch the NFL season an extra week and collect bigger checks from the TV networks.

Actually that has not been going so well this year. Viewership is down double digits on all the networks. The league blames the distraction of the presidential election campaign. If that were the real reason, they might consider cancelling the 2017 season, because the endless distraction of the campaign will now go into permanent overtime. Continue reading