Thursday, February 24, 2011
Highlights from Chan Gailey at combine
By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey and Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland have completed their media responsibilities at the NFL scouting combine.
Here are some quick highlights from Gailey's gathering, with an Ireland report to follow. I'll elaborate on the more interesting issues later:
- How Gailey would describe the roster: "I think we're on the right track. I do. I believe we have character on the team. I believe they understand. Hopefully, we're going to get better in each phase. You've just got to get them to understand how to win that close game."
- On the No. 3 overall pick, Gailey said the general philosophy was to "take care of immediate needs and, at the same time, take care of the long-term franchise good. You have to consider all scenarios."
- Gailey said that includes possibly trading up or trading down: "We don't turn our phone off at night."
- He is "anxious" to see Auburn quarterback Cam Newton work out in Lucas Oil Stadium and called him "a big athlete that's in that Wildcat mode, but obviously has the ability to go to the dropback-passer mode."
- Gailey claimed he wasn't concerned with Newton being a one-year starter at Auburn.
- Ten years ago, the NFL dictated to colleges how quarterbacks should play. In the next decade, Gailey foresees college football dictating how the NFL uses the quarterbacks who emerge from whatever offenses are popular.
- Gailey also declared he's "extremely confident" in incumbent starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and admitted he made a big mistake in not going with him instead of Trent Edwards last year: "Shoot, yeah! If I knew then what I knew now, I wouldn't do that. But you do what you can with the information you have, make a decision, hope you learn from it quickly and rectify the situation."
- Gailey noted he's never been on a team where he thought he had too many good cornerbacks, there's always room for more. Drayton Florence and Ashton Youboty are about to become free agents. Gailey bluntly added former first-round pick Leodis McKelvin "left something on the table," but still has the chance to be a top-notch cornerback. I hope he'll commit to what he needs to commit to," Gailey said.
- Reports on outside linebacker Shawne Merriman's recovery from Achilles surgery have been "all positive."
- Last year's first-round pick, running back C.J. Spiller, needs to become better with ball security and pass blocking: "It didn't work out like anybody planned -- he planned, I planned, any fan out there planned. I still think he's going to be a very good to great player for the Buffalo Bills. I'll do better at finding ways to use him more."
- The Bills consider their defense neither 3-4 nor 4-3, but a mixture: "If we are a hybrid, which I think we will be, it allows you to take Chris Kelsay and shift all the 3-4 over and now Kelsay or Merriman is a rush guy. We feel like we can massage that as we need to, getting the best football players on the field."
- The Bills plan to draft defensive linemen based on talent more than positional fit and then find ways to use them.
- New assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt, who has overseen great 4-3 defenses, will have wide-ranging roles as Gailey's top consultant on both sides of the ball.
- Free-agent safety Bob Sanders visited the Bills while Gailey was out of town and he didn't have an update on where that stands.
- The Bills have made an organizational decision not to comment on the NFL labor situation.