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Gailey determined to fortify mental toughness

Posted Oct 2, 2012


He made it his top priority when he took the Bills head coaching job in 2010. Change the team’s losing culture and cultivate a mental toughness from the top to the bottom of the roster. There is no debating that Chan Gailey made progress on that front since he’s taken over as Buffalo’s sideline boss, but he feels it’s something he needs to revisit after a pair of division losses to start the season.

“It hasn’t been a concern, but you can’t be ahead 21-7 in the third quarter, if we’re mentally tough like we need to be that game doesn’t end up the way it ended up,” said Gailey in reference to Sunday’s loss to New England. “That’s my responsibility, to work on the mental toughness and the mindset of this football team.”

After the Patriots scored a pair of touchdowns to tie the game at 21, they would score 21 more before the Bills responded with a touchdown drive of their own with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

“To be up a couple of scores in the second half and really have the game get away from us as quickly as it did, it’s hard for guys in this locker room to swallow,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “With the Patriots the last two games we played them they really captured the momentum and did not let it go. Unfortunately we took a step back versus New England.”

In Week 1 against the Jets the Bills started in a 21-0 hole before putting a touchdown on the board only to see New York score the next 20 points in what wound up a 48-28 final.

“All I can think of right now is killer instinct,” said Stevie Johnson. “We’ve got to build up our killer instinct. How I don’t know? Just make plays I guess, but we need to develop that killer instinct as an offense.”

On the defensive side of the ball Marcell Dareus believes the team still has some ground to cover concerning intestinal fortitude.

“Mental toughness we’ve still got to work on it,” said Dareus. “I really think it can be developed. When I was in college it was grown. In college Coach Saban instilled it in players and that’s where we are now.”

“I’ve got to work on the mindset for this football team and creating a sense of urgency every snap of every game,” said Gailey.

But some players don’t believe it should be all on the head coach. The players have to be accountable for their own individual play.

“Every man has to look at himself in the mirror and ask himself if they’re mentally strong,” said C.J. Spiller. “Coach Gailey can get up there and he can try to give a scenario, but at the end of the day it’s going to come down to that individual and whether he’s mentally strong or not.

“I think we’ve got a lot of guys on this team that are (mentally strong) and hopefully it’ll rub off onto the rest of the team and once we become a mentally strong team I think we’ll be fine.”