Last week, the Buffalo Rumblings approval rating for Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey dropped 31 percent from a record-high mark set just one month prior. After yesterday's 23-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans, it appears that the tide is turning on Gailey, and that things are about to get quite negative.
We'll use the opinions of three prominent reporters on the Bills beat - Jerry Sullivan (Buffalo News), Sal Maiorana (Democrat and Chronicle), and Joe Buscaglia (WGR 550) - to cover the main talking points about Gailey's efforts yesterday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
* All three were upset - perhaps justifiably so - that C.J. Spiller registered just three carries in the second half. Sullivan called it "overthinking" on Gailey's part, and Maiorana called Spiller's disappearance from the game plan a "mystery."
* Sullivan and Maiorana made mention of Gailey's decision to punt late in the third quarter in Titans territory, trailing by just 10 points, as decidedly less aggressive than he's been in similar situations before. Maiorana "hated" the decision, while Sullivan pointed out that it placed "unwarranted belief" in his defense while showing a decided lack of confidence in his offense.
* Both Sullivan and Buscaglia disliked the team's lackadaisical approach to a six-minute, fourth-quarter touchdown drive that, while successful, yielded very little time at the end of the game for the Bills to make yet another comeback bid.
* Buscaglia took issue with a personnel grouping on a critical third down (a play which resulted in an incompletion), noting that Steve Johnson and Spiller were on the sidelines in favor of Naaman Roosevelt (who dropped the conversion pass) and Tashard Choice. Mike Caussin filled in for an injured Scott Chandler on the play, as well.
* Buscaglia was the only one to mention that Gailey's 9-6 interlude (last year's 4-4 finish and this year's 5-2 start) have been bookended by eight- and five-game losing streaks, the latter of which is obviously current.
In Dick Jauron's tenure as Bills head coach, there was something of a breaking point for media and fans in regard to his questionable game-day decisions. After a while, his on-field decisions were mentioned every week, even if it was just to say "Dick Jauron didn't make any bone-headed decisions this week." It felt like nit-picking much of the time, but much of it was justified; with Gailey now 9-19 as Bills head coach, the time may be ripe for Gailey to start getting nitpicked, as well.
Beat reporters have had their say; now have yours. Does Gailey deserve to be criticized for these particular decisions yesterday?