AFC East: Mike Shanahan

Belichick richest coach in big four sports

May, 18, 2011
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Phil Jackson's retirement from coaching the Los Angeles Lakers has moved New England Patriots overlord Bill Belichick to the top of the Forbes estimate of highest-paid coaches in the four major sports.

No other AFC East coach appears on the list, comprised solely of NFL and NBA coaches. Forbes speculates that because competition from the college ranks drives up salaries in those sports substantially more than Major League Baseball and the NHL.

Forbes compiles its rankings with media reports and estimates.

Can Beck make Miami look like a loser?

May, 18, 2011
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Miami Dolphins fans are shaking their heads over all this John Beck talk.

The quarterback who failed in Miami and haplessly produced some of the signature moments of the 1-15 season apparently is Mike Shanahan's choice to start for the Washington Redskins.

"NFL Live" took a look at Beck's rise to prominence. ESPN's Adam Schefter, who has a close working relationship with Shanahan, reported Beck "will go into camp as the Washington Redskins' quarterback, barring the unforeseen."

The Dolphins drafted Beck 40th overall in 2007. He was considered their quarterback of the future and was supposed to develop behind Trent Green and Cleo Lemon. Injuries and ineptitude eventually forced Beck into the starting lineup. He went 0-4. He threw one touchdown and three interceptions.

Bill Parcells formed a new front office and the Dolphins dumped Beck after the 2008 season.

The Baltimore Ravens signed Beck, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the Dolphins' head coach when they drafted Beck. The Ravens traded him to the Redskins last year.

But what if -- as Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero wondered Tuesday -- Beck performs well for Washington? The Dolphins have been hurting at quarterback for years. Chad Henne doesn't look like the answer. They used a second-round pick on Pat White and cut him a year later.

How much should the Dolphins dread the possibility of Beck proving them wrong?

Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL head coaches

April, 5, 2011
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NFL Power Rankings: CoachesESPN.com IllustrationNew England's Bill Belichick was the unanimous choice for the top spot when our writers ranked the best coaches in the game.
Bill Belichick is the great unifier.

For the first time in ESPN.com's individual Power Rankings series, the eight panelists reached unanimity. Each of us voted Belichick the NFL's best head coach, and there's little room for argument.

As someone who has scrolled through their comments for the past three years, I can hear the Spygate whiners already.

But Belichick hasn't won anything since the New England Patriots were caught videotaping defensive hand signals ...

That's true, I suppose, if you don't consider 51 victories, a .797 win percentage, three division titles and a trip to the Super Bowl not winning anything. I'm pretty sure fans of any team other than the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants gladly would trade their past four years for the Patriots' so-called embarrassments.

And I'm guessing fans would find ways to justify those three Lombardi Trophies if their teams were in the Patriots' situation.

Belichick wasn't the only coach voted on with conviction. Head coaches are the fifth installment of our Power Rankings series, and the 13 combined nominees from our ballots were the lowest number of nominees so far. Our panel nominated 17 tight ends, 17 pass-rushers, 16 wide receivers and 15 running backs.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was second in the Power Rankings, and the lowest he rated was sixth on NFC West blogger Mike Sando's ballot. The minus-4 differential from Sando -- not a substantial disparity at all -- was the largest negative margin relative to final placement in the entire process.

Sando explained his deviance from the pack.

"I favored coaches that walked into tough situations, won relatively quickly and then sustained the improvement over more than one season," Sando said in a statement issued through an NFC West blog spokesman. "Tomlin took over a healthy operation and kept it going. He deserves credit for that -- I ranked him sixth -- but not as much credit as if he had produced similar results after taking over a struggling franchise.

"We should view the success Bill Cowher enjoyed in a similar context. Both worked for an outstanding organization."

To be honest, I actually considered putting Cowher on my ballot just for the heck of it. But I opted against getting cute.

Let's take a closer look at how we voted:

We ranked Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid third, and he was listed no lower than fifth -- on AFC West blogger Bill Williamson's and mine -- on anyone's ballot.

