Thurman Thomas seems to think so. As I was surfing the web last night, I came across reports that the Buffalo Bills were close to a deal with Chan Gailey. Now, those reports are official.
Like most Bills fans, I was outraged when I heard this "no-name" was going to be the next in the long, depressing history of coaches since Marv Levy's departure. After all, Ralph Wilson Jr. stated himself that money was not an issue, and the organization was prepared to do everything in its power to bring in a top notch candidate.
I don't think Chan Gailey is the first name that came to mind, but don't get mad too soon.
Who is Chan Gailey?
Although many of us don't know the name or history about Chan Gailey, he has been coaching for almost three decades.
Chan Gailey played quarterback for the Florida Gators in the early 70's, and became an assistant for the football program one year after his graduation. After leaving the Gators, Gailey went on to coach Troy State as a defensive backs coach, before being named Defensive Coordinator in 1981, before becoming head coach in 1983, and finishing with a 12-1 record.
Following the impressive season, Gailey was hired by the Denver Broncos, working as a tight ends coach, a receivers coach, and a quarterbacks coach, before being promoted to the defensive coordinator position. After six years with the Broncos, they made the Super Bowl three times.
In 1983, Troy State came calling again, and offered Gailey the head coaching position. Gailey stayed there for two seasons, finishing his 1984 campaign with the Trojans with a 12-1 record. That as it turns out, was all the NFL needed to see.
The following season Gailey was hired by the Denver Broncos as their special teams and tight ends coach. In his tenure with Denver, Gailey rose from tight ends coach to receivers coach, receivers coach to quarterbacks coach, and then in 1989 he was named the Broncos offensive coordinator. He spent two seasons in that position, where the team ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing in 1989, and eighth in total offense in 1990. In his six years with the Broncos, they made the Super Bowl three times.
After leaving Denver, Gailey joined Bill Cowher's coaching staff as the offensive coordinator where he had great success, and then went on the join the Cowboys.
In his NFL coaching career, Gailey has run teams with a strong rushing attack, all in the top ten.
After departing from the Cowboys, Gailey had a brief stint coaching in the World League of American Football. (Don't ask for info about that!)
Gailey then returned to the NCAA, coaching Georgia Tech for six seasons, each with winning records, but never making the Top 25.
Gailey returned to the NFL as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator for a season, before being fired by Todd Haley with one preseason game left before the start of the 2009 season. (Sound familiar anybody?)
What Can This Do For The Bills?
Chan Gailey is obviously an offensive minded coach with experience at the quarterback position, which is a necessary factor for the Bills to succeed. His tenure in the NFL, with the exception of the Chiefs, was productive, and opened up passing attacks by establishing the run.
Gailey was an offensive coordinator for Thurman Thomas for a season with the Miami Dolphins, and Thomas liked what he saw, stating, "He was a very detailed guy," said Thomas during a Tuesday morning appearance on The Howard Simon Show. "He wanted his players to know everything. He was a great coach to be around because he held every guy accountable for everything. He wanted all his players to know his offense like the quarterback."
"He's a no-nonsense type of guy," Thomas said. "He will get in your face. When I was there in Miami, he did call out a couple of players throughout the year. He held you accountable for everything you did right and everything you did wrong."
Hey, at least we can have some fire on the sidelines, even if success doesn't come quickly. (See: Dick Jauron Cold Stare)
Gailey's tenure in the NFL has allowed him to network with a wide variety of assistants, coordinators, and coaches, so hopefully he will be able to entice some of the good ones to join him while rebuilding the team.
Good or Bad?
Although it is too soon to tell if this is a good or bad move for the Bills organization, one thing is clear. The team did what Buddy Nix said they would. They hired someone who is offensive minded, has experience, and a will to win.
Hopefully Gailey will find a way to improve the passing game, and that shouldn't be too much of an obstacle with the improvements of young offensive lineman Eric Wood, Andy Levitre, Jamon Meridith, Brad Butler, and Geoff Hangartner, who will break open the run game.
The Bills always have potential, so let's hope Gailey can do something. I am excited to hear the further moves the team makes this off season.
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