Running the Ball is a Mindset
Bill Cowher said that. The Bills don’t have that mindset. I said that.
When Chan Gailey first took over as head coach in Buffalo, it was explained to us that our team would be running the spread offense. I kind of just accepted it. Heck, isn’t that what the league has become anyway…pass happy? Well, after watching (or listening) these past two years, I think we’re on the wrong path.
Maybe the era of ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ is gone, but to be effective, teams still must have the ability to enforce their will on the opponent. Superbowl winning QBs get the glory, but almost always have superior run games as well. Green Bay ran the ball an average of 27 times/game during last year’s playoffs.
Nothing helps a quarterback like a good ground game. With Ryan Fitzpatrick’s struggles of late, why is Gailey refusing to shift gears? As he said in this week’s post-game presser, “We’re doing the same things we were doing earlier in the year. They’re just not working now.” Well? Maybe that’s the problem. One of the scariest things about New England’s offense is that they can beat you so many different ways: wide open aerial attack, underneath passing attack, tight end-based attack, and they can also man-up and run the ball. Until the Bills have a multi-faceted attack, I don’t think we will go far.
The good news is that a run game should be easier to build than a spread offense. Like Cowher said, “It’s a mindset.” It shouldn’t be a nightmare transition like changing the defense to a 3-4. Offensive linemen can all run block, no? So, my wish list this holiday season includes a bruiser running back in next year’s draft. “OH NOOO!”, some of you will say, “Not another running back.” But look, right now we have Fred Jackson, who is great, but is more about angles than smashmouth. Then we have a bunch of small guys. If Chan wants to expand the repertoire of this offense, and I sure hope he does, then he needs a low-to-the-ground bruiser; a helmet with legs to burrow through for the tough yards at crunch time.