The shock of reading the headline may match the stunning news of hearing that Luke Skywalker was the son of Darth Vader or that the chick in the Crying Game wasn't a chick or that Ned Stark's head would be rolling down the street in Kings Landing or that Bruce Willis is in fact, dead.
This has been the biggest complaint so far for Gailey. In 2010, the Bills were 25th in rushing attempts and 19th in passing attempts. In 2011, the Bills were 10th in passing attempts and 27th in rushing attempts. Mind you, the Bills were 13th and 5th in rushing yards per attempt those years respectively.
This year, the Bills have the 10th most rushing attempts and 24th most passing attempts. The numbers seem like the type of ratio we'd be clamoring for, as the Bills have run the ball 362 times while attempting 407 passes. The Bills are 4th in the NFL in yards per rush and 24th in yards per pass attempt.
However, we want more because we hate when Fitz does his best Magic Johnson while bouncing bounce passes to receivers. We all thought Gailey may finally be learning after last week's game, even though a monsoon helped him in regards to pounding the rock. However, after yesterday's game... He hasn't learned ****.
Except, if you look at his history as a head coach or offensive coordinator, he has learned and stuck with the running game.
For this piece, I decided to get some info from the different bloggers that covered Gailey's previous teams, to see what was the deal with his offense. Besides looking for his rush/pass ratio, I wanted to see if they ran a similar passing offense that relied on slants and curls. There's always been talk that the reason the Bills don't take chances with going down the field is because of Fitzpatrick's arm strength.
I'm curious to see if it was more about the passing system in other places rather than the talent of his QBs. If I go by memory (That's always smart. Sarcasm), I tend to remember Gailey running a lot of short passes out of the spread on passing downs. I remember Troy Aikman hated it, because he preferred going deep like they did during the Dallas glory days. Let's see if my memory has failed me.
1996-Offensive Coordinator for the Steelers
Rush attempts: 525 (Tied for 2nd)
Pass attempts: 456 (Tied for 30th)
Primary RB: Jerome Bettis
Starting QB: Mike Tomczak
Summary: Shocking. I know. That's pretty much what the 90s Steelers were known to do. They ran the ball right down your throat. I mean, what choice did they have in 1996 when Tomczak is your fricken QB. However, as a team, the Steelers were 13th in the NFL per pass attempt.
1997-Offensive Coordinator for the Steelers
Rush attempts: 572 (1st)
Pass attempts: 466 (26th)
Primary RB: Jerome Bettis
Starting QB: Kordell Stewart
Summary: This was the season that made Chan Gailey. Kordell Stewart went from being Slash to being a legit QB, albeit, for just this season frankly. His numbers went down hill soon thereafter. Even though the Steelers were near the bottom in passing attempts, they were 5th in yards per pass attempt. There leading receiver, Yancy Thigpen, had over 1300 yards receiving and averaged an eye-popping 17.7 yards a catch. Now, notice how I'm just assuming the Steelers were a running team judging by the stats. If a non-Bills fans saw their run/pass ratio today, they'd say the same thing. This is why you ask someone who watched the Steelers closely. Take it away Bam from Blitzburgh.com.
"Gailey was often criticized for being too pass happy with Kordell Stewart and not ramming the ball down people's throat with Jerome Bettis. The play calling was especially an issue during the playoffs (Editor's Note: 1997 AFC Championship game loss: 27 rushes for 161 yards, yet, they threw the ball 36 times, completing 50% of passes to go along with three picks. In a Steelers 7-6 playoff win against the Pats, the team rushed for 145 yards on 37 carries, yet, Stewart completed only 14 of 31 passes.) where the Steelers squandered a few years with a HOF running back and an elite defense by being too pass happy and turning the ball over (partly Kordell's fault of course)."
1998- Head coach for the Dallas Cowboys
Passing attempts: 474 (Rank: 26th)
Rush attempts: 499 (Rank: 6th)
Primary RB: Emmit Smith
Starting QB: Troy Aikman
1999- Head coach for the Dallas Cowboys
Pass attempts: 507 (26th)
Rush attempts:493 (6th)
Primary back: Emmit Smith
Starting QB: Troy Aikman
Summary: Damn, this is pretty identical. Kind of surprising since you had a HOF QB back there. Although Chan did have arguably the greatest RB in history. I do remember that Gailey/Aikman having issues. This is from Peter King: Troy Aikman thought Gailey was prehistoric and should have compromised to leave some of the Ernie Zampese/Norv Turner offense in place. I do remember Aikman not exactly digging playing out of shotgun. Aikman played lousy during those two years, throwing for a total of 29 touchdowns and less than 6,000 yards passing both those years. As for Smith, he had over 2,700 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.
