Progress being made, but it will be a process

I hope Bills fans are not getting too excited over our prospects this present season. Our chances are all but gone to make the playoffs this year.

The team is still a season or two away. Everything is slowly getting better; coaching, players, etc., but we are still not there yet.

Daniel Botzko


Discipline becoming difference for Bills

I can deal with rookie mistakes. I can deal with the occasional penalties that may appear dubious to the fans. What I can’t deal with are undisciplined mistakes, missed tackles and general apathy.

Back in the day, we had a name for games like Tampa Bay: “Run for the bus.” So run for the bus, boys. And when you get where you’re going, stay there.

Dave Gusmann


Fan just about at the end of his rope

Nothing new. Wrong coach. Wrong players. Does it ever get better? I’m tired of being embarrassed. Who cares anymore? Call Hospice.

This team and franchise are barely breathing. Take your false hopes and go to Toronto. Give them the pain. It’s fourth and go. Please go. I don’t care where. Just go.

James Furcoat


It’s same old, same old for unwatchable Bills

Well it took a while but now the Bills have attained Sabres status, that is, unwatchable.

If EJ Manuel is a franchise quarterback, I’m missing something. You could understand and maybe even forgive four interceptions in wintry northern weather but perfect conditions in Tampa? Come on. Mike Glennon, Tampa’s QB, certainly looks like someone to build on. Who would you rather have?

Our overrated defensive line was exposed again. A good college team could run on these guys. This supposedly was a “statement” game and fans can fill in the blanks as to the kind of statement made.

We didn’t resign Levitre, let our best backup guard, Chad Rinehart, sign with San Diego where he starts. After seeing what Tampa Bay did to our offensive line, I’m sure we could have used them. Not even going to bring up the Jairus Byrd situation.

As far as the front office goes, are we any better than we were one year, three years, five years or 10 years ago? Good teams find a way to keep their best players. Other than Alonso and occasional flashes from Woods and Goodwin, has the draft panned out? Lawson certainly was a good free agent pickup, but that’s it.

The coaching staff. The record speaks for itself. Something has to change. Hopefully, next year is not more of the same.

Henry Theal


A tale of two athletes named Johnson

I would like to compare two Johnsons. Zach Johnson from the PGA Tour and Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills.

During the final round on Sunday at Sherwood Golf Course, Zach Johnson trailed Tiger Woods, at one point by four strokes. It appeared that Tiger would coast to victory. Both men were tied playing the final hole in regulation. Tiger was in the bunker with his approach shot, Tiger was surely going to get up and down for a par, so Zach had to sink his shot from a drop area (58 yards) for a par to tie and force a playoff. Zach’s mistake didn’t frustrate him, I believe it helped him focus on what he had to do next. And he pulled off a miraculous shot for the ages and then won on the first playoff hole.

Stevie drops a pass during the Atlanta game when the Bills are moving into field goal range near the end of regulation. He tells us after the game that he will work harder to protect the ball in that situation. Then during the Tampa game, a ball deflects off his hands and is intercepted. He states after the game that it didn’t really matter because it was early in the game. What?

Sports can teach us so many lessons in life. Adversity causes us to either hide or face the truth in that moment. Zach Johnson didn’t reflect on what had gone wrong, or make an excuse for his blunder. He refocused, reloaded and then made an unbelievable shot with the tournament on the line.

The Buffalo Bills should have invited Zach Johnson to address the team before the Jacksonville game. He could give them some great insight and inspiration about capitalizing on your most recent mistake. Maybe Zach could mentor Stevie.

Thomas J. Ronald


Bills fan named Bella could be good addition

I was wondering if a dog can play in the NFL? My dog, Bella, can catch and run with a football. She’s great at running by defenders, never drops the ball and can run the 40-yard dash in two seconds.

She’s a Bills fan and would love playing for them, just as long as they make her the top paid player in the league. After all, with that kind of talent, who on the team would deserve better?

Ron Solomon


Manuel didn’t rate being first-round pick

Mel Kiper’s evaluations of quarterbacks leaving college.

Cam Newton: The concern with him is his accuracy.

Andy Dalton: Pinpoint accuracy, average arm.

Sam Bradford: Pinpoint accuracy.

Colin Kaspernick: Needs to get his accuracy up.

Jake Locker: Accuracy and decision making are problems.

Matt Barkley: Very accurate, average arm.

Andrew Luck: Very accurate.

Ryan Tannehill: Good accuracy.

Robert Griffin III: Very accurate.

Russell Wilson: Extremely accurate.

Nick Foles: Good accuracy.

EJ Manuel: Inconsistent accuracy, inconsistent decision making, isn’t very instinctive.

Kiper rated Manuel a third rounder. What were the Bills thinking?

I wish they would draft a quarterback who is very accurate instead of someone who’s big, smart and has all the other qualities. These qualities don’t make a quarterback accurate. If he’s not, very few improve very much.

