AFC East: George Cortez

Here are the most interesting stories Sunday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Barring some Tim Tebow magic, the Patriots can expect the Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Pittsburgh is a tough first draw for New England, which has the No. 1 seed.
Morning take: Philbin joins Jeff Fisher, Dave Toub and interim coach Todd Bowles on Miami's list so far. The Dolphins are hoping Fisher chooses Miami next week over St. Louis. If Fisher goes to the Rams, Miami's pool is wide open.
Morning take: I would be surprised if Schottenheimer gets a head-coaching job this year after a poor performance in New York. But an interesting name listed as a potential replacement is former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, who is familiar with the AFC East.
Morning take: Cortez did solid work with Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's not the norm for someone to leave the NFL for the CFL, but at least it's for a head-coaching position.

Dilfer views Buffalo as Newton's perfectville

March, 29, 2011
On Monday's edition of "NFL Live," analysts Mark Schlereth and Trent Dilfer each stated a case for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's best destination.

Schlereth's answer was the Carolina Panthers. They own the first overall pick and need a leading man to take them into the future.

Dilfer argued the best place for Newton was with the Buffalo Bills, who the Heisman Trophy winner is visiting Monday and Tuesday.

Dilfer contended the Bills have the proper infrastructure to accommodate Newton, from head coach Chan Gailey to quarterbacks coach George Cortez to incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"I think it's the ideal fit for Cam Newton for a lot of reasons," Dilfer said. "Fitzpatrick being there, can play the position for a couple years while Cam Newton develops.

"More importantly, Chan Gailey understands how to develop a young quarterback. He's a forward-thinker offensively. He builds his offense around the talent, not injects a player into an offense. I think this is very important for Cam Newton. You see the things he did at Auburn. These are the types of things Chan Gailey will immediately implement into the Buffalo Bills' offense.

"George Cortez, their quarterback coach, is a guy that's been in Canada for a long time and understands that horizontal stretch on the football field and will do a great job with Cam, integrating him into the NFL game."

I couldn't agree more with Dilfer. Many Bills fans see Fitzpatrick's presence as a reason not to draft Newton. I look at it conversely.

Any team would want a veteran like Fitzpatrick around to mentor a big-time prospect. Fitzpatrick is a classic overachiever journeyman. He has fought to stay in the NFL. His work ethic is admirable. He's smart. His teammates respect him and respond to him. And when it would be time for Fitzpatrick to step aside, he's not the type to cause a fuss.

That, plus Gailey's track record with quarterbacks, looks like a fine environment for a young quarterback to grow.

AFC East wire: Lynch claims new mindset

May, 24, 2010
Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Gailey's staff looks thin on experience

February, 10, 2010
Now that new Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey has essentially assembled his staff, I thought it would be worthwhile to present a snapshot of who they are.

You'll notice a couple blanks still need to be filled in. The Bills have yet to designate a defensive line or linebackers coach and could have other openings on the staff. For example, they could choose to break up inside and outside linebackers.

The Bills have two defensive assistants who haven't been assigned duties. Bob Sanders and Giff Smith have experience coaching the defensive line. Sanders did it last year, but he also coached linebackers for the Miami Dolphins.

What stands out to me is the lack of NFL experience throughout the staff.

Defensive backs coach George Catavolos has banked 26 years in that role. Special-teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven has put in 23 years. But there's a huge drop from there.

Gailey has gathered acquaintances from his days at Georgia Tech and assistants he identified as up-and-comers during his brief stay with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gailey will have at least eight assistants with two or fewer years of NFL experience in the positions they will hold with the Bills. At least four of them will have zero seasons of NFL experience in their given role.

That's not to say they're all neophytes.

One of those first-timers is veteran quarterbacks coach George Cortez, who has spent more than three decades coaching at colleges and in the Canadian Football League.

They might all be fine teachers, but I think it's fair to wonder how these coaches will handle the fast-paced, high-pressure setting of an NFL sideline on Sunday afternoons.