One of the most important positions left on Chan Gailey’s coaching staff has been filled. George Edwards, a 12-year NFL coaching veteran, was named Bills defensive coordinator Thursday. Edwards has been a defensive coordinator (2003) and assistant defensive coordinator (2002) in his time in the league.
“We are very excited that George Edwards has joined our staff as defensive coordinator,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He brings a wealth of experience, not only as a motivator and communicator, but he has been involved with some great schemes and we are excited about him being the head of our defense.”
Buffalo’s new defensive boss will be making changes to the Bills defensive scheme, which has exclusively employed a 4-3 front the past nine seasons.
“Defensively, we will start from a 3-4 alignment,” said Edwards. “But we will do what we feel is best for our players. We are not going to give anything away about exactly what we will do, but personnel will dictate what you can and what you can’t do. As far as the initial alignment, the 3-4 is what we will start off with and we will adjust from there.”
Edwards has experience with the 3-4 system after spending the last five seasons as a linebackers coach with the Miami Dolphins, where he was instrumental in the development of linebacker Channing Crowder. In 2009, the Miami defense ranked fourth in the NFL in third-down defense, holding opponents to a 34.8 percent success rate. The Dolphins also paced the NFL by recording a sack every 7.4 opponent pass plays.
Following the 2009 season, Edwards was named the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida on Jan. 8 of this year, before being offered and accepting the Bills coaching position.
In 2003, Edwards was named the defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins after serving as the assistant defensive coordinator/ linebackers coach the previous year under then head coach Steve Spurrier. Edwards coached the likes of Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was selected for two of his three Pro Bowls under the tutelage of Edwards (2002-03) including a career year in which he had 107 tackles and 11 sacks.
In 2002, each of the Redskins’ starting linebackers, which also included Jesse Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter, surpassed the 100-tackle plateau.
Edwards began his NFL coaching career with a four-season stint with the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001), the first two of which came under head coach Chan Gailey. He tutored the team’s linebackers where Dexter Coakley was twice selected to the Pro Bowl in Edwards’ time with the Cowboys.
“I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to come in and have a chance to work with coach Gailey again and the staff that he has been able to put together,” Edwards said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to come to Buffalo and look forward to getting started as quickly as possible. This is a team that has played good defense in the past and I am excited to continue on with that tradition.”
Prior to his time in the pro ranks, Edwards spent seven years coaching at the college level, with stints at Georgia (1997- defensive line), Duke (1996- linebackers), Appalachian State (1992-95- linebackers) and Florida (1991- graduate assistant). Edwards coached current Bills DT