You may find it hard to believe, but through the first seven games I really can’t find anything wrong with the way Chan Gailey is coaching.
He puts together some solid offensive gameplans. He doesn’t take dumb timeouts (a la Dick Jauron).
His quarterback seems coached enough to run a two-minute offense (although that may be more of a compliment to Ryan Fitzpatrick more than anything).
Gailey seemingly calls all the right plays for this team to succeed, and as such, you can’t really blame defensive coordinator George Edwards for the Bills’ problems on defense, either.
We hear from the defense each and every week that they know what they expect from opposing teams. Edwards absolutely knows that teams are looking to run the ball down the Bills’ throats week in and week out.
Even though Gailey’s Bills are 0-7, fans see something other than the old boring Bills that they’ve been seeing for the past four or five seasons.
This team is actually exciting.
The offense, not the defense, is keeping the team in games for a change. Considering that the Bills have almost the same offensive personnel as last season, the offense has noticeably improved.
Although the defense has noticeably declined, George Edwards couldn’t do anything about the loss of their only source of a pass rush—Aaron Schobel. Nor could he do much about the Bills' deficiencies in the running game, which are well-documented on the stat sheets.
This all comes down to the players on the roster.
They simply are not talented enough.
Edwards can only do so much with “star player” Aaron Maybin, the first-round draft pick that can’t find his way onto the active roster.
All jokes aside, the point stands with the Bills’ front seven defensive players in general. Edwards can’t do anything about the small linebackers that he inherited from the Dick Jauron era of the Tampa Two scheme (another failure in run defense, of course).
Again, although the defense was a strong point last season, defenses can’t do much without a pass rush. Aaron Schobel had 10 sacks throughout the entire season last year, while acquiring five of those through the first eight games last season.
The defense this year has 11 sacks through seven games, a feat that only required last year’s defense three games to accomplish. Losing Schobel was obviously a blow to the Bills’ pass rush and it’s affecting the entire team, especially the secondary.
Without pressure in the quarterback’s face, interceptions are fairly unlikely to come. A quarterback normally has enough time to do his taxes in the pocket with the Bills’ anemic pass rush.
The same can’t be said about the offense, which, once again, is mostly unchanged from last year.
However, it’s always been speculated that the offense actually had some talent. Lee Evans was a shell of himself when coached by the other failures that rotated through the Bills' revolving door of offensive coordinators during Dick Jauron’s regime.
There were flashes of ability in certain players that made people wonder just how talented this offense actually could be. Obviously, we’ve seen that with the correct coaching and playcalling the offense can flourish.
The Bills’ 0-7 record can be entirely attributed to this team’s lack of talent. While the defense has at least one standout player—nose tackle Kyle Williams—nobody can really point out any others on the defense.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick has certainly been refreshing, he’s not the type of quarterback that’s going to win you games in the clutch. His tendency to throw an errant ball where nobody is even close is a trait that he has always had, and probably one that will never leave him.
Jonathan Stupar is a no-name tight end who contributes almost nothing to this team.
The offensive line is still somewhat in shambles. It only seems better at this point because Fitzpatrick can read a defense so well.
So, while coaching can certainly keep you in a game, it can’t control the talent level of the players trying to execute the gameplan.
Unfortunately for the Bills, they just don’t have the talent to execute just yet.