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Is Chan the man in Buffalo?

Gailey lost his job in K.C., but the Bills are interested. Matt Bowen

Print This January 19, 2010, 06:58 AM EST

Chan Gailey?

Were you as surprised — or shocked — as I was when you heard the report Monday night from Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com that Gailey is the new front-runner for the head coaching job in Buffalo?

Gailey — the Chiefs’ castoff offensive coordinator who had his play-calling duties striped by head coach Todd Haley this season — was already in the news Sunday morning as a possible candidate to replace Ron Turner as the Bears’ offensive coordinator.

But as a head coach again in the NFL?

Talk about melodrama along the shores of Lake Erie if Gailey does indeed show up in Orchard Park on the sidelines of Ralph Wilson Stadium next season.

Going from rumors of Bill Cowher to Jim Harbaugh to Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier — who might be the hottest coaching prospect on the market — to Gailey isn’t sexy and isn’t going to sell hope to Bills fans.

However, that’s why Ralph Wilson and new general manager Buddy Nix are running the Bills and we’re stuck here speculating on what could have been for Buffalo.

We all knew that interim head coach Perry Fewell was a long shot once the season ended. No matter what he did in terms of wins and production down the home stretch of the season, Fewell would be at the mercy of a new GM and new expectations. We’ll never know what he could have done with a full offseason, his choice of coordinators and so on.

The talk in league circles shifted to offense. Buffalo was going in a new direction after the defensive-minded Dick Jauron and Fewell. We threw out names like Charlie Weis and others.

But when the talk switched back to Frazier past couple of days, the idea of the Bills and their head-coaching search became even more confusing. How many coaches would turn them down? How many interviews would they hold? And did they even have a firm grip on the direction they wanted to go as a franchise?

I spent my last year in the NFL in Buffalo, and I can tell you it needs a winner. The fans base is perfect for football in January, as is the stadium, the weather and the overall atmosphere of The Ralph on Sundays.

But to get there, we know that Wilson and Nix need to hire a head coach who can not only compete with, but also beat Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan and the combo of Tony Sparano and Bill Parcells.

Sound like a tough job? Well, it is, and it has to be done with a roster that’s lacking a bona fide starting quarterback who can navigate this team through the AFC East.

I understand that Gailey has head coaching experience at both the NFL and college levels, and I also understand that I’m selling him short if he’s the Bills’ final plan. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’m reading too much into what happened in Kansas City this season, because this will be a different situation.

But I expected more, and when I heard that Gailey was the front-runner right before dinner last night, I couldn’t quite get past the fact that the Bills — along with Wilson and Nix — could be settling for a coach whose name never became part of the carousel we seem to discuss daily in the NFL.

I want the Bills to win and I want them to compete. Is Gailey the guy to do it? If the reports are correct, we’ll soon find out.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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