By Ch2 Sports Director Ed Kilgore
The Bills satisfying 31-14 win over the Dolphins doesn't really change anything. Or does it?
Naw, the Bills still need an experienced head coach who has had previous big game success, not to mention a general manager and personnel people, and, above all else, a quarterback. If nothing else, the win over the Dolphins shows just how important the coach and quarterback are, and not only that, just how important it is that the coach and quarterback approach the game in the same, positive manner.
Loved the way Perry Fewell has injected enthusiasm into his team, and is playing to WIN, not playing not to lose. On the other hand, to be honest, it's a bit easier to play it that way when you have everything to gain and little to lose, which is where Fewell now finds himself as the "interim" head coach of the Bills with five games remaining.
Would Dick Jauron have tried a 56 yard field goal, knowing Rian Lindell could hit it with a breeze behind him, but also knowing a miss would give the Dolphins great field position near midfield with about 3 1/2 minutes to play in a 14-14 game? I'd wager not. Or, how about throwing a 51-yard bomb to Terrell Owens with 2:23 left and you've got a three point lead in the bank? I'd double down against that one.
But if you're Fewell, and this isn't to downplay his decision-making, but why not? This is your big chance, so why not go for it? Faint heart, and all the rest, are so true.
Which is why it's amusing to me there is such a double standard out there when it comes to coaching decisions. Bill Belichick is one of the NFL's all-time great coaches, and yet he was villified for his 4th and 2 gamble deep in his own territory in a recent loss at Indy. But he was playing to WIN, and felt the per centages were better having Tom Brady get him two yards than allow his somewhat beat up defense face Peyton Manning with more than enough time to march down the field for the win.
No question Brady agreed with his head coach.
Give me the way Fewell is coaching now, and the way Belichick made the call at Indy. The one thing both coaches have in common here, is that neither has his job on the line. It's like wanting to double down in blackjack when you can't afford to lose the hand; you want to do it and know you should, but the downside risk is all you can really think about.
Another thing I like about Fewell, and there's a lot to like, is that he realizes Fred Jackson is a far better all around running back for an offense with a patched-up offensive line than Marshawn Lynch, and he doesn't care that Lynch was a high first round draft pick. Fewell is playing to win, and that is the way players like to play. Jackson plays smart, and plays like a winner. Get more players like him.
Ever notice that players ALWAYS want to go for it on fourth down, no matter where they are on the field or what's at stake? That's the way they think, and especially the winners. Sure, they know there is a downside, but they're focused on the upside.
Ditto with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Fewell is wise enough and smart enough to give his Harvard quarterback the green light out there. Fitzpatrick called the audible to go deep to T.O., who was in single coverage against Dolphins highly-regarded rookie cornerback Vontae Davis. Sure, bad things could have happened on that play; a sack, a pick, or worst of all, a sack and a fumble, and your precious 3-point lead is in big trouble.
A coach with his job on the line would think of those bad things, and its only human.
Maybe the eventual new head coach and quarterback can learn something by watching Perry Fewell and Ryan Fitzpatrick in their game against the Miami Dolphins November 29th, 2009.