Buffalo didn’t wait very long to fill their vacant defensive line coaching position hiring former Green Bay defensive coordinator Bob Sanders. Sanders served as the Packers defensive play caller for each of the past three seasons, but has coached defensive linemen for 15 of his 30 years in coaching.
“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to join this organization,” Sanders told Buffalobills.com. “Coach Jauron and I have a lot of mutual friends and even though we’ve never worked together I have a lot of respect for the work he does.”
Sanders oversaw a Green Bay defense that tied for the NFC-lead with 22 interceptions and ranked fourth in the NFC with 28 takeaways in 2008. They also lead the league with six interceptions returned for touchdowns. In 2007, Green Bay’s defense ranked third in the NFL in third-down defense, sixth in scoring defense and 12th overall.
In 2006, Green Bay ranked among the best pass-rushing defenses in the NFL. The Packers ranked first in the NFC (fourth in the NFL) with 46.0 sacks. Green Bay also ranked fourth in the NFL with 29 forced fumbles and fifth in the NFC in overall defense (11th in the league).
“I like defensive linemen that play fast and hard with great passion,” said Sanders. “In addition to the obvious physical qualities you look for they need to have a love of the game and the work ethic that you have to have to be successful.”
Being good friends with Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Sanders doesn’t see much of a transition for him with respect to what he’ll need to get out of his defensive linemen here in Buffalo.
“There are a lot of similarities between our schemes,” said Sanders. “They were both 4-3 schemes so there are a lot of things within it that I’m already used to. They’re very ,very similar.”
Sanders is also very familiar with the AFC East. The coaching veteran oversaw the Miami Dolphins linebackers for four years as he helped Zach Thomas post four of his most productive seasons.
The rest of Sanders’ career was spent in the college ranks, mostly at the University of Florida, where the Gators led the SEC in sacks for four consecutive seasons (1996-99).
“I feel I’m a good teacher,” Sanders said. “That’s what coaching is and I look to bring enthusiasm and loyalty to the club and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Sanders replaces former defensive line coach Bill Kollar, who accepted an assistant head coach/defensive line position with the Houston Texans earlier this month.