When the final whistle blows on Sunday’s game with the New York Jets it will officially mark the conclusion of a 13th consecutive season where the Buffalo Bills have failed to make the playoffs. In that time frame the Bills have gone through four head coaches and may be ready to run their fifth out the door as early as Monday. So what will Black Monday have in store for the Bills and their beleaguered fan base? There are four possible ways I see this thing going.
Scenario 1: The Bills decide that they are close enough to the playoffs and that a change at the top would be a move backward not forward.
In this deal you see the Bills maintain the status quo, Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey stay in charge and are given one final year to make the playoffs. Our entire front office and head coach would be tied to our success in 2013 and failure to make the playoffs would mean a complete house cleaning.
This scenario has the Buffalo targeting a veteran QB as opposed to moving on to a rookie QB. Names like Michael Vick or Phillip Rivers, should he hit the market, will be looked at instead of names like Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, and Geno Smith. Our first round pick will likely be based on the best player available and go toward a LB (Manti Te’o) or WR (Keenan Allen) who can come in and make an immediate impact.
Scenario 2: The Bills fire Gailey and Nix and go with a young combination at Head Coach and General Manager to signal a new direction to go along with our new lease.
This is my pie in the sky scenario, this is the one I most want to happen. Personally I feel like the Bills need a fresh start with fresh faces and ideas. My ideal tandem would be to pair New York Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross or Baltimore Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta with a new Head Coach like Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy or Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley. This would give the Bills the buzz this team needs to win back some of the fans it has lost and also would show the region how committed they are to the future.
This scenario would likely mean re-doing most of this team to fit the new coach’s scheme and ideals. The team could go almost anywhere in the first round but will likely target a QB early on and move forward with a full rebuild.
Scenario 3: The Bills fire Gailey, move Buddy Nix to an advisory role and promote Doug Whaley to the General Manager role. The Bills then go after a big name coach to try and get the team over the hump.
This would be the Bill Cowher scenario. I have no doubt the Bills will again make a run at Cowher. In order to land a big name coach like Cowher he’s going to likely want some personnel control and the one thing the Bills offer over any other team is a GM who Cowher has a prior working relationship with. Cowher and Whaley previously worked together with the Steelers and you would hope that their past experience would be enough to finally convince Cowher to leave the TV studio and return to the sidelines.
You’d likely see the Bills work towards finding a new QB in this scenario and would evaluate all options fully (rookies and veterans). Most of the team would likely stay in place and Cowher would likely work to continue to build on a D that has some good foundations.
Scenario 4: The Bills remove Chan Gailey as Head Coach but Buddy Nix remains as the General Manager.
Sadly this is probably the most likely outcome as the Bills have shown consistently over the years that they are one of the slowest vehicles of change known to man. They will likely end up bringing a semi big name coach like a Brian Billick which will appease most of the fan base. The Bills will continue to move in the same direction they have been going in building the team with Buddy Nix still in charge. This change is one I’d consider to be only marginal.
The Bills will continue with their strict BPA philosophy under Buddy Nix and while we know QB will be on the target list when they take one will be of hot debate.
While the Bills have clearly gone through plenty of regime changes over the past 13 years it’s important to note that none of those changes are potentially as big as this one. The Bills are about to enter into a brand new lease and have an unprecedented opportunity to solidify the future of this team. No decision is easy to make when it comes to people’s job but this decision could finally stop the relocation rumors and show the fans that this organization is finally ready for some real positive change.