Tonawanda News —
I didn't like it at first.
It was about 11 a.m. on Sunday morning and I wasn't expecting to wake up to the news that the Buffalo Bills had found their new coach, not even a week after firing Chan Gailey. Then when I didn't hear the name Lovie Smith or even Ken Whisenhunt (come on, he led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance), I was ready to explode.
How often does a college head coach successfully transition to the pro game? For every Jim Harbaugh there is at least a Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban and Butch Davis, and those are some heavy hitters. How could the Bills possibly be on the road back to respectability with Doug Marrone, former head coach at Syracuse — a name most sports fans outside of New York state probably didn't even know existed before Sunday?
Well, here's what I've come up with in the 36 hours since hearing the news.
I like his attitude and I feel like he's the kind of coach players might respond to. I know Stevie Johnson came out publicly in support of Gailey after he got the ax, something I respected, but how many of these 20-something-year-olds can relate to a 61-year-old coach. It's the issue I had with Gailey from the start — that and the fact that he spent several seasons at Georgia Tech after years coaching in the NFL. It's not usually a good sign when football coaches backtrack, there must have been a reason why.
Bills fans have seen why Gailey isn't an NFL-caliber head coach after three seasons drowned in mediocrity after several flickers of hope. He was given the gift of C.J. Spiller and never was able to figure out how to use him — and let's be honest, all he needed to do was give him the ball.