Nick Parker


Rookies all around doesn’t mean success

Let’s see now. A rookie quarterback, a rookie head coach, a rookie middle linebacker, a rookie wideout and a rookie offensive coordinator. Anyone who realistically thought this was going to lead to great things this year, please raise your hands.

Thank you. I thought so.

Chris Saunders


Opposition fan seem to rule roost to Toronto

OK, enough is enough. It’s time to put this miserable Toronto experiment with the Bills to bed. Please, don’t remind me of the won/lost record up there so far. And it’s an insult to call it a Bills home game. They’re just as much on the road, and in unfamiliar surroundings, as the team they’re playing against, unless of course the team they face comes from a dome environment (see Atlanta Falcons), then the element of advantage is with them. Put the Atlanta game outside in Wilson stadium in Orchard Park, the Bills win, and you can take that to the bank.

Then there’s the lack of support up there. The Canadians either don’t like the Bills or don’t care about them one way or the other. When the camera did one of its rare pans of the Rogers Centre, there were huge, gaping empty sections. It’s a known fact among the media that the Canadian promoters literally give away tons of tickets just to put butts in the seats, and then they still don’t show up. And the ones who do show seem to always cheer for the Bills’ opponent. I heard louder cheering for Atlanta than I did for the Bills on Sunday. And unless a fleet of 747’s packed with people from Atlanta flew into Toronto, which is sheer fantasy, then how do you account for all that cheering for the Falcons? Nice support for the Bills up there, huh?

One more advantage in getting out might be that wackos will stop coming out of the woodwork starting rumors that they want to buy the team and move it to Toronto. Jon Bon Jovi should stick to what he does best, and that’s put out a hit record every now and then.

We’re all familiar with the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Quite to the contrary, this is an experiment that’s terribly broken, and it needs fixing now.

John Fantini


An extra home game could make a difference

Dear Mr. Brandon: As a long time season ticket holder and lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills, I am writing to urge you to put an end to the Toronto Series.

I understand your desire to “regionalize” the team and increase your revenue by marketing Southern Ontario but where do you draw the line? Your franchise is said to be worth upwards of $850 million and attendance at home games has been exceptional for a team mired in a 14-year playoff drought.

How much money is enough? Does this franchise really need $78 million to place their team in this precarious position every year. We will never know what might have happened had last week’s game been played at RWS but the 38,000 in attendance, (many clad in their Falcon jerseys) surely did not help in creating a home field advantage for our Bills.

Going forward, this game in Toronto might be the difference in getting your team out of this 14-year playoff drought. Bills fans don’t ask for much and have probably been loyal to a fault through the years. Do the right thing and give the fine people of this city the eight home football games they so deserve.

Michael Bartolotti


Local economy is hurt by Toronto debacle

So another Bills game played in Toronto, another game where local area vendors lose money; local bars, restaurants, stores, private parking lots, gas stations all lose revenue. Concession stand workers, waiters, waitresses, security, police, parking lot attendants, cleanup crews, lose wages.

I really don’t think that the Buffalo Bills pencil pushers realize what damage that game being taken out of the Ralph every year does to our economy. Sure it makes a lot of money for the team’s owner and president, but hurts the tax paying people who live here by taking money out of their pockets for the day so Ralph can add to his.

I’m sorry, people aren’t buying into that game in Canada any more. Helping keep the team here, it’s all about the money and how much the Bills owner can get from Rogers. It isn’t rocket science. Put a good product on the field that works hard, like the people of this city and there will be no problem putting our fans in the seats.

Clayton Cerne

North Collins

Suffering now doubled with Bills and Sabres

Bills, Sabres, Sabres, Bills. When does the suffering end for the fans? One team hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999 and still looks years away. The other is the worst team in the NHL and on pace to have one of the worst records in NHL history.

Mike Biondo


Sabres’ inspiration is the wrong kind

The Buffalo Sabres should serve as an inspiration to young hockey players around the world.

Coaches, fathers, mothers, and uncles should watch the Sabres with their youngsters and say to their troops: “Look boys, you can be that bad and still make it to the National Hockey League and make millions of dollars.

Craig Gerard


‘New York’ doesn’t work, it’s a Buffalo team

UB, or the University at Buffalo, as it is known here and everywhere else, is mistaken to think they can somehow represent New York State by emphasizing the words “New York” on its athletic uniforms. It was noticeable on the football jersey and it is glaring on the basketball uniform.

We know, UB is the only major university in the state. Guess what? The New York Jets and the New York Giants play in New Jersey without any mention of that state. No one thinks of Rutgers as the State University of New Jersey at Piscataway. In fact, the whole “SUNYAB” thing never caught on here either.

Why not embrace who we are? We are not New York. If anything, Buffalonians identify more with Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

We’re Buffalo. We’re proud. We were talking proud before anyone was talking “strong” (sorry Boston). We are not New York.

Embrace who you are. Kids will come to UB because of what Buffalo has to offer on its own merits, not because of some geographically challenged idea that Buffalo is close to New York City.

We like it here, and I for one would like to see “BUFFALO” in big letters on our student-athletes. It looks better, too.

Paul Steffan


Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or email to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.