Tomlin led the way with four second-place votes. Reid received three. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy got the other one and came in No. 4.

To further illustrate how closely the voting breakdown turned out, four coaches received third-place votes, four received fourth-place votes and four received fifth-place votes.

Our top seven head coaches were listed on every ballot.

The highest-rated coach not to be universally nominated was Chicago Bears boss Lovie Smith at No. 8. He didn't make AFC North blogger James Walker, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and Williamson's ballots.

"Consistency is very important for head coaches, and Smith has more non-playoff seasons than playoff seasons," Walker said. "Smith seems to be on the hot seat every other year in Chicago, and he missed the playoffs three consecutive times from 2007 through '09. Despite a good run last year, Smith is a pedestrian 34-30 since '07."

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith came in ninth. He didn't appear on NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert's ballot because Smith hasn't won a playoff game yet. Seifert swore it had little to do with that Falcons school bus commercial that gets played incessantly on NFL Network. Three other panelists omitted Smith, too.

[+] EnlargeBill Belichick
Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesBill Belichick has a 162-94 record in his 16 years as a head coach.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan tied for 10th.

What helped narrow the field is the constant turnover the NFL coaching profession experiences annually.

Eight teams have new coaches for 2011, ostensibly reducing the number of Power Rankings candidates to 24 from the jump. Nine more coaches have been with their current teams for two seasons or shorter.

A two-year stint didn't prevent the panel from voting for Shanahan, whose body of work includes a pair of Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos, or Rex Ryan, who has guided the New York Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his two campaigns.

Williamson and Walker had Shanahan rated seventh, his highest placement. Shanahan was absent on four other submissions, mine included.

"Shanahan may not have looked like a brilliant coach in his first year in Washington, but he deserves to be on this list," Williamson said. "He is not some old retread. With so much turnover in the coaching ranks, he is truly one of the last remaining of the old guard 'Super Coaches.' The guy has two rings and a lot of playoff appearances. I don't think he's a top-five guy at this particular time, but he belongs in the top 10."

Williamson and I each thought Ryan deserved to be rated fourth, although none of our comrades had Ryan higher than seventh.

My reasoning is that Ryan, despite not winning the Super Bowl, has a tractor-beam pull on his players -- and even other teams' players -- unlike any other coach in the league. Ryan carries serious clout with the people who matter most of all, the ones on his roster. That's powerful, and these are Power Rankings.

Another to receive votes despite two years at the helm was Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell. He came in 13th overall, eighth on Kuharsky's ballot and 10th on Walker's.

"I do not think he's a particularly good game-day coach," Kuharsky said of Caldwell. "The rationale he had for the late timeouts that helped the Colts lose at Jacksonville and to the Jets in the playoffs was flawed.

"But in terms of delivering a consistent message, setting expectations and holding a team together through an injury-riddled season, he did excellent work. And those are very important elements to the job."

The floor is yours. Let us know if you agree or disagree.

Mike Nolan makes sense for Denver job

December, 12, 2010
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Might the Miami Dolphins be looking for their third defensive coordinator in three seasons?

Something to keep an eye on is Mike Nolan's possible candidacy to be the next Denver Broncos head coach.

Nolan left the Broncos after last season because he didn't get along with head coach Josh McDaniels. Nolan looks even better these days -- and probably is even more admired by Broncos' upper management -- for parting with McDaniels, who committed a series of gaffes and got fired less than two years into the gig.

AFC West blogger Bill Williamson sketched out a case for Nolan to return to Denver.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has valued the coaches who worked under Dan Reeves in Denver, which Nolan did as a linebackers coach. Denver's next two coaches after Reeves were Reeves coordinators Wade Phillips and Mike Shanahan. McDaniels was Denver's first head coach without ties to Reeves.

Williamson wrote:
While [Nolan] and Josh McDaniels parted ways after one season because they decided they couldn’t work well together, Nolan got along with other key factions of the team. Most importantly, the Broncos' defense was successful under Nolan. It has crashed badly ever since Nolan left to become Miami's defensive coordinator.

