How many people connected to the Bills could we put on our hit list for the ineptitude of this franchise? I think we could probably make a list of 100, right? Coaches, players, and GMs. The list goes on and on.
For now, I'd like to focus on the Bills' top lieutenants on the sideline who are either in a booth or just standing behind the head coach as the Bills are constantly failing. Since 2000, it seems like every year you can set your clock to Bills fans hating a offensive or defensive coordinator. It isn't all that surprising since the team has been so terrible over the years. Gotta blame someone besides the head coach, right?
Frankly, they have been a part of the criticism for about 20 years now. Yes, even when the Bills were making the playoffs, their coordinators were still scrutinized (See: Walt Corey and Tom Bresnahan). All this talk about hating Dave Wannstedt has made me want to go down memory lane.
Hey, I'm all about being a gluttony of punishment kind of jabroni. So, since I've been watching football (1988), I decided to count down the worst Bills' coordinators I've seen.
FYI: I base this survey on what they did in Buffalo. Not what they did before or after. It just makes it easier to channel my hate.
10) Tom Clements- Offensive coordinator: 2004-2005
Ah…who didn't love Daimon Shelton being used in the passing game at the 1-yard line? How about a naked bootleg by Drew Bledsoe and his feet of stone? Shaud Williams as your 3rd down back, anyone? Talk about goofy plays. Clements was alright during the 2004 season as the Bills were ranked 7th in scoring. He was also able to help Drew Bledsoe rebound from an awful 2003 season. Alright, rebound is a stretch, but Drew was better that year. The Bills also finished 9-7, which is the only time the team finished above .500 since 2000. However, 2005 was a disaster. JP Losman wasn't ready to become the starter and all the veterans hated him. The Bills finished 25th in scoring and Clements was stripped of his play calling duties midway through the season by Mularkey. Frankly, Mularkey should probably be here instead of Clements since this is his offense. Clements was gone the following season and he's actually the offensive coordinator in Green Bay.
9) George Edwards-Defensive coordinator: 2010-2011
George Edwards has to be laughing his ass off right about now. Bills fans couldn't wait until he get fired last year. I said it then and I'll say it now, Edwards was doomed to fail from the start. Why on earth would you goto a 3-4 defense when your defense wasn't close to making the transformation is beyond me. I still shake my head at the thought of Chris Kelsay and Spencer Johnson playing as OLBs. I guess Buddy was obsessed with trying to get Shawne Merriman on the team. Anyways, the defense stunk. They ranked 24th in 2010 and 26th in 2011. They gave up 58 touchdown passes in two years. They ranked 27th in sacks both years. They were crap on a roll bad. However, the talent wasn't exactly stellar to say the least here.
8) Jim Ringo- Offensive coordinator: 1985-1988
Yes, what franchise would hire a head coach they fired in 1977 after going 3-20 and then rehire them to run the offense years later? Meet Mr. Ringo and of course, the Bills would be that franchise. From 1985-1988, the Bills ranked 28th, 20th, 24th and 14th in scoring. Not exactly great scoring numbers, especially when you have Jim Kelly there. Sure, Kelly was young, but he had experience coming from the USFL. Take for instance the Bills' offense in 1988, a year in which they finished 12-4.
That team was successful mainly because of a defense ranking 3rd.
However, the offense had little to be desired as Ringo didn't know how to establish his stars. He was more of a running coach and didn't comprehend that he had the best QB in team history calling the shots. The Bills scored 16 or fewer points eight times that season and Kelly finished with just 15TDs and 17 INTs. What happened next year? Ted Marchibroda came in and the rest was pretty much history.
7) Turk Schonert- Offensive coordinator: 2008
Maybe I'm crazy, but I didn't hate Turk Schonert as much as a lot of people do now. I thought he did a decent enough job with Trent Edwards in 2008. The Bills scored 24 points or more eight times that season. Edwards was a first quarter MVP, Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch both had over 1000 yards. At the conclusion of the season, a lot of people blamed Edwards not finishing games (Team was 7-5 when he did) for the offense not being better.
However, the guy's name is Turk.
What the hell is a Turk? I know its the guy who the coach sends to cut someone, but that's just wrong to name your kids that. Frankly, he kind of got boned before the start of the 2009 season when Jauron ordered him to use the no-huddle offense and to simplify it to a pop-warner level. Of course, the offense didn't work well in the preseason and Jauron fired Turk a week before the season started. Yes…firing the coordinator a week before the season always happens in the NFL (Sarcasm).
6) Alex Van Pelt- Offensive coordinator: 2009
BALL!! BALL! BALLLLLL! GET ON THE BALL!! Yes, those were the broadcast words echoed by Alex Van Pelt during his color analysis career with the Bills radio network. Put those words in a lesson plan for teaching broadcast students at Syracuse. So, who in the blue hell would hire a color analyst to be the offensive coordinator? We did! Poor Alex. He was in over his head. Jauron fired Turk and told the former backup QB/broadcaster to run the Bills offense. He wanted him to use the no-huddle offense, which he hardly ever used when he was the backup for the Bills, because, well, he didn't play. Anyways…
The Bills scored 16 or fewer points ten times. They scored 10 points or fewer six times. I think they may have benched Trent like 3 times that season, which prompted the team to name him the opening day starter in 2010. Makes total sense, right? It also didn't help matters that there was a ton of offseason hype around T.O. coming here, which totally blew up in our face. Sound familiar?
