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The Sports Daily > Buffalo Wins
One Fan(n)’s Opinion by @rich_fann: Farewell to Cyrus Kouandjio and Assorted Thoughts

Cyrus Kouandjio is an interesting cat. From his first “I’m proud to be a Buffalo” to the near criminal inability to spell his name (“Kujo” remains one of the banes of my existence) to his injuries making him not-quite make it in Buffalo, Cyrus has had his setbacks.

Even Bills Cold Takes hopped in on my excitement at the time of his drafting:

I will say I stand by the tweet. At the time I liked Kouandjio because of the Alabama system, but over time the injuries were too much. And, as we’ve all started to surmise, some of the key Bama spots that get ground up (offensive line for instance) max out at the level and the growth is minimal in the pros. I’ll take the ‘L’ on Cyrus not panning out with pride.

So that lead me to think about the draft, teams, retention and how it all comes together. Then, I saw on Twitter Jeff Hunter of Buffalo Rumblings’ great piece breaking down the retention of draft picks by year.

So read that, great stuff and exactly the type of cold hard reality the Bills and fans have to see.

BUT, there is one thing I think has to be hit over the head constantly with regard to retention of draftees. Jeff touched on the development and selection, but there’s something to be said by regime change as well. In that time period you’ve had 3.5 coaches – 3 hired, 1 interim – who had vastly different systems and ideals for players in those systems. By contract and talent, players like Glenn and Dareus are mainstays.

Some of the other pieces? Flotsam and jetsam.

So when you have a 4-3 with wide-9 focus, then a 3-4 ish, then a 4-3, players get lost in the shuffle, draft picks get burned to replace them and the cycle starts anew. Hopefully, McBeane gets a chance to set firm footholds to prevent this from occurring, which would bring us back solely to evaluating the development/retention issue as it is, without the added pressure of complete scheme overhauling occurring.

Bills Sign Gerald Hodges

If this signing had occurred earlier in the free agency process I would have been happy. This late? I’m ecstatic. Hodges projects to at least match what Zack Brown did in the weakside role (albeit now in a 4-3) in the McDermott/Frazier scheme.

Hodges parlayed a 15-start season in San Francisco into what he thought would be a lucrative 2017 free agency experience. However, because of the market being quite flat for most free agent linebackers looking to move (see Brown) 2017 will be another “prove it” linebacker year for the Bills potentially in their linebacking corps. In terms of coverage ability, Hodges will be able to handle the weak or strong side duties, but I would like to see how they play things with say Micah Hyde – does he play solely safety? does he play big nickel too? – prior to Hodge walking onto the team as a starter.

The Whaley Thing

Doug Whaley went on Sirius and got blasted in Buffalo for his commentary. Now, I’m of two minds with this. First, he went onto a ‘safe’ show with Pat Kirwan, with whom he has a relationship to get his side out without being petty or blaming anyone but himself.

Saying “I would get franchise QB sooner” didn’t seem to be a time to yell, “why didn’t you look at that sooner?!”, but rather as him realizing after the fact, papering over EJ, fighting with coaches who wanted Matt bleeping Cassel and being passive aggressive about Tyrod Taylor doesn’t equate to wins.

The problem, again going back to the “be nice to the check cutters” situation, is that he doesn’t want to mention that throughout those processes, he was a man adrift without the “juice” as my buddy Cam would say. If Whaley gets another crack at being a general manager, I think he makes sure he knows going in that he can make the decisions / set the vision of the team. From the moment Ralph Wilson died, Whaley’s gig was basically a collection of “must win” seasons, which helps neither the long nor the short term decisionmaking wise.

In terms of his presence on Sirius? I don’t see the issue. Rex Ryan’s going to be on tv being Rex, Bill Polian and Jim Kelly appear nigh-weekly to give their takes, so why does the guy who just got fired have to shut up?

So that’s it for today. Feel free to hit me up on the Twitter (rich_fann) or comment here!