Nolan likely would command immediate respect in the Broncos' locker room because the players know him and played well under him. Nolan also has been a head coach, running the San Francisco 49ers for three years. He went 18-37 there, but head coaches often make a greater impact in their second chance.

The Dolphins' defense has performed well under Nolan -- although their 6-6 record doesn't reflect it. The Dolphins have a top-10 defense in many important categories: fourth in total defense, ninth in run defense, fifth in pass defense, ninth in sacks per pass play, fourth in first downs and 10th in third-down efficiency.

The Dolphins, who fired Paul Pasqualoni last year and hired Nolan, would have a tough time finding an adequate replacement.

Is AFC East really the toughest division?

September, 1, 2010
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Is the AFC East the league's most competitive division?

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft thinks so.

In talking about his optimism for the Patriots' chances, Kraft noted the journey will be difficult.

"I'm really excited about this season," Kraft told reporters Tuesday at his team's Kickoff Gala. "Watching the practices and seeing the players play in the preseason, with the good Lord's help and we don't have too many injuries, I think we have an excellent football team that will compete.

"Unfortunately, our division is probably the toughest division in the NFL this year. But you have to win all the games anyhow if you want to go to the playoffs. Our objective is to win our division."

I disagree with Kraft that the AFC East is the most rugged division. The New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Patriots are bunched together. Any of them could win the division and would be dangerous in the postseason. Perhaps all three will make the playoffs.

But in ranking a division, you have to consider all four teams, and the Buffalo Bills hurt Kraft's case. The Bills are 2-10 against the AFC East over the past two years.

On my ranking of divisions heading into 2010, the NFC East gets the nod because its worst team -- the Washington Redskins -- improved dramatically by hiring Mike Shanahan and trading for Donovan McNabb.

1. NFC East

2. AFC North

3. AFC East

4. AFC South

5. NFC South

6. NFC North

7. AFC West

8. NFC West

Random thoughts on Bills' preseason debut

August, 14, 2010
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Some observations from the Buffalo Bills' 42-17 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Friday night ...
  • You can see why the Bills hotly pursued Mike Shanahan to be their overlord. The Redskins went 4-12 last season, but looked like a far more polished team under Shanahan than the Bills did under their new coach, Chan Gailey.
  • Buffalo was sharp on its opening drive, despite losing running backs Fred Jackson (hand) and Marshawn Lynch (ankle) to injuries. Trent Edwards completed all but one of his five passes for 44 yards. Every throw was to a different target. A 20-yard Lynch run was wiped out by a penalty.
  • That was about all that went right for the Bills' starters or second-stringers. It seemed unfair to watch veteran quarterback Rex Grossman hook up with prospect Devin Thomas on a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The Bills don't nearly have that kind of depth.
  • This is how Buffalo ended a span of seven straight possessions, beginning with its second and lasting deep into the third quarter: interception, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt.
  • Of those seven series, only one began inside the Bills' own 20-yard line. None went farther than their own 38. Five of those six punts were of the three-and-out variety. They had another in the fourth quarter.
  • It didn't matter what Redskins offensive unit was on the field when it came to figuring out the Bills' new 3-4 defense. Not helping was inside linebacker Paul Posluszny being scratched. He missed the first part of training camp while recovering from groin surgery and should be OK.
  • The Bills were destroyed in every phase. The first game without special teams coordinator Bobby April, and Bruce DeHaven's return to Buffalo, was ugly. The Bills allowed a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. Ellis Lankster fumbled away a punt return.
  • Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin played deep into the fourth quarter and appeared to get pushed around. He finished with two tackles and was called for roughing the passer on what should have been an incomplete pass on third-and-6 in the first quarter. The Redskins eventually scored a touchdown.
  • But Maybin did record his third sack in an NFL uniform, getting to Miami Dolphins castoff John Beck in the fourth quarter. All three of Maybin's sacks have been in preseason games.
  • For you Dolfans out there, Beck struggled with his third team. He completed two of seven attempts for 27 yards, fumbled once and was sacked twice.
  • On a positive Bills note, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick closed out a drive late in the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass to David Nelson. The score capitalized on a 43-yard Chad Simpson run two snaps earlier.
  • Nelson finished with a game-high five catches for 47 yards.
  • With Jackson and Lynch sidelined, Simpson and undrafted rookie Joique Bell had their moments. Bell ran five times for 52 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown.
  • Brian Brohm didn't play. Many Bills fans hoped Brohm would win the starting job, because he presents unknown possibilities that Edwards and Fitzpatrick don't. Seventh-round draft choice Levi Brown completed three of seven passes for 28 yards and an interception.
  • Gailey said Brohm will play Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts, while Fitzpatrick sits out.

