He’s not Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher, but he is the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

He’s not Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher, but he is the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills.


Chan Gailey had been the coach for less than an hour before Bills’ fans went Chicken Little on sports talk radio. Gailey had modest success in two seasons coaching the Dallas Cowboys at the tail end of the dynasty years in the late 1990s, and has built a reputation as a solid offensive mind across the NFL.


That just won’t cut it when you’re dealing with a franchise that has missed the playoffs 10 years in a row and is bordering on irrelevancy across the country.


However, that doesn’t mean Gailey isn’t the right man for the job.?It doesn’t mean he will suddenly turn the Bills into perennial Super Bowl contenders either, but he should not be labeled a failure — yet.


Gailey deserves a shot to prove himself because he did only get two years in Dallas — two seasons in which he collected one NFC?East title and a Wild Card berth with aging veterans like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin — and perhaps the fit is just right with the Bills.


There is nothing Gailey could have said or done at his introductory press conference Tuesday to make Bills’ fans excited about this choice. He said all the right things, but so did Dick Jauron, Mike Mularkey, and Greg Williams.


Cowher could have walked to the podium and said absolutely nothing except flash his famous “chin” and Bills’ season ticket sales would go through the roof.


It goes back to the perception of the situation, which right now is not good. The Bills are not taken very seriously across the league and can barely register on ESPN’s radar.


Without even watching, something tells me ESPN will spend more time on Jim Calhoun’s medical leave of absence than the Bills hiring Gailey. The Bills and their fans want that to change and hiring Cowher could have done that.


He didn’t want the job.


Apparently, neither did Brian Schottenheimer nor Russ Grimm. General manager Buddy Nix said “80 percent” of what was reported about the Bills’ coaching search was inaccurate. Nix implied — while refusing to be specific — the idea that “nobody” wanted the job was flat wrong.


“Well I wish you guys had been answering my phone the last two weeks,” Nix said. “We probably got, and I’m trying not to exaggerate, 15 calls a day, begging for an interview and wanting this job. I could have hired 35 or 40 the first week, and you would be shocked at some of the names.


“I mean, trust me. It’s a good job. Don’t ever think you can’t fill coaching jobs even if you’re bad.”


The truth is, the most important change the Bills need to make it on the roster.


Quarterback play has been a disaster since Jim Kelly retired and the team has restructured its offensive line ad infinitum with poor results.


If Nix and Gailey hit a home run with a quarterback, whether it be trading for Donovan McNabb, signing a veteran to be a temporary solution until the young gun is ready, or going ahead and drafting a guy this year and throwing him right into the fire, past success or failure will be a non-issue.


That is, however, where Bills’ fans should be discouraged.


After owner Ralph Wilson fired Jauron in November, he promised major changes and an exhaustive evaluation of the franchise, even saying money would not be an issue.


The hiring of Nix and Gailey, along with keeping vice president of player personnel John Guy and vice president of college scouting Tom Modrak — two of the men who had the most to do with assembling the roster — makes it all very puzzling.


Where is the overhaul?


During this alleged comprehensive examination of the franchise, what evidence could Wilson have found that led him to believe his pro personnel and people in charge of the draft were doing an acceptable job?


If Nix and Gailey are truly in control of choosing players, there doesn’t seem to be much of a need for Modrak and Guy.


“(Nix) will, but we are going to talk,”?Gailey said when asked who has final say on the 53-man roster. “It starts at the top and he and I are on the same page.”


Let’s hope so.


Daily Reporter