Wilson’s words prove to be empty

Posted on January 28, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Ralph Wilson Buffalo Sports DailyMark Gaughan of the Buffalo News is in Mobile, Alabama this week covering the Senior Bowl.  Buddy Nix as expected is down south scouting the talent.  Gaughan spoke with Nix yesterday for a piece that revolved around his scouting history, but inside the article a pair of underlying revelations came to surface.

First, it seems very likely Tom Modrak is going nowhere. Gaughan wrote that Modrak has sat next to Nix at every practice and while Nix wouldn’t comment on his status directly, he told Gaughan “There’s just nothing to say. We’re going on like we were.”

While many people debate the level of Modrak’s responsibility on the plethora of poor early round draft picks over the past decade, no one can dispute he’s been here through both the Tom Donahoe and Marv Levy eras and to some degree has had his fingerprints, at the very least on most of the selections.

But perhaps more disturbingly is the status surrounded their Director of Pro Personnel position.  John Guy was fired in a two-line, late-night statement last week.  But for those who were hoping for a fresh set of pro scouting eyes in the organization, don’t hold your breath.

Nix told Gaughan in so many words that the post will be filled internally.

“I think we’re in good shape right now,” Nix told Gaughan. “There is a chance that later on we might hire somebody, but we got some very qualified guys in there who have been doing it with John, and they know how. We’ll continue like we’re going.”

As Gaughan points out, Rob Hanrahan, Kevin Meganck and C.J. Leak are the guys still on staff who’ve served under Guy and one is likely to get the promotion.

Owner Ralph Wilson claimed in November that he was committed to winning, but his every move suggest his top level of commitment remains keeping the status quo.  Wilson continues to allow internal promotions as opposed to new blood in the front office.

He hired Nix, a 70-year old first time General Manger without so much interviewing a single outside candidate.  In turn, Nix hired a head coach who hasn’t been a head coach in the NFL for a decade despite a boatload of hot younger assistants like Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera and Jason Garrett available, not to mention proven winners like Brian Billick and Marty Schottenheimer who were clearly interested in the gig.

There’s a growing sentiment in league circles the Bills made a critical mistake by not jumping on Frazier while he was available.  Frazierdeserves his shot and more importantly came with the most glowing of recommendations from Tony Dungy and Bill Polian, two of the most respected figures in football.

In fact, the Bills could’ve hired Frazier and still employed Gailey as his offensive coordinator. It’s not like teams were beating down Gailey’s door for employment opportunities.

There’s a reason Gailey spent a decade without a NFL head coaching job.  He’s regarded as an excellent coordinator but not as a head coach. It seemed nearly fitting yesterday that Gailey five assistants, most of whom came from his 2008 Kansas City Chiefs staff.  This is the same staff that partially oversaw a team that went 2-14 and ranked 26th in the league in points two years ago.


Wilson is respected as the man who’s kept NFL football in Buffalo for 50 years.  He deserved to get elected into the Hall of Fame last year on that alone, but let’s be real—his words carry precious little weight anymore.

Wilson wasn’t interested in Schottenheimer and Billick, both of whom have won far more than they lost.  It doesn’t take an expert to figure out why.  Wilson prefers guys who ask instead of telling.  Neither non-candidate fit that bill.

At his advanced age this was perhaps his last chance to really shake things up in the organization.  Instead he took the high road with Nix, Gailey and Guy.  Nothing has really changed.  This coaching staff already reeks of another Dick Jauron era, and the front office has taken a cue from new UB coach Jeff Quinn’s “Next Bull In” philosophy.

Maybe the team can catch lightning in a bottle and makes an improbable run.  But the much more likely scenario is that the characters have changed, but the story remains the same.

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5 Comments on Wilson’s words prove to be empty

  1. Matt

    Also mentioned in Mark’s article was the fact that Old Buddy has never been involved in the salary cap or contract side of the business….for all of you who touted Buddy’s credentials as “asst GM in SD” this speaks to the fact that Old Buddy was nothing more than a scout with a title…..He lived in Tennessee, so he was not involved in the day to day opertions…..I have about had enough of this team after 30 years…..I hope Ralph’s estate sells the team soon!

  2. Craig Sutton

    There wasn’t a coach beating down the door to come here and Leslie may have been a great candidate but the Bills did say they wanted NFL head coaching experience.

    That said, with Nix, everyone starts somewhere, age is a number not a limitation and until they prove otherwise I will ride the wave.

    Having any football is better than none. You may not think so until its gone. I recognize this and haven’t lived there in 10 years!

    Reporters here are doing there job ad trying to keep balance, good job. Public should vent if they need to, just realize it aint quite that bad.

  3. bub

    So F’in sad
    we are being comepletely screwed as a fan base for sure
    and everything we have tried to hope for was spit in our face
    no new blood
    promotions from within
    and now a joke hiring of another lame duck coach and lame staff from another losing team wow
    how much more can people take
    We are an educated fanbase and they keep insulting us as if we have no clue about football
    I played ball my whole life and cant believe the players and personel decisions that happen here and neither can any of the people i know some of whom played at D1 schools and others D2 and D3 schools but all played ball long enough to see how bad these decisions really are
    Truly sad

  4. MattRichWarren

    Look at the Chiefs offense in 2009 under Matt Cassell and in 2008 under Tyler Thigpen. Wanna make a guess as to which team and OC gained more yards? Thigpen. He was out of the NFL for 10 years because he was a head coach in college as you know. Would you rather have hired a coordinator who had been a coordinator for 30 of his 34 years coaching?

    You can trash the promotion in Pro Personnel but Gailey is a good coach. He might not be successful but his hiring is sound.

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