Bills GM Nix criticizes defense's lack of urgency
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix is puzzled and unhappy by his high-priced defense's meltdowns, and criticized the entire unit for playing with a lack of urgency.
"What I see is not enough intensity and urgency," Nix said Tuesday during a telephone conference call with reporters. "When you miss tackles, usually it's one of two things: It's talent or lack of effort. And we've seen these guys do it before so I think they can. But we've got to get that urgency back somehow."
Nix spoke from Phoenix, where the Bills (2-3) are spending the week preparing to play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The team suddenly finds itself in a state of crisis in coming off consecutive blowouts, a 45-3 loss at San Francisco last weekend, which came on the heels of a 52-28 loss to New England.
In being outscored by a combined 97-31, the Bills have allowed 1,201 yards offense, the most by an NFL team over two games since the New York Yanks surrendered 1,227 in 1950. Buffalo has particularly struggled in the second half in each loss, having been outscored 73-14 over the past two games.
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 defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in free agency, and after Dave Wannstedt took over as the unit's coordinator.
"Obviously, we're' not pleased with it. There's really no excuse for losing the way we did," Nix said. "Kind of puzzled at the way those two games went. We've got to find some answers."
In criticizing the defense, Nix refused to single out any one player, including Williams. He said it's unfair for Williams 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 following Williams' signing.
"It's not just Mario. Mario actually plays better than people give him credit for," Nix said, noting how Williams draws attention from opposing offenses that should allow others to succeed.
"Not to defend him, he can play better. We expect him to, but so can everybody else," Nix said. "I mean, we all need to play better. ... I don't care who's getting paid what, none of us have earned it the last couple of weeks."
Williams, who was one of the NFL's top pass rushers during his six years in Houston, has been limited to 1 1/2 sacks this season. And the Bills' ability to generate a pass rush has dried up in each of the three losses. Nine of Buffalo's 10 sacks this season have come in the team's victories over Kansas City and Cleveland.
Nix maintained his trust in coach Chan Gailey, who's job status has suddenly come into question in his third season, and amid concerns that the Bills have quit on him the past two games. Nix noted how Gailey didn't lose his players in his first season after Buffalo opened with eight consecutive losses before closing 4-12.
"Chan has never lost it. He's even keel, he's the same every day. He's not going to panic," Nix said. "He knows what he's doing. And he won't lose this team, neither. We will get them back. I've got great confidence in that."
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