"The Bills are at a crossroads, whether Wilson admits it or not. He has a bad team, an inferior front office, an increasingly disaffected fan base, and no franchise quarterback. And now, at last, a vacant head-coaching position."
I wrote those lines in November of 2009, on the day the Bills got around to firing Dick Jauron. Maybe I should just resubmit my entire column from that day, plugging in new names, and get a quick start on my New Year's. Why not? As you can tell, not a whole lot has change in three years.
NFL Network analysts Charley Casserly and Willie McGinest
discussed the Buffalo Bills' decision to fire head coach Chan Gailey this
Charley Casserly, the former Washington Redskins and Houston
Texans executive, was asked if it was the right decision.
"Absolutely not," Casserly replied. "They
have to stick with a program and see it through. It's three years, get sick and
tired of somebody and let's get him out of here. You have to ignore the fan base,
the pundits, everybody up there.
"Chan Gailey is a good football coach. You need to
stick with a plan, go with it, and that's the only way you're going to get out
of this. I didn't buy all of the publicity in the preseason. I didn't buy
[Ryan] Fitzpatrick as a guy that was going to lead them to the promised land. I
never saw this team better than a .500 team on its best day."
Most Buffalo Bills players already had conducted their interviews this morning by the time news of coach Chan Gailey's firing reached the media.
Kyle Williams, however, was in the awkward position of speaking to reporters when the team made the announcement. Here's the transcript of Williams addressing his coach's dismissal.
Question: What was Gailey's message to the team?
Kyle Williams: "He just told us that he appreciated the work that we put
in. Obviously, things have gone the wrong way at the end of the year. Guys still
showed up and worked and worked hard and played hard. It was mostly that. To be
honest with you, we didn't get in to job status, this and that. He just talked
about he appreciated us."
With fans sensitive to the Buffalo Bills' quarterback
deficiency and refusal to draft a legitimate prospect, it should be noted half the starting quarterbacks in the playoffs are rookies or sophomores.
Four of the six NFC quarterbacks qualify: rookies Russell
Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) and
second-year quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) and Christian Ponder
In the AFC, rookie Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) and
second-year pro Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals) made it.
For the record, here are Buffalo's draft choices through the third round each of the past two years:
Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.
Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.