Ignoring the alliteration of the title of this article, we were approached this week, as sometimes happens, by Bloguin's own Bills blogger, "Joe," for a Q&A. So, we exchanged some questions, and the following is his answers. You can find my answers to his thought provoking questions here. Enjoy.
TJ: Chan Gailey seems to be on the hot seat. Do you see him returning next season?
Joe: It is really up in the air at this point. The Bills have never been an organization to have a short leash on coaches when they fail..constantly. Dick Jauron was the last coach and he survived three straight years of 7-9 seasons to go along with a fan base that wanted his head on a platter. If the Bills lose out, I can't see how they'd let him come back. To this point, he's 14-29 as as a head coach. However, if they finish 7-9 or 8-8 -which is very possible because they have an easy schedule- I think he comes back. Should he come back? No. He is too arrogant as a coach and believes in passing to much when he doesn't have a QB for it. Hardheaded. As for Gailey's shortcomings: He loves to pass too much. He has a running back that is averaging 6.5 yac but only 11 carries per game. He doesn't know when to be aggressive or passive. He just isn't a good game day coach.
TJ: What's your feelings on Ryan Fitzpatrick's play? Is he still the Bills' long-term answer at quarterback?
Joe: Fitz is pretty much on his last leg as the Bills' starting QB. Buddy Nix (GM) has said in recent weeks that he plans on drafting a QB this April. Obviously, the Bills made a mistake when they decided to extend Fitzpatrick for 59 million dollars as his numbers have gone south since signing the deal. I don't blame the Bills for re-signing him. During a 21 game span, Fitzpatrick had 40 touchdowns, 4,984 yards passing, and 22 interceptions. Why wouldn't you re-sign him for those numbers? However, since he signed that deal, Fitz has been either really bad or average. In his last 9 games of last year, Fitz threw for just 10 touchdowns and an eye-popping 16 interceptions. The word was out on how to defend Fitz. The Bills like to run a lot of 6-yard slant patterns and if you take away those underneath routes, you end up forcing the Bills to go over the top, which they can't do because Fitz doesn't have the arm strength/accuracy to make those throws. For this year, Fitz has been inconsistent, to put it nicely. He has 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, but he's ranked 27th in yards per attempt. His best games this year statistically speaking have been against the Pats (6 TDs), Titans (3TDs) and the Browns (3tds), who don't exactly have stellar defenses. However, when Fitz has gone against a defense currently ranked in the top 10 (49ers, Texans, Cards) the offense has scored just ONE touchdown. I think Fitz can start in the NFL, but it has to be on a loaded team. He needs to be a game manager and attempt 20-25 passes a game. Put him on the 49ers and I don't think they win 10 games. However, if you are asking him to win games for you, you are hopeless.
TJ: The Bills have been stuck towards the middle of the back and slightly lower for quite some time. What does the franchise need to do in the offseason to get back in the playoffs?
Joe: BLOW THE WHOLE THING UP! Seriously, someone needs to walk into that office and reenact the Terminator police station scene, where Arnold kills everyone. The problem is that Ralph Wilson is 95-years old and doesn't know how to run the team. He hires "Yes, men" who will put up with his meddling ways and are just happy to have an NFL job. He doesn't particularly pay wall for coaches and has turned the team into a stagnant group of individuals who have no forward thinking. It's 1992 in that office instead of 2012. No other franchise would give Dick Jauron and Chan Gailey another coaching job, but we did because no one wants to put up with Ralph Wilson. In my opinion, the guy needs to step away and let someone come in and tell him what's wrong instead of what he wants to hear. It is a mickey mouse organization. Frankly, I'd like for them to go after Bill Polian as he knows how to put a team together. I'd say go after a young upstart, but I don't think the Bills would be able to pick someone who is right for the job because they constantly fail at it.
TJ: How do you expect the Bills' offense to attack the Jaguars?
Joe: The Bills will do what they always do and that's spread the field with 4 and 3 WRs. You will see a lot of empty backfield and a lot of short passes. They love to run their whole offense out of that formation, so, don't expect to see a lot of two tight ends or the fullback. The only thing that works out in the spread is they can run the football out of the formation. It gives Spiller/Jackson more running lanes for them to run through as teams will play their nickel package and have more defensive players covering.
TJ: If you were Mike Mularkey, what would you do to beat the Bills?
Joe: Take away the running game and the underneath routes. Let Ryan Fitzpatrick beat you deep. Also, I think teams should blitz him more as he doesn't play well when he's facing pressure. His throws are already inaccurate to begin with and blitzing will make his throws look like they are caught in a hurricane. Defensively, the Bills are awful at linebacker. You guys should run a lot of plays to your TEs and hit short passes.
TJ: Any general thoughts or comments?
Joe: This game is going to suck.
TJ: Care to predict a winner?
Joe: I think if this game was in Jacksonville, I'd go with them. But the Bills play alright at home and I think they have some decent match ups to exploit. The Bills stink, but the Jags are worse. 20-10, Bills.