ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix all but called this season a rebuilding project Thursday, suggesting it was too much to expect the team's inherent problems to be fixed overnight.
In speaking to reporters for the first time since August, Nix expressed his frustrations over the team's 0-4 start and indicated this isn't where he envisioned the Bills to be when he was hired in December.
Referring to it as a "painful" process, Nix stressed that fans will require patience as he intends to sticks to his plan to retool the Bills through the draft.
"I'll tell you we didn't get into this situation overnight, and we're not going to get out overnight. We knew it wouldn't be easy," Nix said. "We're going to stay the course and do it the way we planned because we know it works."
Nix plans to spend the rest of the season continuing to evaluate players to determine who will be part of the team's future. And he didn't rule out more changes to come after the Bills released former starting quarterback Trent Edwards and traded a former first-round draft pick, running back Marshawn Lynch, to the Seattle Seahawks over the past two weeks.
"You don't like to use the word rebuild, but you've also got to evaluate everyday and try to do things to improve your team," Nix said. "We're putting seven days a week into trying to get it turned around. It'll be fun when it happens, and trust me, it'll happen."
Nix is the Bills' fourth GM since John Butler was fired during the 2000 season. The team also is on its fifth coach in 10 years after Nix hired Chan Gailey to take over in January.
Buffalo's offense is sputtering, having failed to produce 230 yards in three of four games. And the defense has allowed 34 or more points in the past three games and a combined 473 rushing yards in the past two.
Part of the evaluation process already has began following the team's recent moves.
Nix defended the decision to trade Lynch this week, as opposed to before the draft when the 2007 first-round pick had initially requested to be dealt.
Nix noted how Lynch provided the Bills depth with a three-back rotation, especially after they lost both Lynch and Fred Jackson to injuries in their preseason opener. Making the trade now made sense because it freed up space in a crowded backfield that's rounded out by rookie C.J. Spiller, a first-round selection.
The decision to keep and then eventually release Edwards two weeks ago drew criticism because there were questions of whether or not the quarterback deserved to return as starter after losing the job midway through last season.
Nix said he and Gailey wanted to see if the fourth-year pro could prove himself in a new system. Nix said Edwards showed promise throughout the offseason and preseason, before he began to show familiar signs of struggling in losing his first two starts of the regular season.
"Buffalo has got people all over the league that have been here that are playing good for other people," Nix said. "I didn't want to come in here and cut guys that could help us win. So when we got into the regular season and it didn't work out ... we decided that wasn't the answer for us or for him. So we made the change."
Nix also defended the Bills' decision to sign veteran linebacker Chris Kelsay to a four-year contract extension potentially worth $24 million. The move was criticized as being overpriced, because Kelsay -- though a seven-year starter -- hasn't made a significant impact on defense since being selected by Buffalo in the second round of the 2003 draft.
Nix said the deal was struck partly because Kelsay was identified as a core leader.
"We decided that we've got four, five, six guys like that, maybe not great players, but good players, who set the tone," Nix said. "Chris Kelsay is a good player. He exemplifies what we want players to do and how we want them to be."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press