Monday Bills Musings: Pegulas Get Big Name

The Pegulas went out and brought in the biggest name on the coaching market. When's the last time the Bills did that?

A Refreshing Change for Bills Fans

I've seen a little bit of everything in my lifetime when it comes to the Buffalo Bills and their head coach selections. Marv Levy was the first coach I can remember. After his terrific tenure with the Bills, Buffalo tried just about everything you could think of in finding a head coach.

Buffalo has tried internal hires. Wade Phillips was defensive coordinator under Levy and fared decently in his tenure. He was the last coach to lead the Bills to the playoffs, but he was unwilling to fire certain coaches so his tenure ended prematurely.

The hot coordinator? Check. As DC of the Tennessee Titans, Gregg Williams led a unit that led the league in total defense. After three lackluster seasons, his contract wasn't renewed. Mike Mularkey would fit under this category as well. Mularkey was very successful as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator for three seasons and the Bills took another shot on a coordinator. Mularkey finished his first season 9-7, after an 0-4 start. Unfortunately, that was the best that Mularkey would do in Buffalo. He went 5-11 in his second season and resigned at the end of the year.

Coaching retreads? Oh yeah. Dick Jauron somehow got a second head coaching job with the Bills. He even received an extension after a 5-1 start in 2008. Buffalo finished the season 7-9 after a 2-8 finish. Jauron was very consistent with a 7-9 record in three consecutive seasons before being fired after a 3-6 start in 2009.

Chan Gailey can fit under the coaching retread as he was head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1998-1999. The actual hire was a real head scratcher. Gailey was head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-2007 and then offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. In 2009, Kansas City demoted Gailey after three preseason games. So of course, his next hire was as head coach of the Bills. Gailey was creative offensively, but a 16-32 record lead to his dismissal after 2012.

Last, we had the "Let's hire a college coach" phase. Doug Marrone was apparently a hot commodity after a .500 career at Syracuse and a few Pinstripe Bowl victories. He led the Bills to a 9-7 record this season before opting out of his contract with an overall 15-17 record with Buffalo.

Rex Ryan is different. Sure, he technically fits under the "coaching retread" category but it's not the same as Dick Jauron. Those two couldn't be any more different. Ryan is different because he was the "big fish" or big name on the market. The Bills haven't done anything like this in my lifetime. Not only did they talk to the biggest name available on the market, they convinced him to come to Buffalo. In five years we'll know if this move panned out on the field, but the Pegulas did a phenomenal job with their first hire. It's refreshing to see Buffalo get their first choice for a change.

Random Musings

-Multiple reports say that Jim Schwartz will not stay on as Buffalo's defensive coordinator. It's disappointing to hear this because of how well the Bills defense played under Schwartz but he and Ryan are as different as they come. From base defense, to blitzing and use of the nickel (Schwartz) and dime (Ryan), the two are probably just too different.

-C.J. Spiller sounded excited about the addition of Rex Ryan to the Bills. What makes this interesting is that Spiller can void the last year of his rookie deal. Perhaps a coach like Ryan keeps him in Buffalo for one more season. He's not an ideal fit for Greg Roman's offense, but in a run first offense, Spiller could raise his value significantly in 2015.

-Spiller isn't an ideal fit in Roman's power-running offense and I'm not sure any of Buffalo's backs are great fits. The 2015 draft class is very deep at the position, so don't be surprised if the Bills add another back and cut ties with one or two guys who don't fit in as well.

-To make Roman's offense work, Buffalo will need to improve its play along the offensive line. Perhaps Roman can talk Mike Iupati into joining him in Buffalo. Iupati is one of the best run blocking guards in football and would quickly bring stability to the left side of the offensive line.

-Offensively, the Bills need help but one area where Ryan must be happy is at wide receiver. He's never coached a wide out as talented as Sammy Watkins during his time with the Jets. Robert Woods is a strong No. 2 receiver as well. 

-One last area where Rex Ryan's addition will help the Bills? Free agency. Ryan is a player's coach and there's no doubt that he'll attract certain free agents that may not have entertained the idea of Buffalo in the past.


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