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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Comparing Gailey, Jauron eras in Buffalo

By James Walker

The Buffalo Bills may be in line to hire a new head coach in 2013. Embattled coach Chan Gailey is about to complete his third consecutive losing season with the Bills.

This should sound familiar for Bills fans.

Four years ago, former Bills head coach Dick Jauron completed his third straight losing season. Jauron was brought back by owner Ralph Wilson for a fourth season, and it turned out to be a bad decision. Buffalo started 3-6 and Jauron was fired in Year 4. The Bills hired Gailey the following year.

Three years later Gailey is in the same spot as Jauron. Will Gailey get the same opportunity to return in Year 4? Or will the Bills pull the plug after three years?

The case against Gailey is he has a worse coaching record than Jauron after three years. Jauron had three straight seasons of 7-9, which led the Bills to believe they were close to turning the corner and making the playoffs. Gailey's best year is 6-10 in 2011. He may be able to match that record with a win Sunday over the New York Jets in the regular-season finale. Gailey has won six fewer games than Jauron in the same three-year span.

There isn't a strong case to make for Gailey. But one thing going for him is the offense was ranked No. 14 and No. 19 the past two years, despite an erratic quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jauron's offenses were unwatchably bad, and Gailey has fixed some of those problems. If the Bills can find Gailey the right quarterback next season, the team could perhaps turn around.

Sometimes you have to look to the past to predict the future. The last time Buffalo was in a similar position, Jauron got a fourth year. But it may be a tougher sell providing Gailey that same opportunity in 2013.