Brandon Marshall foretells huge year ahead

June, 28, 2010
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Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall obviously enjoys his change of scenery.

Boston Globe reporter Albert Breer recently interviewed Marshall about playing for a new team after four turbulent seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Marshall
"It will be the biggest year I've ever had," Marshall said. "As far as wins and production, it's going to be a big, big year. The best year I’ve had so far."

Marshall added a championship is "more than doable."

Marshall, 26, got married over the offseason and claimed he has settled down considerably compared the person "Outside the Lines" profiled 13 months ago because of repeated allegations of domestic violence. He also has been charged with DUI and was involved in the altercation that preceded Broncos teammate Darrent Williams being shot to death.

"It just seems like things in life are simplified," Marshall said in Breer's story. "It's more calm, and I'm excited about that. It's giving me a chance to grow as a person and in my career. I'm excited to have a fresh start on this Miami Dolphins team.

"I'm not worrying about my contract, and that makes it easier to go to work and do my job and help the team. And my home life is very good. I’m happy, and that makes it easier all the way around.

"You know what they say: Happy wife, happy life."

Marshall praised the Dolphins' organizational approach under head coach Tony Sparano.

"It's football, football, football," Marshall said. "The organization is all about football. All that other stuff that comes with being in the NFL that can get in the way, it doesn't happen here."

"We've got a coach that's probably one of the most passionate in the game, a team that's fairly young and wants to win now. Even in the weight room, you see that passion. It carries over everywhere. We can do great things."

Marshall's words come off as strange shots at his previous coaches, Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels. Shanahan has won Super Bowls. It's hard to imagine McDaniels, a Bill Belichick protégé, not being passionate about preaching football first.

"My time in Denver was great," Marshall said. "I was surrounded by a great group of guys. But I'm going to say that I never had a chance to go through an offseason where the guys spend every day together on the field and off. We really are one."

Imagine what Marshall will mean to Fins

June, 22, 2010
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One of the most anticipated developments of training camp and the preseason will be how much the Miami Dolphins' offense will change with receiver Brandon Marshall on the field.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
AP Photo/J Pat CarterMiami hopes Brandon Marshall will help spread the field and transform the offense.
We weren't given any hints during offseason workouts. Marshall's hip surgery kept him off the field, leaving us to imagine how he will transform an offense that relied on the run before he arrived. Will quarterback Chad Henne air it out more?

With that in mind, I revisited some data from ESPN Stats & Information to see where Marshall might be able to help most.

One of the numbers that stood out is the Dolphins' lack of pass plays that went 20 yards or longer.

The Dolphins had the NFL's lowest percentage of pass plays that went 20-plus yards. They recorded 29 of them total -- only 8.7 percent of their pass plays.

The St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks had the next-lowest numbers at 10.3 and 10.5 percent.

You might be surprised to see the New England Patriots were in the bottom five. Despite having one of the all-time great deep threats in Randy Moss (18 receptions of 20-plus yards by himself), the Patriots throw to Wes Welker so often their percentage of 20-plus pass plays was only 11 percent.

It's not difficult to understand why the Dolphins didn't do better in this area. While Henne is known for having a live arm, his receivers either didn't possess the proper speed (Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline) or the hands (Ted Ginn) to be vertical threats.

