I sent the following to Josh Barnett this morning:
I would offer the following:
- Do you feel that the News is overstaffed with columnists for the size of the market? With the hiring of Kimberly Martin you now have 4 full time columnists that opine on the Bills (Graham, Sullivan, Gleason, Martin), and four for the Sabres (Harrington, Graham, Sullivan, Gleason). While I applaud the News for trying to provide as comprehensive a coverage as possible, would money not be better spent on beat reporters? What drives your decision to have so many opinion writers?
Absolutely correct. These are the BN Bills columns that ran on Monday - all linked to on the TBD homepage. This is just ridiculous. I know we get 50 page threads here (on supposedly hot topics like "Can We Still Cut Vlad Ducasse and Recover That 3rd Round Pick"), but the BN has to ask itself: is there this much "expert" reporting and analysis to be had out such a lackluster game? Or are you asking fans to pay for what is essentially the equivalent of the self-appointed expert analysis you get for free by reading this site? I live in Colorado, so I enjoy reading some of the professional reportage from the BN and another WNY sources, but there's no way there's even 3-4 high quality pieces among the 19 separate articles listed below. Again, in Denver - a pretty Broncos obsessed town - the sole surviving newspaper has one Broncos beat reporter, one general sports columnist who pretty much becomes a Broncos columnist during football season, and a couple of cheapo pay-by-the-story stringer types. I have no idea what the BN pays these reporters/columnists, but I'd have to guess that it's too much for the revenue they bring in, and that the paywall is kind of a last ditch effort to save an unsustainable model. As far as paying for it: I am very reluctant to pay for any "news" these days; free web content has spoiled me, and I think that's unlikely to change. I have paid (at times) for premium sports coverage (I have subscribed on 2 or 3 occasions to Baseball Prospectus; I may add Pro Football Focus if they run a cheap offer), but it really has to be premium for me to do that; it needs to add something to the general musings of guys in a bar that often passes for "analysis." Give me a really good digital All 22 on Wednesday, or a really good All 22 analysis of next week's opponent on Thursday and I may change my mind about BN Blitz. But then again, from the BN's perspective that would be an extremely limited niche market, which just proves my point: the model is unsustainable. Period.
Sullivan: Bills were sensational defensively, but it wasn't enough [1:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills played a sensational defensive game against Cam Newton and the Panthers. They sacked Newton six times, harassed him into a bunch of poor throws, stopped a dozen plays for loss in all, allowed a meager 2.8 yards per rush, didn't allow a touchdown. And still, it wasn't enough.'
Sullivan's Hot Read: Defensive effort goes for naught [1:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the offense had held up its end of the bargain – or done virtually anything – McDermott would have come away from Charlotte with a rousing victory, one that made him the first Bills head coach ever to start 2-0.'
Martin's Hot Read: There are no moral victories [1:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There were plenty of chances for the Bills to put points on the board early. But instead, there were far too many three-and-outs and way too little production from LeSean McCoy (nine yards on 12 carries) in the running game. Save for that final fourth-quarter drive, their receivers were a non-factor for much of the afternoon.'
Gaughan's Hot Read: Punchless Bills suffer an entertaining L [1:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Get ready for what might be a carbon copy game next week when Denver brings its defensive studs to town.'
Skurski's Hot Read: Where have you gone, Sammy Watkins? [1:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But the Bills haven’t done Taylor any favors at wide receiver. Outside of those awful Jets, there might not be a trio of receivers in the NFL worse than what the Bills possess.'
Carucci's Take Five: Credit the Bills' defense for making Cam not look much better tha [1:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If you didn't know better, you'd swear the Bills were facing similar version of Josh McCown, the quarterback they saw in their season-opening victory against the New York Jets. Newton is supposed to be one of the best QBs in the league, but he hardly looked like that Sunday.'
Carucci's Points After: Panthers 9, Bills 3 [1:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Offensive ineptitude: The Bills came ever so close to pulling this out, with Tyrod Taylor firing a fourth-down pass for Zay Jones who got both hands on the ball before allowing it to slip through his fingers with nine seconds left at the Carolina 1. Otherwise, the Bills couldn't reach the end zone and couldn't get anything going in any phase of their offense. They finished with 176 yards. How about this for a stunning stat line? LeSean McCoy had nine yards on 12 carries, an average of 0.8 yards per carry. Of course, the Panthers managed only three field goals.'
