McNally’s best contribution for Bills was developing Peters

By Connor Byrne  |   Tuesday, January 08, 2008  |  Comments( 53 )

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After four years as Buffalo's offensive line coach, Jim McNally retired Tuesday, leaving another vacancy to fill within the Bills' organization.

The 64-year-old McNally, renowned for his work with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants in the past, came to the Bills with much fanfare in 2004. The Buffalo native was hired by his hometown team to help turn its decade-long offensive line woes around. To an extent, he was able to do that.

Under McNally's tutelage, the Bills' top five O-linemen started all but one game together last season, which was a major sign of stability on a unit that had been lacking it for a while. And while McNally will be remembered for helping make 2006 fifth-round pick Brad Butler into a solid right guard and advising the Bills to sign above-average right tackle Langston Walker -- who was previously much maligned in Oakland -- last offseason, his main legacy in Buffalo will certainly be left tackle Jason Peters.

The 6-foot-4, 328-pound Peters, who played tight end at the University of Arkansas but went undrafted in 2004, signed with the Bills and began as an all-purpose player. His first duty came on special teams, where he blocked a punt against the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie. The next year, '05, Peters shifted into the Bills' starting lineup as a right tackle. Then last season, Peters truly transformed into an elite-level tackle when he moved to the left side midway through the year, drawing praise from several media members who included him on their All-Pro teams.

After coming a long way during his first season-plus as a starting O-lineman, Peters really began to garner the respect of his peers in '07. In fact, he was the only member of the Bills to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Not just that, but the 25-year-old was picked to start for the AFC in Honolulu this February, which is clearly high praise for a relatively inexperienced lineman, but he'll sit the game out because of a groin injury.

There is no doubt that McNally had a big hand in Peters' development, and that's likely what Bills fans will remember him for. Though he wasn't the savior Buffalo was expecting him to be, McNally did transform the line from awful to better than average during his four seasons. That counts for a lot.

*E-mail: Where there is never an offseason for the Buffalo Bills.
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CommentsComments: 53  |  Sign Up  View all comments
09:08 AM
Agreed. Peters is a monster. The problem is that once his contract expires he is gone, due the Bills "cash to the cap" policy...
09:14 AM
There's been improvement, no question. And this particular coach was so hyped ("genius") when he came to the Bills that...
09:26 AM
It was time for McNally to retire. I saw a piece on him on NFL network about midway thru the season and the guy looked about 85...
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