The Buffalo Bills officially introduced Chan Gailey as their new head coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Speaking in front of reporters for the first time alongside GM Buddy Nix, Gailey promised a consistent winner and outlined his goals for the organization moving forward. Nix, too, spoke candidly about some aspects of the Bills' coaching search.
For those who missed the short press conference, here are a few of the major talking points.
Gailey to call his own plays: The biggest successes that Gailey has experienced as a head coach came as a play-caller, and he'll assume that role in Buffalo as well. Gailey stated that he'd have a coach on his staff with the title of 'offensive coordinator,' but that he'd be calling plays on game days. He made it clear that he wanted the offense to be run a specific way, and the only person that could get it to his liking initially was himself.
Gailey also made it obvious that he won't be running a specific offensive system, stating that he simply wanted to move the ball and score points. He'll tailor his scheme and his play-calling around the personnel making up Buffalo's offensive unit in 2010 and beyond.
Coaching staff still in flux: Stressing that big-name assistant coaches were unlikely, Gailey stated that he had names in mind for his coaching staff. Gailey also stressed fundamentals, toughness and discipline throughout the press conference, and repeatedly mentioned that he'd target teachers first for his staff.
Not averse to running a 3-4: Gailey's defensive coordinator will have ultimate say over what scheme the Bills run defensively, though Gailey did say he had an idea of the direction he'd like to move on that side of the ball. Gailey ran a 4-3 while coaching in Dallas, and had the following to say about the 3-4 defense: "I'm much more open to the 3-4 than I used to be, because I know what a pain it is to go against it every week."
The typical coach speak: Gailey didn't say anything ground-breaking in his first meeting with Buffalo media, and honestly, nobody expected him to. It's a press conference. Gailey did offer up some introductory thoughts before fielding questions from assembled media.
"The great thing about our situation right now is the two people at the top of this thing, Buddy Nix and I, are on the same page," Gailey said. "That makes it easier for everybody involved when that is the case."
Speaking about the unpopularity of his hire from the fan base, Gailey said, "I can't say anything to change anybody's mind. All I can do is win football games."
Gailey would not say - and might not have even known - if Bill Cowher gave Buffalo an endorsement for Gailey, but he did have kind things to say about his former boss. "I learned a lot about being a head coach probably more from him than anyone else I've been around."
One last thing, and this might be the most important revelation, if true, from the entire press conference: Nix and Gailey - no one else - will have final say over personnel decisions.
Buddy Nix doesn't mince words. Calling 80% of the stories printed over the past several weeks - rumor or otherwise - "complete fabrication," Nix defended the choice of Gailey by claiming apathy towards the perceived impact of the hire.
"I want you to know, with all due respect, I don't care," Nix said. "It don't bother me. I mean, everybody's got an opinion. You guys got a job to do, and I'm trying not to make it difficult. My job is to get us the best guy to help us win games. And we found that guy. This guy met more of the criteria that I ever hoped we'd find. This guy's won everywhere he's been."
Nix also made sure to mention that Gailey was the only man to receive a job offer from the Bills, as Gailey was the only candidate to meet with Bills owner Ralph Wilson. Gailey all but confirmed that he wasn't the team's first choice, however, by claiming relief that other candidates' willingness to turn down the job afforded him the opportunity to work here.
Finally, Nix had this to say about the idea that Buffalo is not a desirable place to coach: "Trust me - it's a good job." Nix claims that he "could have hired 35 or 40" guys throughout the search based on the amount of interest in the position.
Stressing head coaching experience: Nix had the following to say about the importance of previous head coaching experience to his search process.
"I didn't want to go through a guy having to learn the NFL, the workings of the NFL," Nix said. "And it is different, there is a learning curve, and everybody goes through it that hasn't done it. There is no school for it, there is no internship. I don't care how long you've been an assistant, the day you become a head coach, you start learning how to be one."
Nix also cited the ability to work with quarterbacks as a major selling point for Gailey.
"I wanted somebody that had developed quarterbacks. Folks with good quarterbacks are winning; folks with bad ones are losing. It's not that hard a game."