Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- The three-year tenure of Chan Gailey as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills came to an abrupt end on Monday. The team decided that the ineptitude on defense and an overall lack of wins through the three-year span was inexcusable to try and compete with the rest of the NFL.
There's little doubt that the Bills made the right decision to fire Chan Gailey and look for someone different to come in here and try to establish a winning formula and culture in Buffalo.
Now the bigger question is this:
Do you trust Buddy Nix enough to make the right decision on that next head coach?
Not many endorsed the idea of Gailey as head coach, considering his most recent struggles in both Kansas City and at Georgia Tech. But somehow, he was good enough to be trotted out in front of the fans and media alike as the guy that will help the Bills get back to the playoffs.
Instead, like his three predecessors, Gailey couldn't sustain a winning attitude in Buffalo. He even had one of the more talented rosters in recent memory in Buffalo, and squandered it with conservative game day decisions and employing the wrong people.
Who's to say Nix finds a diamond in the rough -- a coordinator or college coach that will take the chance and run with it? If the Gailey hire is any indication, the bar should be set low.
The optimism of a coaching search will be in full effect, but unless there's a new GM in place, expectations must be tempered.
It's not a guarantee that the current GM will retain his job, and it certainly isn't a guarantee that he will lose it. Based on how it seems at this point, Nix will be a part of the group that meets with Ralph Wilson and a decision will be made at that time.
Don't belittle a certain fact in the lust for wanting a change at GM as well: Wilson trusts the opinion of Nix. He's been employed by the Bills for a very long time. He could survive this purge of the head coach and be given another chance.
That's not the ideal thing most Bills fans will want to see. From my perspective, Nix has clear strengths and weaknesses as a general manager.
The strength of his era? He's a solid talent evaluator that has found some players to make the depth on the roster improve by leaps and bounds at most positions.
The position where he hasn't been able to do that also leads in to perhaps his biggest weakness. In three years under Nix, the Bills have failed to address the quarterback position outside of Ryan Fitzpatrick. They never had a backup plan.
Fitzpatrick had to work... or else.
Well, the 'or else' is here, rearing its ugly head and is claiming jobs along the way. So what is the right play here?
With the case for and against Nix in mind, I think the Bills may be better off going in a different direction. The Gailey and Fitzpatrick decisions may be too weighty to overcome.
However, if Wilson doesn't want to relinquish Nix of all his duties, there is another solution.
The unknown man in all of this is assistant GM Doug Whaley. On the short list of many under the "up-and-coming" distinction, Whaley could be the key to any moves made.
He's been groomed over the past couple of years to potentially take over the main gig, but putting him in a position of power sooner rather than later could change the face of the coaching search altogether.
Whaley would bring a conceivable fresh take on a lot of different things that go in to assembling a football team, and adding a youthful look to the front office would be a good thing. If they had to keep Nix in some role, they could go the route of promoting Whaley to push Nix back in to more of an overseer for college scouting -- which he basically is already.
Whatever the case may be, I think a change is in order -- however slight or drastic it may be.
The only problem with firing everyone in the front office might be the amount of time it takes to find a new general manager. And whenever it is they fill that void, will the coaching search have passed them by at that point?
All these aspects need to be considered with the state of the Bills franchise in such a delicate place as we approach the start of the new year. The Bills have made the statement with today's firing that being competitive while losing isn't good enough.
Now the decision must be made if that losing mentality went all the way to the top with GM Buddy Nix. With so many variables, the coming days may be some of the most compelling in recent Bills' history.
Whatever it is they elect to do, they're running out of chances to get it right. With the talent they have on their roster, the time is now to put it altogether.