Niagara Gazette


November 29, 2009

TIM'S TAKE: Fewell's fire gives Bills a much-needed spark

ORCHARD PARK — The response spoke volumes. Just minutes after the Bills had snapped a three-game skid, using a surprising dose of bravado to punch a pair of late touchdowns in during Sunday’s 31-14 win over Miami, Donte Whitner was asked about some gutsy calls by rookie head coach Perry Fewell.

“It’s a difference, right? It’s a difference,” Whitner said. “And around here, it’s no knock on anybody, but we’re used to playing it safe in those situations. And the opposition, they know that. Today, they didn’t really expect that. Even last week, when (Terrell Owens) caught the 98-yard touchdown pass, they expected us to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, punt the ball.

“We’re taking shots, and teams have to be on their heels now.”

Make no mistake, Whitner was trying to say that Dick Jauron’s tepid, passionless approach to a game designed around testosterone had even put his own team to sleep. Jauron was the kind of cool-headed soul you’d want watching your daughter. Or managing your portfolio.

But when it came to inciting a riot in his locker room, or simply keeping his own guys focused and frothing when the fourth quarter rolled around, Yale-educated Jauron just wasn’t your guy.

Enter Fewell, who’s so refreshing and unscripted that he actually used the word “gonads” in his first post-game press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. That’s how he described quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after the Dolphins pinched at the line of scrimmage and the former backup audibled to a deep pass to Terrell Owens down the right sideline. It’s the second straight week Fitzpatrick has called for a big play to the future Hall of Famer.

“I love it,” Fewell said. “I told him, you have some big gonads. And I told him as long as he keeps hitting them keep throwing them.”

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