5) Dan Henning– Offensive Coordinator: 1997
Before Dave Wannstedt graced his presence in Buffalo (Hey! He's famous. He coached Dallas' defense 20 years ago when they kicked our asses.), there was Dan Henning. Henning was an offensive coordinator who had a certain buzz because he coached under Joe Gibbs and helped the Redskins win the Super Bowl in 1987. Henning came here in 1997 after Jim Kelly retired and the no-huddle offense was pretty much officially dead. So, all the training camp buzz circled around Todd Collins and how the Bills were going to be a smash mouth offense with double tight ends, kind of like how the Redskins were in the 80s. Of course, it failed. The Bills finished 29th in scoring and Todd Collins was a bigger failure than any of the other QBs we've seen in the last dozen years. The play call I will always remember that defined Dan Henning here was the Andre Reed option pass in OT against Denver.
In a nutshell: The Bills were at about their own 45-yard line and Reed took the end around, but as he was trying to pass, he fumbled the football and kicked it backwards. The Bills did recover, but faced about a 3rd and a mile. Ah, memories. At least Henning did well going to Carolina and New York while helping Vinny Testaverde and Jake Delhomme.
4) Mike Sheppard- offensive coordinator: 2001
You know how I bitch and complain about preseason hype? Well, meet exhibit "A" as to why this is the case. Gregg Williams/Tom Donahoe had taken over the Bills in 2001 and if there was one thing both these clowns were good at doing, it was over hyping ever single element of their coaching and GM prowess. They decided to clip Doug Flutie and keep Rob Johnson because Mike Sheppard's incredible west coast offense was going to make Johnson speed up his release and not take sacks anymore. We may as well have called Johnson the next Steve Young after hearing all the hype. Of course, it failed and Sheppard was gone after just one season. The Bills finished 27th in offense and Rob Johnson got hurt every other week it seemed like. Sheppard went onto be the QB coach with Aaron Brooks in New Orleans (2002-2005) and Blane Gabbert in Jacksonville (2011). Um, yeah, he's doing greeeeeeeat these days….
3) Kevin Gilbride- Offensive coordinator: 2002-2003
No coordinator I can recall went from the penthouse to the outhouse as quickly as Kevin Gilbride. The offense flourished during the first 8 games of 2002 under Bledsoe. Drew was setting team records and had 16tds in his first 8 games. The offense scored more than 23 points in all of those games. Fans were comparing the offense to the Kelly years. Of course, things started to fizzle out as the year went on. For the 2nd half of the season, the Bills scored more than 23 points just twice. However, people still liked Gilbride. "Hey, it was a slump. Nothing more."
Oh, boy. We were wrong.
2003 was a disaster. Bledsoe had just 12 touchdowns and the team kept on throwing when they weren't built to do that (Losing your #2 WR and TE will do that). The Bills went 7 games without an offensive touchdown. 7 GAMES!! I just remember when Ruben Brown decided he didn't want to play in the season finale after getting into a verbal spat with Gilbride. Classic. However, Gilbride did go on to do pretty well with Eli Manning. So, maybe it was all Bledsoe and just the losing disease of the Bills.
2) Steve Fairchild- Offensive coordinator: 2006-2007
I couldn't pick this guy out of a lineup featuring Marv Levy, Wade Phillips, Walt Corey and Chuck Dickerson. I don't even know how Dick Jauron knew this guy. The Bills ranked 23rd and 30th in scoring during his two years here. He just blends in with this disastrous era. This actually kick started the trend of not having a QB get over 300 yards in a game, which started in 2006 and was broken in 2010. 2007 will always be a magical QB year for the Bills as we were living with the Losman/Edwards QB controversy.
Yes, kill me now.
Fairchild left the Bills after 2007 (He would have probably gotten fired anyway) to take a head coaching job at Colorado State. Hmm..I guess school officials were smoking weed at that time before it was legalized last week. Fairchild was fired after going 16-33 there. Gees..It took being 17 games under .500 in five seasons to fire a coach? hmmm..What other team would do that? (Gailey is 15 games under .500 as we speak.)
1) Dave Wannstedt- Defensive coordinator: 2012-?
Sorry, but this isn't about going through the emotions of failing as we speak. The biggest problem with the previous guys on this list had to do with talent. Mario Williams is not Trent Edwards. Jairus Byrd is not Josh Reed. Kyle Williams is not JP Losman. Marcell Dareus is not Todd Collins. This is a talented squad by comparison to the hacks we've seen run out on the field. I really don't have to get into the semantics about how bad the defense is because we are living through it. They are near the bottom in every defensive category in the league. They are 1-4 in games that the offense has scored 28 points or more. A RB or WR has gained over 100 yards ten times this year. The defense is on pace to give up the most points in team history. Yeah…If Jimmy Johnson isn't around, you are kind of a waste.
Joe Pendry: Anyone involved with the Flutie/Johnson mess is on this list.
Walt Corey: Yeah, he was alright for most of his time here, but that 1994 defense had only 25 sacks. That's bad.
John Rauch: I'm not sure if they had offensive coordinators in the 70s, but this guy tried making OJ into a pass catching back and almost drove him to bust status. Thank goodness for Lou Saban.