Boobie Dixon: Locker-room leadership 'lacking' for Bills


With Buffalo's season crumbling before our eyes, the Bills' locker room hasn't been shy about commenting on a campaign that hasn't lived up to Rex Ryan's offseason promises.

Nearing the end of a topsy-turvy season packed with highs and lows -- and overt criticism of Ryan's beloved defensive scheme by his star pass rushers -- players acknowledge that a sense of unity was missing when it mattered most.

"We have to come together more," said running back Boobie Dixon, per Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News. "I feel like we could've done that even more this year. We could've come together more at times when stuff was not going well. That was lacking."

Every game, all season

Dixon wasn't taking a shot at Ryan. His call was for the locker room to band together, following the example he saw through four seasons in San Francisco when safety Dashon Goldson and linebacker Patrick Willis quickly called team meetings in the midst of turmoil.

"Bring everybody in the room," Dixon said, "sit everybody down and we hash out our problems together. That didn't happen here. That hasn't happened here yet. We've got to get those guys to start stepping up. We have to figure out who will be the team leaders and who's going to be the main guys. And when stuff's not going right, they have to call it out. We have to be more together. I'm used to that type of stuff happening and it hasn't happened here yet.

"We haven't had those types of meetings where it's just players hashing it out and trying to get on the same page. Once we get to that point, I feel like we can take the next step. We definitely have to get to that point."

Dixon's words were echoed by wideout Sammy Watkins, who said it was time for the Bills to become a "players-driven" operation, while acknowledging that it was "sad" it took the team this long to recognize the faulty dynamic.

"To win, it's got to be from the players in this locker room," Watkins said. "Any team that goes out and wins, it's players-driven. Everybody keeps each other accountable and responsible. I don't think a coach can come in and say, 'Hey, do this.' It starts within the team."

While Ryan's swinging pendulum of emotions occasionally put the Bills in a bad place, Watkins and Dixon are ultimately taking some of the heat off their coach. It's not Rex's job to keep the peace at every turn, something he wasn't able to do with the Jets, anyway.

Ultimately, maybe something comes from an otherwise lost season in Buffalo. There's plenty of talent here, but it's clear that 2016 calls for something this year's Bills dangerously lacked: A leader.