It wasn't completely unexpected. After winning just 16 games in three seasons as head coach, Chan Gailey was relieved of his duties Monday morning at One Bills Drive. Buffalo's players had already had their exit meetings with the staff and were addressed by Gailey earlier in the morning.
"He just told us that he appreciated the work that we put in. Obviously when things had gone the wrong way at the end of the year guys still showed up and worked and played hard," said Kyle Williams. "We didn't get into job status. He just told us he appreciated us and felt we had a lot to look forward to because he felt like we had some good players in the room."
The struggles on the defensive side of the ball through two defensive coordinators in Gailey's three years are seen as a large part of the reason his tenure with the club came to an end.
His defense gave up 435 points this season, second worst in team history, and just one more point than his team allowed in 2011. They also finished the season next to last in rushing yards allowed in 2012 after finishing 28th a season ago.
Their red zone defense and third down defense also finished 31st this season. But as the players see it the won-loss column was the ultimate bottom line.
"We didn't win enough," said Williams. "It goes back to what we talked about, plays here, plays there, things look completely different. Whether it's gaining a step here or there. Those make the biggest difference in this league, and it makes a difference for a player and as a coach."
The lack of wins notwithstanding Buffalo's players to a man had a great amount of respect for the man who is now their former head coach.
"I think everybody in here has a tremendous amount of respect for Chan," said Williams. "I've been lucky in the sense that the two guys that I've had as head coaches are really solid men. Their yes is yes and their no is no. Obviously we haven't won enough, which is what it's all about."