Right hire at right time?
Charlie Weis (Getty Images)
Charlie Weis (Getty Images)
BFR Publisher
Posted Dec 28, 2009


Wake up, Bills fans. Buffalo is reportedly interested in offensive guru Charlie Weis (left). For both parties, the timing may be perfect. The Bills need offense. Weis needs a second chance. Will the two tango? We analyze...

To many, the name is taboo. Understandable, of course. Charlie Weis fell flat on his face at Notre Dame. He was not the savior South Bend hoped for. After losing six games by a touchdown or less, Weis was finally canned this season.

Everywhere, alumni are still popping champagne.

But for what the Bills need — offense, offense, offense — Weis makes sense. His background, his knowledge, his expertise is rejuvenating passing games. All offseason, Buffalo will be searching for the most lethal injections of offensive firepower possible. As far as coaches go, Weis is it.

But most importantly, interest is mutual between Weis and the Bills. A legitimate relationship may be brewing. John Murphy, the team’s play-by-play man, reported that the team contacted Weis. And according to Murphy, Weis is interested.

Call it a blast from the past. The Bills actually pursued Weis back in 2005 when they eventually settled on Mike Mularkey — probably Plan D or E at the time. Weis was out of Buffalo’s league then, a Rihanna they had no chance at dating. Since then, Weis has faded from NFL play-calling stud to college dud. Clearly, he is made for the pros. Not college. His last Fighting Irish team, talented enough to compete for a BCS title, never broke through.

So here he is. The Bills job may be his if he wants it. For both parties, this could be perfect timing.

Like any unemployed coach, Weis will certainly weigh his options. Thing is, he may not have many choices. Unlike 2005, teams aren’t knocking at his door. Unlike 2005, he can’t write his ticket to any team he wants. The field of coaching candidates is richer than ever and there won’t be a glut of vacancies. With Carolina reportedly offering John Fox the opportunity to stay, the pickings could be slimmer than expected. And of course, Weis has no NFL head-coaching experience. He'll have a tough time shaking the just-a-coordinator stigma.

By default on both ends, the Bills may be Weis’ best fit. If he hopes to get back on his feet ASAP, Buffalo is an ideal home. He will have a clean slate and full reign — and maybe even an opportunity to snare his quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the draft. With an aggressive G.M., the Bills could attack the possibility of a Weis/Clausen combo. Then again, the Bills do not have a G.M. So...yeah.

There’s no need to rehash Buffalo’s malaise on offense. It’s been gruesome all decade. No coach has been able to bring stability to the Bills’ ‘O.’ This season was a new rock bottom because it appeared talent, for once, was in place. Despite a handful of playmakers in Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, the Bills have scored 15 points per game. Only Detroit, Oakland and St. Louis are worse.

The common denominator for the prolonged offensive ineptitude is pathetic quarterback play. Rob Johnson was a flop. Drew Bledsoe was a sack waiting to happen. J.P. Losman could throw the deep ball but was far too unrefined. Trent Edwards seemed refined, but couldn’t throw the deep ball. And in-between, Buffalo has bridged the gaps with journeymen. Hardly the formula to long-term success.

Branded as a QB tutor, Weis could finally halt this comedy of errors.

Of course, his most famous pupil is Tom Brady. Weis played a huge role in transforming the sixth-round nobody into a three-time Super Bowl champion. Weis didn’t baby Brady into a mundane string of checkdowns and safe passes, yet also didn’t burden him with too much responsibility. Weis found the perfect balance and it worked out big time.

Granted, the Bills’ problems are bigger than one man.

No one man can rectify this team on his own. It’s like asking a new mayor to re-do an entire town’s street system alone. Impossible. Still, this year’s offensive struggles confirm that Buffalo must go offense-first with its hire. Anybody in the Dick Jauron-mold is unacceptable. Ralph Wilson would need to take cover.

So maybe Weis is the guy. As so many heavyweights turn the other cheek and/or use the Bills as a bargaining chip — cough, Shanahan, cough — it’s a good sign that Weis has expressed interest.

This may be the right hire at the right time.

thdunne@gmail.com

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