Inside The Bills

Hybrid defense possible

Posted by Chris Brown on February 4, 2010 – 2:03 pm

Bills new defensive coordinator George Edwards is changing Buffalo’s defensive look, but it’s not necessarily a wholesale or permanent shift.

Upon being named defensive coordinator Thursday, Edwards said in a statement that “initially” their alignment will be a 3-4 front and they “will adjust from there.”

Changing over from a 4-3, which the Bills have played and drafted players for over the last nine years, to a 3-4 won’t happen overnight. The two schemes require different personnel.

I believe Edwards recognizes this, which is why he’s left the door open to what I believe could ultimately be a hybrid 3-4 defense that has the ability to flex to a 4-3 at times.

“We will do what we feel is best for our players to do,” said Edwards. “Personnel will dictate what you can and what you can’t do.”

Coach Gailey in our one-on-one interview with him on referenced the possibility of a hybrid 3-4 as well when I asked him if the defensive scheme will be up for discussion.

“There are some 4-3 coordinators that can adjust it to where it looks like a 3-4 at times and is more of a hybrid type deal that you can use,” Gailey told “I feel like there is some discussion out there where we’d like to explore all avenues.”

That’s probably why Gailey hired Edwards. He has experience in both defensive schemes so morphing the two should not present a great challenge to Buffalo’s defensive play caller.

It’s clear this staff knows they can’t build Rome in a day. You can only turn a roster over so much to fit your scheme. They likely realize that while they may have some players under contract that aren’t ideal fits for the 3-4 scheme, they still have to find ways to maximize their strengths and if that means developing a system that employs both 3-4 and 4-3 principles they’re going to do it.

As the years go by and they can shape their roster to fit their scheme more, it’s likely that they move to a more stringent 3-4 defensive system.

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