The Dolphins had the fourth-lowest completion percentage on passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air. They completed 11 of their 51 attempts, or 21.6 percent. The only teams worse were the Detroit Lions, Seahawks and Rams.

Marshall should correct that, right?

Maybe. He tied for third with 101 receptions. But only 11 of his catches went for 20 yards or more (whether through the air or with yards after the catch), tying him with 10 others for 39th.

Where Marshall certainly will help is in yards after the catch. He's one of the best at that.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, were among the worst in YAC. Of all their receiving yardage, 38.9 percent came after a reception. That was the NFL's fourth-lowest percentage and only 4.6 percent better than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the bottom.

What will make the next couple months fascinating is we still don't know how the Dolphins will use Marshall. We're familiar with what Denver Broncos coaches Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels preferred, but Dolphins coach Tony Sparano might have other plans.

Patriots, Belichick know how to get paid

May, 23, 2010
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Forbes magazine ranked the 10 highest-paid coaches in any sport and put Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots behind only Los Angeles Lakers maharishi Phil Jackson.

The financial terms of Belichick's contract, which runs through 2013, have been closely guarded, but Forbes pegs him at $7.5 million annually.

Perhaps reflecting a coach's importance when he has fewer players to manage, the Forbes list includes six NBA coaches, along with four NFL coaches. That leaves no room for baseball or the NHL.

The other three NFL coaches represent two in new jobs and the longest-tenured.

Tied for third at $7 million are Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and new Seattle Seahawks (and formerly of the Patriots and New York Jets) coach Pete Carroll. Tennessee Titans lifer Jeff Fisher is eighth at $5.75 million.

Given his popularity, you have to wonder how long until Rex Ryan makes the list.

In a related Forbes analysis, the Patriots ranked 10th on the list of most valuable sports brands in the world. Forbes estimated their brand value -- defined as "the portion of a team's overall value that is derived from its name as opposed to its market and league" -- at $156 million.

Take away the five European soccer teams and they ranked fifth behind the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets.

Buffalo takes a chance on Chad Jackson

March, 31, 2010
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A marginal signing within the AFC East usually isn't worth a blog post. I particularly have a hard time getting inspired to write about a player who couldn't find work the entire season before.

[+] EnlargeChad Jackson
Icon SMISince getting drafted by the Patriots in the second round of 2006, Chad Jackson has only 14 catches.
But Chad Jackson is a special case. He's one of the division's most notorious flameouts in the past decade.

The Buffalo Bills signed Jackson on Wednesday. Terms of his contract weren't disclosed, but it's safe to assume it's a low-risk deal for Buffalo.

Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels couldn't find a use for him, but maybe new Bills coach Chan Gailey will figure out how to extract production from a receiver who once was considered the most promising of his draft class.

Jackson is the Patriots' greatest draft failure on Belichick's watch. They overvalued the University of Florida receiver and kicker returner enough to move up 16 spots and draft him 36th overall four years ago.

He was the second receiver drafted that year, 11 picks after the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Santonio Holmes, but the Patriots cut him after two seasons. Jackson has 14 career receptions for the Patriots and Denver Broncos.

"Talking to people in the organization, they misjudged how important football was to him," said former NFL linebacker Steve DeOssie, who hosts a Patriots postgame show on Boston sports-radio station WEEI. "I don't think he worked as hard as they anticipated him working.

"A receiver in that offense has to make some reads. He had to do a little more homework than with some other offenses, and he wasn't ready to put in the work. It wasn't a physical-skills scenario. He wasn't putting in the effort the Patriots expect, especially out of their top picks."

Jackson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. He was supposed to be the replacement for Super Bowl hero Deion Branch.

Hamstring and groin injuries limited Jackson's rookie season to a dozen games and 13 receptions. Then he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the AFC Championship game. He didn't return to the field until Week 10 of the 2007 season. He finished that season with zero catches and was released at the end of 2008 training camp.