Here's Darren Shelter from Cowboys Nation take on Gailey in Dallas:
You have to remember that Chan Gailey coached the Cowboys in a time where the NFL was very different from the current NFL. Back then, it wasn't a passers league and the Cowboys had a formula. Give the ball to Emmitt and let him loose. Has Gailey changed the way he approaches a game as compared to when he coached Dallas? I think it's very hard to compare the two because in year one of Chan Gailey, Dallas had a very good offensive line, a very good running back (Smith) and full back (Johnston) and a decent threat on the outside (Irvin). Year two he lost Irvin and Johnston early and they struggled all year. Aikman was dealing with head injuries throughout Gailey's tenure. The most telling stats would be Michael Ivin's stats in 1998 as he led all Cowboys receivers. (Billy Davis was a DISTANT #2). He averaged 66.1 yards per game and averaged 14.3 yards per catch while his YAC was only averaging 3.6 yards. Not a DEEP threat.
Miami Offensive Coordinator: 2000
Pass attempts: 421 (Ranked 31st)
Russ attempts: 496 (Ranked 8th)
Primary RB: Lamar Smith
Starting QB: Jay Fiedler
Miami offensive coordinator: 2001
Pass attempts: 453 (Ranked 29th)
Rush attempts: 473 (Ranked 9th)
Primary RB: Lamar Smith
Starting QB: Jay Fiedler
That's six straight years in which rush attempts have been in the top 10 and passing attempts have ranked no higher than 26th. WTF is going on?! Lamar Smith is getting fed the ball like he's Larry Csonka or Tashard Choice? Now, thanks to advanced stats (Not to be confused with Matthew Coller), we can look into how far passes traveled through the air. In 2000, Fiedler's Yards per attempt were 3.8 (Ranking 32nd in the NFL). The following year, Fielder climbed to 15th with a 4.6 YPA. That's not exactly stretching the field.
2002-2007: Georgia Tech Head coach (Stats are per game. Ranks are by attempts)
2002- 38.5 Rush attempts for 163 yards (Ranked 48th). Pass attempts: 33.5 for 211 yards (Ranked 61st)
2003- 39.2 Rush attempts for 160 yards (Ranked 49th). Pass attempts: 29.2 for 170 yards (Ranked 100th)
2004- 40 Rush attempts for 162 yards(Ranked 33rd). Pass attempts: 28.5 for 184 yards (ranked 71st)
2005-38.7 rush attempts for 153 yards (Ranked 40th). Pass attempts: 34.8 for 195 yards (ranked 27th)
2006-37.4 rush attempts for 162 yards (Ranked 14th). Pass attempts: 26.4 for 169 yards (Ranked 55th)
2007-42.4 rush attempts for 199 yards( Ranked 26th). Pass attempts: 27.9 for 185 yards (Ranked 93rd)
Summary: So Gailey is 12 for 12 when it comes to rushing more than passing for his coaching career at this point. Keep in mind that from 2005-2007, he had Calvin Johnson and their pass attempts went down in comparison to years past. BTW, Tashard Choice had over 2700 yards rushing in a two year span. No wonder Chan loves this fool. As for the yards per pass attempt, GT ranked 86th, 110, 81st and 75th.
Here's Georgia Tech writer Joseph Weaver's take about Gailey
"When he was here we always had a pretty solid running game with guys like Tashard Choice and P.J. Daniels in the backfield. He used those guys a lot and based his passing on play action quite a bit. Also, Reggie Ball was his passer for 4 years here, and he was far from accurate (hence, Calvin Johnson making circus catches). One writer had the theory that we actually did throw down the field quite a bit, simply because a deep incompletion or interception is better than an interception in the flats that goes to the house."
2008: Kansas City Chiefs Offensive coordinator
541 pass attempts (Tied for 9th)
379 rushing attempts (Tied for 29th)
Primary back: Larry Johnson
Starting QB: Tyler Thigpen (Note: 11 starts)
Summary: Aha! This is the Chan Gailey we've come to know and hate. Of course, the Chiefs were awful and finished 2-14. Which means they had to pass more since they played from behind a lot (Had -149 point differential). I do remember hating Gailey this season because I picked Larry Johnson as my 2nd RB in fantasy football. Johnson was only two years removed from rushing for over 1700 yards. In 2008, Johnson did average 4.6 yards a carry to go along with the Chiefs having the 4th best yards per rush in the NFL. However, Johnson only averaged 16 carries a game in his 12 starts. DEJA VU!!!! As for Tyler Thigpen yards per attempt, he was 29th in that regard, averaging 4.3 yards. This all looks familiar, doesn't it?
Final word: So up until he got to Buffalo, Gailey elected to run the ball more than pass in 12 out of 13 years. Obviously, we can say that Bill Cowher or Dave Wannstedt told him to do this or that the NFL is completely different now than it was during the late 90s and early 2000s.
However, the numbers are pretty lopsided when you compare it. I don't know what gives. Maybe when Ralph Wilson said he wanted a more exciting team after he fired Jauron, Gailey interpreted as having to pass the ball more. Also, I think the short passing game is pretty trendy when you look at his Miami, GT and KC days. Of course, we aren't exactly talking about established QBs either.
The bottom line is that Gailey has changed. I have no clue why that is the case. He can talk up all he wants about having a big league and deciding to run more or pass the ball when down by 40. The bottom line is the Bills have been blown out in only one game this year (The 49ers) and the Pats choke job in September was still hanging in the balance by the 4th quarter. The rest have been close games. So, put to rest the being blown out and needing to pass rhetoric.
I don't get it... and I don't think Gailey gets it either.