A defensive line coach for about half of his 30-year coaching career, Buffalo's new defensive line coach Bob Sanders has helped to maximize the talents of quite a few players in his time. Some of the more notable examples are still playing in the league now.
Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman was a high-motor, effort player not unlike some of Buffalo's current ends. But what Sanders did was maximize Kampman's talent with his effort and helped turn him into a two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher.
Though Sanders was promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2006 season he still was heavily involved in helping Kampman and the rest of the Packers defensive line succeed. Kampman's sacks went from a previous career high of 6.5 in 2005 to an NFC leading 15.5 in 2006, as well as a career best 113 tackles. A Pro Bowl nod followed.
"Bob Sanders is a good coach and more importantly a good man," said Kampman. "I learned from him as both my position coach and my coordinator."
Kampman followed up his career season with another worthy of a second Pro Bowl selection as he had 12 sacks in 1999.
Sanders also tutored Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse in college at the University of Florida, turning him into the hottest pass rushing commodity in the 1999 NFL Draft where he was the first defensive end off the board. Kearse and his Gator teammates led the SEC in sacks all four seasons in which Sanders coached the unit, with Kearse going on to win NFL Rookie of the Year honors with the Titans with 14.5 sacks.
Maximizing a player's ability is something that will be of interest to every one of Buffalo's defensive linemen as they themselves recognized at season's end that their pass rush has to be more productive.
"We didn't get the job done when we needed to," said Chris Kelsay. "It wasn't good enough."
No one will be more motivated to rebound than Aaron Schobel, who missed the last 11 games with a Lisfranc foot injury. He's encouraged by the hire of Sanders.
"Obviously his background is good," Schobel told Buffalobills.com. "He has coordinator experience so he's able to see the whole defense and not just your position. That's always a good thing. He understands a lot about football being a coordinator."
Schobel first spoke with Sanders by phone last week.
"He told me he's not a yeller or a screamer and that's going to be new, but not really hard to adjust to," said Schobel. "Tim (Krumrie) and Bill (Kollar) weren't the quietest people. I'll know a lot more after a couple of weeks with the guy."
Schobel's focus now of course is to get 100 percent healthy so he can return to the form that landed him in the Pro Bowl in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007, but he wouldn't mind an assist from Sanders.
"I just want to play at a level I think I can play at again," said Schobel. "That's my goal and if he helps me get there all the better."
Judging by the success of one of his former players, Sanders should be able to deliver.
Said Kampman of Sanders.
"He will be a great asset."