Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix made his first extensive public comments about the state of his 4-12 football team on Tuesday at the 2011 Senior Bowl. One of the more notable storylines emerging from that interview is the fact that Nix is adamant that the team improve its run defense.
"I'll tell you one thing, if we're ever gonna win, we gotta fix [the run defense]," Nix said. "You don't win if you don't, and you don't have to worry about them throwing it because they won't throw it until you make 'em. We've gotta do that, and some of it is to get bigger and stronger. We had 13 guys on IR. I think seven of 'em were linebackers. ... We had gotten small around there - 225- and 230-pound linebackers - and it's hard to stop the run with that. We gotta get bigger."
Nix must know something that the BuffaloBills.com webmaster doesn't, because when the Bills closed the 2010 season, they were using six linebackers on their active roster - Chris Kelsay, Akin Ayodele, Paul Posluszny and Arthur Moats started, with Pierre Woods and Aaron Maybin used (sparingly) as reserves. Posluszny is listed as the lightest of that group at 238 pounds, followed by Ayodele at 245. (Forgive me for inserting opinion here, but I'm concerned less with weight, and more with the ability to shed blocks.)
More was said about the defense; we'll cover it after the jump.
Chan Gailey said in his season-ending press conference that the team would be using multiple fronts heading into the 2011 season, but Nix and Buffalo's scouting department are still seeking out 3-4 talent.
"We can't start over every year. You can not do that. We're a 3-4. We're scouting for a 3-4. And if we wind up with people we need to play in a four-man front some, we will. Now I think that's really what everybody [in a 3-4 scheme] does. But you gotta have a goal that this is what you're trying to get to defensively. That hasn't changed."
Gailey also mentioned at his early-January press conference that he still had high hopes for Torell Troup and Alex Carrington (as well as Arthur Moats). Nix is on board with that thinking about the two defensive linemen, as well.
"I think they're both going to be good players," he said. "Carrington didn't play as much as we'd have liked him to, but toward the end of the year he was gettin' it." He's big and strong and athletic and so is the other one [Troup]. So it's our job to get them to play good."