Donahoe's Decisions Don't Pan Out

It would be so easy to say I told you so. <P><P> The thing is that I haven't really told all of you, because this is my first time writing on this site. But I am on record elsewhere as questioning Gregg Williams' coaching ability - for nearly two years.

While others were falling all over themselves congratulating the Bills on signing Sam Adams and Takeo Spikes, I was writing that Adams looked overweight and slow in the Super Bowl and wondering in print whether Spikes still knew how to win after years in Cincinnati.

The common thread running through those moves is that they were errors in judgment by Tom Donahoe.

He hired Williams based on his organizational ability. The coach gave a good interview, and came in armed with a long list of potential assistant coaches. Well, where were the good assistants when it came time to hire them? Not on the Bills' staff.

That was like hiring a writer because he leaves even margins on the page. Or hiring a repairman because he lines up his tools neatly. What's important is how the writer, the repairman - and yes, that coach - executes his job.

Execution? In the words on one former coach, I'm in favor of it, at least in terms of Williams' job.

Williams and Donahoe have to share blame about the team's defensive problems. Don't tell me the defense is good because it's ranked fourth in yards allowed. It also allowed 38 points to the Chiefs, and 30 to the Jets.

Adams is indeed too big and too slow. The vaunted linebacking corps is not making the big plays it was brought in to do. Jeff Posey is out of place in a 4-3 defense. London Fletcher is too short to stop pass receivers over the middle. Those two and Spikes are supposed to be able to run sideline to sideline, but when they do, they're as likely to run into each other as into the ballcarrier.

How about Lawyer Milloy? He was hailed as a great pickup after helping the Bills beat the Patriots. Impressively, I must add. But Milloy was last seen chasing Dante Hall and Priest Holmes into the end zone. Like Adams, Milloy seems to be over the hill and slow.

That's another error in judgment by Donahoe. And I haven't even mentioned Drew Bledsoe yet. Don't get me wrong. The new players he brought in overall are better than the ones they replaced. But the error was in overpaying them.

It's as if Donahoe saw all the money left over after bailing the team out of salary-cap jail and going cheap to hire Williams instead of paying more for a good coach (Marvin Lewis). Then Whitey went on a shopping spree and left his discretion at home.

The on-the-field problem with the defense is partly the overpriced, under-motivated players. A bigger problem is that Williams can write out his defensive plan neatly in a notebook, but he doesn't know how to implement it on the field.

He clearly isn't as good a coach as the vilified Wade Phillips. But Phillips was able to turn around the 1998 Bills after their bye week. If Williams can't take advantage of this bye, it would be bye, bye for the Bills - and for their coach.


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