The hits keep on coming: Chan Gailey has been fired by the Buffalo Bills. Gailey, hired by the Bills before the 2010 season, hadn't been a head coach in the league since 1999 with the Cowboys and had a 16-32 record in three seasons with Buffalo. The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999, the longest streak in the league.
Gailey's hiring was criticized at the time, and the offensive mastermind didn't do much to inspire confidence during his three seasons with the Bills. Under Gailey, Buffalo's highest finish in the league in total yards and total points was just 14th, and the team took a step back in 2012 despite the emergence of CJ Spiller. But despite averaging six yards per carry, Spiller was still losing touches to Fred Jackson, only taking over on a full-time basis when Jackson injured his MCL in week 14 against the Rams.
The continued mediocrity of Ryan Fitzpatrick also likely had a lot to do with Gailey's ouster. In three seasons as the starter under Gailey, Fitzpatrick threw 71 touchdowns, 54 interceptions, and fumbled the ball 23 times. He was also never in the top half of the league in quarterback rating, and didn't inspire much confidence among Bills fans that have been looking for a long-term franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.
But at the end of the day, Buffalo's horrendous defense was what ended Gailey's run as head coach. After allowing over 400 points a season just twice in franchise history, the Bills allowed over 400 points in all three years under Gailey despite the additions of highly touted free agents Mario Williams, Shawne Merriman, and Nick Barnett. Buffalo has the eighth overall pick in the draft in April, their eighth straight year in the top 12. With a relatively weak quarterback class this year, the Bills are going to be in another tough position for their new coach, and getting the defense in line should probably be the top priority for the new coach and GM Buddy Nix, assuming Nix isn't also relieved of his duties in the coming days.