Buffalo Bills Need to Stop Thinking They Can Be a Passing Team

Andy LipariCorrespondent INovember 1, 2016

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1:  Chan Gailey, coach of the Buffalo Bills paces the sidelines during a game with the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Since Chan Gailey has been the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, it’s clear his offense is based on spreading the defense out and utilizing short passes. He spent six years at Georgia Tech, and the offense looks like a college offense. It reminds me of how Mike Leach’s offenses at Texas Tech looked.

That type of offense could work in the NFL, just not with the Bills. I don’t think it's right to just say the Bills use a spread offense. If they wanted to, Buffalo could call a run every play with a spread formation, just like they could pass in the I-formation every play. Formations aren’t the problem. It’s the idea that the offense is pass-heavy instead of a balanced attack, or even a run-first philosophy.

I know the NFL is set up for the passing game, but teams can still run the ball if they want to. The 49ers and Texans both had more rushing attempts than pass attempts in Week 1, and those two teams are favorites for Super Bowl picks.

Why does Gailey want to run an offense he doesn’t have the personnel for? If he’s going to pass 30-35 times a game, Gailey needs to find a different quarterback. To have a pass-first offense, wouldn’t it help to have a quarterback that didn’t lead the league in interceptions last year and labors on every pass attempt?

Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting to prove he can’t be trusted to have the football in his hands that many times a game. Gailey has to realize every time he calls a pass play, the chance of Fitzpatrick making a mistake increases. It’s getting to a point where I expect something bad to happen every time Fitz goes back to pass. An incompletion was a positive play against the Jets.

If the Bills are going to pass more than they run, shouldn't they have a deep receiving core? The Bills wide receiver depth was pedestrian at best before the injury to David Nelson. Now it’s dreadful. They have one pretty good, maybe very good receiver in Stevie Johnson, and that’s it. The rest of the group could be replaced easily.

With Nelson’s injury, T.J. Graham will be an important piece of the offense against the Chiefs. The coaching staff didn’t think enough of Graham last Sunday for him to be active for game day. The guy Chan Gailey said wasn’t ready to play last Sunday could be starting this Sunday. This isn’t a group the Bills should be depending on to carry the offense.

I realize this is a tougher argument with Fred Jackson injured. The week after losing a starting running back and best offensive player shouldn’t be the time to start running the ball more, but the Bills should have been running more in the first place.

Tashard Choice isn’t the best back on the Bills, but he’s not going to do anything that will hurt the offense. He understands the system, he can catch out of the backfield and he’s a pretty good runner with the ball. And if nothing else, he can block on third downs. C.J. Spiller will obviously get the bulk of the carries, but Choice is a better option running the ball than the Bills’ receivers catching the ball.

If Gailey doesn’t realize he needs to start reducing Fitzpatrick’s pass attempts, 2012 will be a long and frustrating season to watch.