Denver picked him up a month later. He played in four games, catching one pass. Denver cut him at the end of training camp last year, and he couldn't find a new employer until Wednesday.

"Overcoming injuries is all a part of work ethic," DeOssie said. "The guys who work hardest from rehab are the ones who come back best. If you choose not to work hard at rehab, especially a guy whose livelihood depended on speed, you don't stick around.

"Injuries weren't the reason. Hopefully, that's a lesson he's learned. I've seen it click before. Maybe he's one of those guys. Sometimes, you think differently at 25 or 26 than you do at 21 or 22."

Buffalo wasn't family spot for Shanahans

February, 26, 2010
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Rough day for the Graham stamping grounds.

Of course, I have a lot of thumbtacks pushed into my personal roadmap, so it's not tough to encounter references. But a couple of my home bases absorbed shots Thursday at the NFL scouting combine.

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, in explaining why he didn't take the Buffalo Bills' job, mentioned that aside from the team, Buffalo otherwise was an undesirable destination.

"There was strong consideration," Shanahan said. "I think it's an excellent organization, very well run. Enjoyed my conversation with them.

"But at the end of the day, it was not something that ... I want to put it in the right words: If I went to Buffalo to live there, from my family perspective, I think I'd be the only one that'd go. My wife and kids wouldn't go."

Shanahan then seemed to realize how poorly his words would go over in Western New York, where I live.

"Strictly from a weather standpoint," he added. "Now in Washington we get 40 inches of snow this winter."

New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum then took a shot at Berea, Ohio, the home of my alma mater, Baldwin-Wallace College, and the Cleveland Browns' training facility.

Tannenbaum had some give and take with a Browns reporter who asked why the Jets believe receiver Braylon Edwards will buy into the offseason conditioning program after years of not bothering much with the Browns.

"Have you ever been to Florham Park in March?" Tannebaum asked, referring to the Jets' complex in New Jersey. "It's a wonderful place to be. I've been there. I've been to Berea.

"Florham Park is a really nice place. We've got a lot to offer, a lot to do."

Source: Campbell-to-Bills rumor bogus

February, 26, 2010
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Buffalo Bills message boards are going kooky nuts over the rumor that the club is working out a deal that would send safety Donte Whitner to the Washington Redskins for quarterback Jason Campbell.

The rumor picked up speed here at the NFL scouting combine when Washington Post reporter Jason Reid blogged about it and said both he and NFL Network insider Jason LaCanfora were tracking it.

NFC East gadabout Matt Mosley picked up the phone and learned, from an unnamed league source, the Redskins have assured Campbell the rumor is bogus.

Mosley writes Redskins coach Mike Shanahan intends to keep Campbell and general manager Bruce Allen will meet with agent Joel Segal in Indianapolis to discuss Campbell's future.

Mosley writes: "Unless another team blows the Skins away with a trade offer, I think Campbell will be back in 2010."

Report: Cameron on Bills wish list

January, 22, 2010
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I've received quite a few e-mails and text messages from South Floridians incredulous at the report the Buffalo Bills had Cam Cameron on their head-coaching short list.


Marc Serota/Getty ImagesDolfans would have loved to see failed head coach Cam Cameron up in Buffalo.
And they're disappointed it didn't come to fruition.

John Murphy, sports director of Buffalo's CBS affiliate and the Bills' play-by-play voice, reported the Bills had two sets of candidates: realistic and idealistic.

The viable candidates Murphy listed were free agent Chan Gailey, Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Cameron, who is currently the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator.

There was no mention of New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who confirmed last week the Bills requested an interview that he turned down.

Among the long-shot candidates Murphy named were free agents Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh.

While I'm not as down on Cameron as some folks are, you have to wonder why the Bills would be so interested. Cameron is two seasons removed from his only season as a head coach, when he went 1-15 with the Miami Dolphins and was fired.

It was a disastrous season in which the Dolphins botched the ninth overall draft pick (that's the selection the Bills have this year) by selecting Ted Ginn.

