Dave Wannstedt will try to fix the Bills defense in 2012

The Buffalo Bills today fired their defensive coordinator George Edwards after two subpar years of coaching Chan Gailey’s revamped 3-4 defense.  After finishing 24th in total defense last year, giving up 361.6 yards per game the Bills defense regressed in their second season, finishing 26th in defense, giving up 371.1 yards per game.  Edwards’ new 3-4 defense was supposed to be bigger and better at stopping its opponents than the smallish Tampa 2 4-3 defense that former coach Dick Jauron ran but the defense was soft on the edges against the run and susceptible to big plays down the field in the passing game, particularly to tight ends and bigger receiver targets.  The safeties and linebackers in coverage often seemed to be out of position which would point to a fallacy in the coaching scheme.   After having two years to improve the Bills defense Edwards was met with his walking papers today when he was unable to do so.

Dave Wannstedt was named defensive coordinator for the Bills only a day after the season ended

In steps Dave Wannstedt, who was hired by the Bills as Assistant Head Coach and Inside Linebackers Coach back in January right before the NFL Lockout began.  Wannstedt had joined the staff after he resigned as coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers after 6 seasons at the helm.  He had the most success of his career as defensive coordinator to Jimmy Johnson, serving under him in Dallas for four years from 1989-1992 and again in Miami in 1999 before he took over for him as the head coach when he retired.  Wannstedt was the Cowboys defensive coordinator in the 52-17 Cowboys win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.  He had the #1 overall defense in 1992 with the Cowboys and the #6 defense in the NFL in 1999 when he was coordinator of the Dolphins.  Wannstedt traditionally ran the 4-3 scheme with his defenses so it will be interesting to see whether or not the Bills make the switch back to the 4-3 after just two years in the 3-4.  Chan Gailey has said that they will evaluate and make the decision.  While their two big studs up front, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, would fit in both the 4-3 or the 3-4 the Bills seem to be lacking the linebackers for the 4-3 although that is an area that needs significant upgrading anyhow so personnel changes there are likely inevitable regardless of the scheme they run.  Remember that Wannstedt came onto the Bills staff in January and did not have the luxury of going through minicamps, OTAs, or even being able to communicate with any of his players after his hiring which may have made his influence on the defense to be minimal in his first season with the Bills.  Still, George Edwards was given a year to rebuild the defense with Wannstedt working beneath him but he failed miserably and will be replaced by the experienced Wannstedt.  Word is their might still be more changes to the Bills coaching staff but with the crucial 3rd year of Gailey’s tenure approaching and the perpetually muddled ownership situation to maneuver around Gailey acted quickly to make what he hopes will be a positive change to his coaching staff for 2012.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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