The 2011 Buffalo Bills: What Could Have Been OR Why Chan Gailey Deserves Another Year


What if?

It’s a question that’s probably not a healthy one to ask when thinking about the past. You can drive yourself insane thinking, “If I had just done this differently, everything would have been better!”

Sadly, it’s hard to not to play that game. You’ll always wonder what could have been.

Such is the case with the 2011 Buffalo Bills. It was a season that had so much promise before everything went totally wrong. This will always be a season of “What if?”

What if…Most of the decent players on this team didn’t get hurt?

Fred Jackson, Eric Wood, Shawne Merriman, Kyle Williams, Terrence McGee, George Wilson, Demetrius Bell…If you were to make a list of Buffalo’s most “important/productive/talented” players, these guys would probably all be in the top ten. Basically every single player that Buffalo really needed to stay healthy (other than Ryan Fitzpatrick) ended up getting hurt. Yes, every team has to deal with injuries, but losing almost all of your top players is pretty tough for any team to absorb.

What if…The Bills found a way to win those games at Cincinnati and the Giants?

Both of these games could have easily been won by Buffalo. A truly baffling no-catch ruling against Stevie Johnson made a big difference in the Bengals game. In the Giants game, Ryan Fitzpatrick made two HORRIBLE throws that probably made the difference between winning and losing. Leaving these two winnable games out there definitely hurt.

What if…Stevie Johnson had caught that ball in the 4th quarter against the Jets?

Fourth quarter against the Jets, and the Bills are trailing by four but are driving with a chance to win the game at the end. Fitzpatrick uncorks a deep pass down the middle that hits Stevie Johnson right in the chest…and he drops it. Oof. He catches it? Maybe the Bills win. And the Bills would still be alive in the playoff chase.

I could go on, but you get the idea. The Bills have been absolutely snake-bitten with horrible luck over the past few weeks. Between the injuries and tough breaks, you basically have the worst-case scenario for the 2011 Buffalo Bills.

And that’s why Chan Gailey deserves another chance.

Yes, you can question a lot of choices Chan Gailey has made. His play calling (STOP CALLING BUBBLE SCREENS) has been suspect lately. But you know what? He’s taken a really pretty untalented roster and made it competitive. A few breaks here and there and this is a playoff team. With another year and some more roster upgrades? I’d like to see what he can do. And frankly, I’m not ready to blow up the organization again and start from scratch.

Now, some changes have to be made. Something needs to drastically altered on defense. Whatever defensive  coordinator George Edwards is doing, it’s not working. Either he needs to go or something else needs to happen.  I’d also like to see a change made on special teams, as the Bills’ return game has really taken a hit lately.

But all in all, I think Gailey’s done a good enough job to warrant another year.

But it’s playoffs or bust in 2012, Chan.