Following the Bills loss to the Colts the talk shows were loaded with fans calling for Chan Gailey’s head. It was to be expected as the Bills fell out of the playoff race and the season that began with so much hope is quickly unraveling. Still, the lack of wins on the field and production in the endzone does not lay completly at the feet of Gailey.
In 1986 Marv Levy replaced Hank Bullough as Coach of the Bills midway thropugh the season. Levy went 2-5 over those seven games and then in 1987 his record was only 7-8. In 1988 Jim Kelly was joined in the back field by a rookie running back by the name of Thurman Thomas. The Defense also had two linebackers coming off of rookie seasons by the names of Cornelius Bennett and Shane Conlan. That team went 12-4 and lost in the AFC Championship game to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Marv Levy is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and it’s not because of his time coaching the Kansas City Cheifs where his record after five years was 31-42. Levy was hired by Bill Polian and the Bills because Polian had experience with Levy in Montreal where he won two Grey Cups, but his success in the NFL didn’t come until he had a roster of All Pro players like Kelly, Thomas, Smith, Reed, Conlan, Bennett, Lofton and so on.
Chan Gailey has a reputation of being a good offensive coach, but the team hasn’t performed well offensively three out of the last four games. Fans are screaming for him to use CJ Spiller more and not get away from the running game inside the twenty. Yet, few are screaming loudly for a better performance from certain players.
Stevie Johnson complained after the loss to the Colts that Gailey should allow Fitzpatrick to call his own plays and then back tracked on Monday saying he meant audibles. Gailey gave him a pass, again, but did utter a postgame comment about how it would have been nice if Johnson had scored on his wide open reception along the sidelines. That play had me wondering how many times I saw Andre Reed getting caught from behind after catching a pass three yards ahead of the defender.
Players make a difference at every level of football and none more so than in the NFL. Sure, coaches like Bill Belichick are perenial winners and they do a superior job, but where would Belichick be without Tom Brady? The Patriots are basically the Bills in that their defense is not superior, only having Brady at quarterback makes them a better team.
This may be Gailey’s last season in Buffalo, who knows? Yet, I can’t help but think that fans would be singing a different tune if Fitzpatrick had thrown a TD pass in the final seconds against New England instead of an interception or the late pick against the Titans.
Filed under: Koshinski's Korner