Football 101: Welcome Buffalo Bills' Coaching Staff

Garrett HirschmanContributor INovember 10, 2008

Any football fan, if they are honest, will admit that there are times when he or she watches their favorite team and thinks to themselves that they could do a better job coaching than the "so-called" head coach.

Yesterday that sentiment was probably at an all time high for Bills' fans.

I have been watching this team for most of my life, but I have paid the closest attention to them in the post-Kelly era. I have witnessed the poor coaches, inept quarterbacks, and sub-par line play that have come to characterize this team in this decade. 

I have also watched the Bills get kicked around by New England 15 out of the last 16 times we have faced them.

Yesterday's game was not shocking to me and probably not to most Bills fans. The Patriots beat us the same ways they usually do. 

I wrote a preview article on the game this past Friday that turned out to be pretty accurate, and I don't mention this to toot my own horn, because I truly believe many Bills' fans could have predicted the very same things, but I mention it because I wonder why the Bills' coaching staff cannot see the same things that so many fans do!

Why is it that we all know that Wes Welker is probably going to get thrown the ball a lot on short routes, but the defensive coaches either don't know this or choose not to address it? And why can we see that there are eight men in the box and that audibling out of a run might be smart?

I could go on and on with things that never seem to change when we play the Patriots, the least of all being the final score, but we are all too familiar with them, so I move on.

I have been fairly hard on the offensive line this year, and rightfully so, but yesterday the problem with the offense seemed to be as much on the sideline as it was on the field.

Leading up to this game, I felt that running the football would be absolutely key to a Bills' victory. The offensive line has not given Marshawn Lynch or Fred Jackson a lot of room to run so far this year, but both backs have shown tremendous heart in how hard they have run. 

Sunday the Bills did not run the football nearly enough.

The first offensive play for Buffalo was a seven yard run by Lynch. The two plays after? An incompletion and a sack.

I understand that the coaching staff doesn't have a ton of confidence in the run game right now, but how can they have any more confidence in the passing game?

Trent Edwards has hit a bump in the road and one of the only ways to get him out may be to get the run going. The coaches don't seem to recognize that he is struggling and that opposing teams have figured out how to stop Buffalo's offense.

In Buffalo's five wins this year they averaged 29.6 carries a game. In their four losses they averaged only 19.8.

Those ten carries might not seem like much, but trust me, it's a big difference. Ten carries could be the difference between 60 yards rushing and a 100 yards. Ten carries means more time off the clock and less time your defense is on the field.

The point is that the Bills have had success when they commit to the run. They have not had a ton of rushing yards this season, even in their wins, but just because you are not breaking big plays every time doesn't mean that you take the run out of the game plan.

If you look at the good teams in the NFL right now they all have a common denominator: a commitment to the run. Tennessee is perhaps the best example. Yesterday they were held to a pitiful 20 yards rushing, however, they still ran the ball 29 times and won the game.

Running the ball wears a defense down, even when it isn't for many yards.

New England ran the ball 43 times yesterday. They posted a 144 yards for a meager 3.3 yards per carry, but they stuck with it and put up a 19 play drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a rushing touchdown and the game being out of reach.

Both the Steelers and Giants are also good running teams and look at their records. Until the Buffalo coaching staff commits to the run, the offense and Trent Edwards are going to struggle.

It's football 101 and the Bills are in danger of failing. 

I have not talked about the two big coaching blunders that have gotten the most attention: The missed challenge, and the timeout at the end of the half. I don't think they had a huge impact on the game, but rather reinforce the idea that many of us probably could do a better job coaching this team than the current coaches are doing. 

I hope that Turk Schonert sees the same numbers I have shown you, because I don't know how much more I can take losing in the manner we have been losing.

Next week we take on the Browns on Monday Night Football.

I hope that the team watches the tape of last year's Monday Night debacle and gets fired up. Intensity has been lacking recently and if playing on Monday Night Football at home doesn't get the juices flowing I don't know what will.

Buffalo will get some national redemption and beat Cleveland 37-17.            


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