Why Chan Gailey Is the Problem for the Buffalo Bills
The responsibilities for any coach are universal throughout any level of athleticism—to inspire a team to win. This explains why a group of players don't organize themselves or dictate their own personnel. This is why these leaders of men address a particular unit of players and break down the task at hand.
Without these men with these responsibilities, the desire to perform at a high level will inevitably fade. In the NFL, a coach has an internal struggle to get his team to win. The locker room is filled with 53 players who have the scarce jobs that millions dream of. The talent is not the question. Every NFL team has it. The problem that most coaches have is transforming the talent into a winning product on the field.
The 2011 San Francisco 49ers are a prime example of how influential a coach can be. The same 49ers that went 6-10 in 2010 were able to go 13-3 in 2011 and come within a score of the Super Bowl. There was no roster overhaul, just a new head coach in Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh was able to convince quarterback Alex Smith that he was a winner. He was able to create a family-like atmosphere that simply brought his unit closer together. The defense was able to believe in itself, and the same group of losers were able to turn into one of the NFL's elite in a matter of months under Harbaugh's leadership.
A more recent example is the Indianapolis Colts' improbable victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 5. But was it really improbable? In regular circumstances, the Colts would not have been able to compete against the talented Packers. In fact, Indianapolis even found itself down by three scores at one point.
But the young Colts were able to fight through their circumstances. They were able to pull of a moral victory in honor of their coach Chuck Pagano, who is receiving leukemia treatment. Without Pagano's unfortunate situation and without interim coach Bruce Arians' guidance, the Colts probably would have crumbled after the less-than-ideal start.
However, the Colts only grew stronger and were able to fight back. Their inspiration? Winning for Pagano, not themselves.
Sure, Gailey is not on the field being torn to pieces, but when was the last time Buffalo has had a roster as talented as what it has now?
The defense has its fair share of talent. Buffalo made a statement by luring Mario Williams to town. Mark Anderson, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams join No. 94 to form one of the best defensive lines in all of football. Add in George Wilson, Jairus Byrd and Nick Barnett, and the Bills have a nucleus of a great defense.
The offense has a lot more talent than it's given credit for. How often is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's pocket collapsing and No. 14 gets slammed to the turf? Not often at all.
Fred Jackson is still the do-it-all back who makes plays whenever he touches the football. Fellow running back C.J. Spiller is coming on a lot stronger than anticipated and is a threat to take it to the house at any point. Stevie Johnson is a solid receiver who is the only Bill to record consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons—and the Bills have had some great receivers in their history.
Scott Chandler is a big target who is the best pass-catching tight end Buffalo has had in years. Even Fitzpatrick has shown he can be a decent quarterback, though he is far too inconsistent.
So looking at Buffalo's roster, their talent is too great to get blown out three times this year. The Jets won 48-28, the Patriots won 52-28 and San Francisco murdered Buffalo 45-3. This being Gailey's third season in Buffalo, his system has been in place long enough to produce results. With the Bills being the only team to not make the playoffs this millennium, it's simply unacceptable.
Perhaps it's the game-planning that hasn't clicked with the players. Perhaps it's the team not executing. But the reality is that the team is a reflection of Gailey, and the product has looked horrendous.
The 49ers were able to respond to a rookie head coach in Harbaugh. The same nucleus of a 6-10 team was able to be on the cusp of a Super Bowl a mere season later. The same Colts who lost to the lowly Jaguars this season were able to come out on top of the reigning NFL MVP and his talented Packers.
How were these feats possible? The team was able to respond to their coach and exceed their expectations.
Gailey has struggled to truly inspire his team. He has yet to yield a winning team and has been absolutely miserable against division foes. The players might feel too comfortable or too on-edge. There needs to be a level of comfort and a level of pressure. Gailey has yet to find the correct balance, and it may cost him his job.
The Bills have yet to be competitive on a consistent basis this season, and Bills fans should be darn disappointed. They deserve better. They have waited too long and suffered through too much to accept mediocrity, especially with the talented roster they do in fact have.
The Bills need to do something different in order to win. Obviously, there is something not clicking between Gailey and his group. They are too good to be getting blown out like they have, and it's a shame. Maybe the game-planning must improve. Maybe there is some sort of internal crisis within the locker room that the public doesn't know about.
However, one thing is clear. The Bills have yet to yield a winning product and don't seem to be responding to their coach. If this trend continues in Buffalo, changes will come. And it is a given that the first change will be the most significant and influential, the head coach.
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