Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Other Side: Buffalo News' Mark Gaughan
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- Sorry for the delay, but this week we bring you Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News in our weekly The Other Side post to break down the Bills’ 5-3 start.
Archer - Jerry Jones has said he regretted firing Chan Gailey after two seasons, how has Gailey gone about turning things around apparently in his second year with the Bills?
Gaughan - The Bills had been in a decade-long offensive slump before Gailey arrived. They've finished in the bottom eight in the NFL in yards gained eight straight seasons entering this year. ... Gailey has brought a cohesive offensive philosophy and identity to the team, which was sorely lacking under previous coaches. The Bills have aimed to get bigger and more physical on the offensive line. They've changed personnel to reach that end. They have utilized the spread offense. ... But they're not as much of a pass-happy spread as some teams. They've kept a good commitment to run out of the spread. Gailey has adjusted to his personnel, and he has squeezed great production this season out of unheralded players.
Archer - Fred Jackson is coming home this week and I don't know the people in Arlington knew he could be this good. How is he doing it?
Gaughan - Jackson has been underestimated throughout his career because he's not a "speed" back. But don't be mistaken, he is a big-time talent. He's a big man, and he runs with great strength. He has a great ability to get yards after contact. He has incredible vision.
Archer - How much of a revelation has Ryan Fitzpatrick been and are you surprised at the amount of an extension he received?
Gaughan - You can't knock the results Fitzpatrick has produced since being paired with Gailey. In his first 16 games as a starting QB in Gailey's offense (through the first 3 weeks of this season), Fitzpatrick passed for 3,841 yards, with 32 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. ... His contract extension makes him the 16th highest paid QB in the NFL. It's very similar to the deal Kansas City gave Matt Cassel. ... It's the cost of doing business in the NFL.
Archer - Dave Wannstedt won a Super Bowl here. What has he meant to the Bills defense?
Gaughan - The Bills defense is improved this season, so there's no doubt he has helped (as have Marcell Dareus and Nick Barnett). ... Wannstedt is the assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach. He is Gailey's right-hand man and he helps defensive coordinator George Edwards put together the game plan. So he has a ton of input. Edwards calls the defensive plays.
Archer - Clearly Scott Chandler is doing something right. He couldn't get on the field with the Cowboys. Is it a product of the right time and right place for him?
Gaughan - Everyone would agree there's no shame in the fact Chandler could not beat out Jason Witten. Chandler can move pretty well for such a big man (he's 6-7) and he is a better than average blocker at tight end, too. So that has been a huge addition to the Bills' offense, which has not had a tight end of note since 2001. Chandler is a big target and an asset in the red zone.