After five seasons of ranking no higher than 25th in the league in total offense and no higher than 23rd in points per game, Buffalo's players on that side of the ball could not be happier to see Chan Gailey hired by the club as their next head coach.
"I'm really excited about it," said Bills center Geoff Hangartner. "I'm really excited about working with a great offensive mind. He's had success in the NFL and at the college level as a coordinator and as a head coach. And he's a guy that I really look forward to working with."
"Looking at his track record he's done a lot of good things around the league," said Lee Evans. "His offense has always been productive putting up points and he's proven he can win so I think that creates a lot of optimism going forward so I'm excited to get going."
First and foremost Gailey's offenses have been most successful in scoring points. Even when he was not blessed with great offensive talent at quarterback or running back the Bills new coach found ways to keep putting points on the board.
Only once has a Gailey-run offense ranked lower than 16th in the league. The other eight seasons featured four top-10 points per game rankings, two years in which they ranked 11th and a pair of season where the finished 16th.
In the two years he called plays for Miami's offense in 2000 and 2001, Gailey had Jay Fiedler as his quarterback and Lamar Smith as his featured tailback. Both years the Dolphins went 11-5 and finished 16th and 8th in the league in points scored.
Evans, who is good friends with fellow Wisconsin alum and current Kansas City Chief Chris Chambers, talked to the veteran receiver about Gailey as Chambers was with the Dolphins in 2001.
"He's a smart guy and he knows football," Evans said of the feedback he got from Chambers. "He knows his personnel and what he has and what he can do. And when you know that you can put in a plan that's beneficial for your players. That's a testament to him as an offensive mind. I'll be excited to see what we've got."
Evans is excited because for the first time in a long time, the deep threat may not be taken out of an offensive game plan by opponents anymore. Time and again over the past four or five seasons, opponents have successfully neutralized Buffalo's most effective big play weapon. That could be changing with Gailey drawing up the 'X's and 'O's.
"I think that's one of the things that makes it exciting going forward, for not just me, but a number of playmakers on offense," Evans said. "There are a number of things you can do. I've yet to watch any film of his offense and some of the things that he likes to do, but with everybody here being happy this pickup I think it creates a type of optimism for everybody, having a guy that knows football and knows how to win."
Though his resume as an offensive coach is proven, it's the ability to win as an assistant and head coach that has Buffalo's players encouraged. In his 15 years as an assistant and a head coach in the NFL, his teams have reached the postseason 11 times. It has the players believing already that they're on the right track to reach a goal that has eluded the franchise for a decade.
"I think more of his success is what has me excited," said Hangartner. "He's had success as a coordinator, he's had success as a head coach and I'm really excited about getting to work and winning some games next year."
"I think the bottom line was they wanted to not necessarily get the biggest name, but get the right guy and talking with Buddy Nix, I think they are satisfied that they've found the right guy."