Big Lead Sports Bar



The NFL is a copycat league, and a week before the first regular season games are played, not one, not two, but three offensive coordinators were canned. First was Tampa's Jeff Jagodzinski, who's managed to get fired twice in the span of nine months - no small feat in any profession. Next was the dismissal of former Steeler assistant Chan Gailey in Kansas City. And today, Buffalo canned Turk Schonert, which means that Bills QB coach and former Pitt Panther QB Alex Van Pelt will take the reigns of an offense that boasts such colorful personalities as Terrell Owens and Marshawn Lynch.

Van Pelt, a four-year starter at Pitt, holds the school records for most career passing yards (11,267), career completions (867) and career attempts (1,503). After failing to catch on with Bill Cowher and the Steelers as an 8th round draft pick in 1993, Van Pelt joined Buffalo in 1995 and served as a backup his entire career until his retirement after the 2003 season. Ironically, his first NFL win was against another Pitt icon, Dan Marino, in 1997. Van Pelt started 11 games in his NFL career, the high point being eight in 2001 under coach Gregg Williams, but would never start another after Drew Bledsoe's arrival in 2002.

Since retirement, Van Pelt has coached for the University of Buffalo and NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy as well as doing some broadcasting work. He re-joined the Bills as part of Dick Jauron's staff in 2006 and has worked his way from Offensive Quality Control Coach to QB Coach to Coordinator since then.

He inherits an offense ranked 25th in yardage and 23rd in points in the NFL last season. The unit is 23rd and 27th respectively in the 2009 preseason, which probably helps explain Schonert's dismissal. The team does have a few weapons, most notably Owens, Lynch, Roscoe Parrish, and Josh Reed, but to anyone taking over a job that requires daily interaction with T.O., I wish him all the luck in the world with that.

Email: Twitter: Facebook: Facebook Group

No comments: