Buffalo's schematic shift this offseason from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive front will have obvious consequences for the 2010 season. Several defensive players on the roster will have to make adjustments to their game, be it mentally as their role within the system changes, or physically depending on what their position responsibility now requires. Perhaps no one is expected to benefit more than Aaron Maybin.
Many observers feel the shift to the 3-4 will allow Maybin to maximize his skill set. Still it will be an adjustment for the second-year player. However, the benefit the pass rusher will have in addition to the scheme change is the same position coach he had as a rookie.
Bob Sanders joined Buffalo's coaching staff in 2009 serving as the defensive line coach. For 2010 he'll be handling the outside linebackers, so a lot of the defensive ends he was coaching last year will still be under his jurisdiction this season including Maybin.
"Being able to have a coach on the staff that I've worked with the past year is a great thing for me," said Maybin. "Me and Coach Sanders have a great relationship. I think that that's going to be a huge help for me just because we're so familiar with each other."
Had Maybin been faced with getting adjusted to a new position coach and his coaching style, it may have taken away from his main focus of learning the new defensive scheme and his role in it. With that not part of the equation Maybin feels he can put all his energy into being a successful contributor in 2010.
"He knows what my skill set is, he knows the kind of player I am, he knows the kind of worker I am, so a lot of those things that makes it easier where I don't have to go through all that with a new coach," said Maybin. "This is a coach that knows me, he knows what my capabilities are, and he's going to do what he needs to do to make sure that I'm ready to play."
And Sanders has been getting pass rushers ready to play for the better part of the last 30 years.
Whether it was Jevon Kearse during his college days at the University of Florida, Aaron Kampman with the Green Bay Packers, or getting a bounce back season from Aaron Schobel with the Bills, Sanders has a way of bringing the best out of his players.
Bills head coach Chan Gailey certainly hopes the same can be done with Maybin.
"He's got a lot of physical talent and if we can get him moved and get him to where he's standing up and doing some things off the edge, that might fit him a lot better than a hand on the ground 4-3 defensive end," said Gailey. "I think for him it's a great move and hopefully that turns into being a great move for our football team."
"I think the system's perfect for me," Maybin said. "I've been telling people for weeks. I couldn't be more excited about this season coming up with just the new defensive scheme that we're running and with just the personnel that we're bringing in and that we've already brought in, and just the guys on the team that we already have. I couldn't be more excited. I think it's going to be great."