Matchup Winners: Bills WRs couldn't exploit Carolina CBs [1:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' wide receivers have 11 catches through two games. Not good enough. There are not any weaknesses in the Panthers' fantastic defense. It's hard to throw to the middle of the field where Luke Kuechly patrols, and it's hard to hit the running back on swing passes because outside linebackers Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson are so fast. But cornerback isn't a huge strength. James Bradberry is pretty good. Daryl Worley is OK. Last year, Atlanta's Julio Jones went for 300 yards in receiving yards in one game on the Panthers. New Orleans' Brandin Cooks went for 173. Oakland's Michael Crabtree went for 110. Washington's DeSean Jackson went for 111. But those guys all are top-end wideouts. But the Bills don't have a true No. 1 receiver without Sammy Watkins in the fold. They couldn't get enough done outside the numbers.'
Buffalo News reports: 'Poyer, who started just 10 games in the first four years of his NFL career, now has two straight superb performances as a new starting safety for the Bills. The 26-year-old former Cleveland Browns special teamer was the biggest reason the Bills still had a chance at the end of their 9-3 defeat.'
Skurski's Report Card: Buffalo puts the 'Fs' in offense [1:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Downright unwatchable at times. Taylor completed three passes to receivers in the first 57-plus minutes of the game. The lack of a No. 1 option for the passing game is a gigantic problem. When there was separation, Taylor was off the mark just enough to make catches harder than they needed to be. His receivers didn't bail him out in those situations. Tight end Charles Clay had a minimal impact with three catches for 23 yards.'
Veronica's quarterly analysis: Panthers nearly repeat 2013 blunder [1:46 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' defense deserves praise for Sunday's effort, even coming up with a goal-line stand late in the fourth on a hot day when the Panthers held the ball for two-thirds of the game. It yielded only nine points and 255 yards, proving that the unit is no fluke after a good opening game against the lowly Jets.'
Third quarter analysis: Bills' defense keeping them in the game, hammering Newton, Panthers [1:45 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' defense continued to make life miserable for Cam Newton, sacking him three more times in the third quarter while the Panthers gained negative-5 yards of offense.'
Second quarter analysis: Panthers somehow only ahead 6-0 [1:44 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The story of the second quarter was the Bills' defense, which sacked Cam Newton three times while keeping the Panthers out of the end zone (including the first career sack for Eddie Yarbrough). Safety Jordan Poyer had a key pass break-up in the end zone on a ball intended for Russell Shepard that forced the Panthers' second field goal, a 28-yarder.'
First quarter analysis: Bills offense going nowhere, but Panthers lead only 3-0[1:43 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' defense had some lapses, especially in containing quarterback Cam Newton, but should get credit keeping the score close despite being on the field for 11 minutes and 53 seconds.'
Wearing Bills colors, Beane's parents shake the Carolina blues [1:42 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We've got people we've been sitting with for 20 years," Bob said a couple of weeks before the game, "but we're going to have to wear our Bills gear. We're going to be tough. We're going to handle."'
Bills fans ready for the Nathan Peterman era [1:41 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'By the end of the half, many fans on Twitter had seen enough and began clamoring for the team to replace Taylor with rookie Nathan Peterman. The Bills chose Peterman, who played college football at Tennessee and later Pittsburgh, in the fifth round of April’s draft. He won the backup job after outplaying T.J. Yates in the preseason.'
Kirst: After the storm, even a Bills loss feels a lot like home at a Florida bar[1:40 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"People are venting," said Jerry Marcinowski, 75, a retiree from Clarence, watching as Bills fans danced, as they pumped their fists and hollered, as they sang along to "Shout," with the song cranked to high volume. "They've been cooped up a long time, and everyone here knows this thing could have been a lot worse."'
CBS' Harlan recovers, tries his best to make Bills game exciting [1:39 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'After a sub-par season opening performance in the Bills victory over the New York Jets, Harlan improved and had the kind of game expected of him.'
Tyrod Watch: Tracking Taylor's one-read-then-run plays [1:38 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'For Taylor, I think the pass plays in which he turns into a runner after only checking his first read are more indicative of a lack of quarterbacking refinement and thereby are more important to track on a weekly basis.'