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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
AFC East gets more defensive


Chan Gailey and the Buffalo Bills' offense will have their work cut out for them in 2010.

Even beyond the obvious shortcomings at quarterback and along the offensive line, Gailey will be strategizing against three of the game's most formidable defensive minds.

The Miami Dolphins on Tuesday hired Mike Nolan to be their defensive coordinator. Football operations boss Bill Parcells provides additional brainpower.

The New York Jets are in the AFC Championship Game because of Rex Ryan's top-rated defense. Bill Belichick still runs the New England Patriots defense even though coordinator Dean Pees announced he won't be back next year.

Nolan's acquisition was a coup for the Dolphins, who fired Paul Pasqualoni last week. Nolan rehabbed the Denver Broncos' defense from one of the NFL's worst in 2008 to respectability.

The Broncos ranked 30th in scoring defense and 29th in total defense the year before Nolan arrived, but he trimmed nearly eight points and 60 yards a game. The Broncos ranked 12th in scoring defense and seventh in total defense.

The Dolphins aren't commenting about their courtship with Nolan, but reports indicate it was a whirlwind.

NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche blogged some inside info on how the deal went down.

Wyche reported the Dolphins sought permission from the Broncos to interview Nolan. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels asked Nolan which job he would rather have. Nolan said he wanted to go to the Dolphins, and McDaniels agreed to let him out of his contract with no animosity.