Before he returned to the NFL as offensive coordinator with the Chiefs in 2008 and later took over as the Buffalo Bills head coach in 2010, Chan Gailey spent six years as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Gailey might have a few flashbacks to those college coaching days this week, as he prepares the Bills to play a Saturday game against a Denver offense that’s integrated the option to its attack.
In a conference call Tuesday, Gailey was asked to recall if he ever thought the option could work at the professional level when he coached in college.
“I thought this: I thought the first team that had guts enough to try it, it was going to work for about two years, and then defensive coaches in the NFL would catch up to it a little bit. Then it would be a struggle,” Gailey said.
By mixing in the option with more traditional run schemes, the Broncos have excelled on the ground this year. Denver leads the league in rushing with just over 163 rushing yards per game. Last week the Broncos ran for 252 yards against New England, 93 of which came from quarterback Tim Tebow, who also ran for two scores.
Gailey said Tebow “creates a big problem defenses” with his ability to make plays in the passing game and with his legs outside the pocket.
But the Buffalo head coach’s overall assessment of Tebow boiled down to his win/loss record.
“The last time I judged quarterbacks—which has been every day of my life it seems like—you judge by winning football games, and that’s what he does,” Gailey said of Tebow, who is 7-2 as a starter this season. “He wins football games. It’s probably not in the fashion that everyone in the NFL is used to, but he’s leading his team to victory. That’s an important factor for playing the quarterback position.”
Bills Looking to End Skid
While the Broncos started the season 1-4, the Bills entered Week 6 riding high with at 4-1 record.
Both teams have gone in opposite directions since. At 8-5, Denver currently leads the AFC West division and the 5-9 Bills have lost seven straight.
“Everything that was going right early in the season has been going wrong as of late,” Gailey said.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled, throwing 12 interceptions during the losing the streak. Fitzpatrick said it’s “fair to say” he’s been pressing as of late as the team has fallen out of playoff contention after a promising start.
“We really haven’t played well. Personally, I haven’t played well,” Fitzpatrick said in a conference call. “And we’re just working through it right now.”
“We’re not in the position we wanted to be in, but we’re in a position where we get to play the game of football and go out there and have fun and compete. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”