Lots of leftover items from our conversation with Bills Coach Chan Gailey Thursday, at day one of the NFL Scouting Combine. It was the first chance we had to talk to Gailey about the hiring of former Dolphins and Pitt Head Coach Dave Wannstedt earlier this year.
Wannstedt’s been named the Bills new Assistant Head Coach and Inside Linebackers Coach, reuniting him with Gailey. Wannstedt was the Head Coach on the Dolphins staff when Gailey was offensive coordinator in 2000 and 2001.
As we expected. Gailey views Wannstedt as an invaluable resource to the team, especially on game days, when Gailey is calling offensive plays.
“The thing that can happen now,” Gailey told us” is that when the offense is off the field, I can go back and talk to the quarterbacks and Dave is there if we need to make a decision about penalties or something like that, if my head’s stuck back with the photographs with the quarterbacks. I feel freer to do that now.”
We also talked to Gailey about the Bills primary defensive philosophy. They made a painful conversion to a 3/4 front last year, but Wannstedt’s defensive experience is primarily in 4/3 defenses. Gailey says the Bills will incorporate elements of both defensive fronts and morph into a hybrid-style defense, as they started to do in the second half of the 2010 season.
“I think we are a hybrid,” Gailey says. ” I think we are going to play just enough 3/4 to make them honest and make them mad because they have to prepare for it. But it may take playing a little bit more four man front, because of what we’re facing–running game, to be able to stop the running game.”
Whatever defensive front they play, and whether Wannstedt is on board with the defense, Gailey says improvement on defense is his number one offseason goal.
“We have to improve our defense, particularly our run defense, whether it’s personnel, scheme, blitz alignment, whatever. We have to improve our defense and particularly, our run defense.”