Vic Carucci of NFL.com held a live chat on Friday that created a little buzz in Buffalo, thanks to his reporting that Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix likes the talent of Auburn QB Cam Newton "a great deal". Forgive us for thinking that Carucci's opinion on the future of the Bills' defense is slightly more interesting than his Nix/Newton report.
"As for other positions, I agree wholeheartedly with you that they need to address their lines -- but especially the defensive line to address the full transition back to a 4-3 scheme that Dave Wannstedt will oversee," Carucci said during the chat.
Chan Gailey, after the Bills' 4-12 season ended, said that the Bills would likely remain multiple - as in use a mixture of 3-4 and 4-3 looks - defensively moving into the future. Then GM Buddy Nix said from the 2011 Senior Bowl that the team would still be scouting for 3-4 personnel, and that the long-term direction of the defense was still the 3-4. Now Dave Wannstedt's presence is supposed to signal a move back to the 4-3.
Hopefully, the Bills have a clear vision of what their defense is going to be; if they do, they're certainly doing a great job of keeping everybody outside of the organization in the dark.
Wannstedt has never coached in a 3-4 defense. George Edwards - who does, in fact, remain the defensive coordinator - has more experience in the 4-3 than he does in the 3-4. Gailey had never been the head coach of a team with a base 3-4 defense until this past season, his first with the Bills. The idea that the Bills are moving back to a 4-3 certainly isn't lacking in circumstantial evidence, but the lack of a unified voice from Nix and Gailey on the matter has left the door open for fans to wonder.
I'm still inclined to believe that the Bills will be a 3-4; Nix wants it long-term, and Gailey said he'll still use it, even if not full-time. The team spent a considerable chunk of their 2010 NFL Draft resources importing 3-4 personnel; it seems incredible that they'd change course so quickly. But when something comes from Carucci, you don't just ignore it - and when push comes to shove, at some point, the NFL will slowly transition back to a 4-3 anyway.