Cameron mismanaged a dicey quarterback situation, and if Bills need anything right now it's somebody who can get a handle on that position. After signing veteran free agent Trent Green to hold down the job and drafting John Beck in the second round as the quarterback of the future, the Dolphins fell apart and came away with journeyman Cleo Lemon as their best option that year. Beck lasted two seasons before the Dolphins cut him.

Cameron also insisted on keeping the offensive coordinator's job, but when the season unraveled he surreptitiously handed off to tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, a name that now has Bills fans laughing just as hard as Dolfans are at memories of Cameron.

You had lots of Q's, Bills had some A's

January, 19, 2010
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson and chief executive office Russ Brandon didn't attend Tuesday afternoon's news conference to introduce Chan Gailey as the head coach.

That means a lot of the questions I solicited from you in the morning were rendered moot. General manager Buddy Nix stood on the podium with Gailey at One Bills Drive in a session that addressed many of the questions you deposited in the comments section.

randalstroup: Give us one reason to be excited about this move. What does Gailey bring that hasn't been here the last 10-15 years?

Gailey: "Well, if you don't believe in yourself and you don't believe in the people that you're going to bring in and the way you're going to run a football team, then you shouldn't be standing up here in the first place. And probably every one of those guys believed in what they were going to do. And I certainly do, myself, believe that. You can't promise in this league. There's 31 other teams out there that are trying to do the same thing that you are doing. Nobody, nobody can.

"You can't take me for my word because we haven't done it yet. I understand that. So all you can do is understand who we are, what we're about, what we're trying to get done and you can hope, fans can hope and expect and that's a big difference because I learned from a coach way back, there's two types of coaches: those who hope to win and those who expect to win. I've been around enough winning and enough winning programs and enough winning organizations that when I walk on the field I expect to win, I don't just hope to win. I expect to win."


jsnynole: What type of football does he think would be most successful in Buffalo?

Gailey: "I believe you've got to run the football. You've got to be able to run it. Now, you don't have to lead the league in rushing to win football games. You don't need to lead the league in passing to win football games. You've got to be smart. You've got to move the football, be intelligent with how you try to score points each and every week and that's what we’ll try to do."


tourneypredictor: Will Gailey be the head coach and offensive coordinator?

Gailey: "I will do both. I may have a guy that has the title of offensive coordinator, but I'm going to run the offense to start with. If you want to get it the way you believe it needs to be done from the start, then you need to do it. Mess around here and try to make this mesh with that, you have to get it the way you want it and what you believe in. That's what I plan to do. That way, even if as time goes on, I distance myself a little bit from it -- I'm talking about years, not days or months -- I'll still have the basis of it and know exactly what's going on so that I can correct it and do whatever needs to be done to get it right if it's not right."


davidgirard55: Please ask Chan if he will bring accountability to players who underperform.

Gailey: "I believe in organization, removing the grey area as much as you possibly can. ... Once everybody has their role defined, once everybody has exactly what they're trying to get done explained to them perfectly, then there's accountability -- for everybody, from the top to the bottom for everybody that's involved in winning football games.

"I believe in character. I believe we're going to try to get our guys to understand how important it is to do things the right way both on and off the field. It's for the good of the team, and it's for the longevity of their careers."


(Read full post)

Register at your Bills polling station

January, 19, 2010
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In honor of the Buffalo Bills hiring longtime NFL offensive coordinator Chan Gailey as their next head coach, SportsNation has put together a page of polls about the state of the franchise.

Head over to SportsNation to share your opinions on the following questions:

Is Chan Gailey a good choice for the Buffalo Bills?

  • Yes
  • No
What city will the Bills call home five years from now?

  • Buffalo
  • Los Angeles
  • Toronto
  • Other
Other than Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan, what rumored candidate would have been the best hire for the Bills?

  • Perry Fewell
  • Leslie Frazier
  • Chan Gailey
  • Brian Schottenheimer
What is the better coaching job?

  • Bills
  • Raiders
Is Trent Edwards a franchise quarterback?

  • Yes
  • No

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