To coin an old phrase, two heads are better than one. This has been the mindset of Buffalo Bills' new head coach, Chan Gailey, this offseason – at least in the strength and conditioning department.
To go along with a host of new assistant coaching hires, Gailey tacked on two strength and conditioning coaches, John Gamble and Eric Ciano, recently. While most teams boast a head strength and conditioning coordinator and sometimes up to two assistants, the Bills now have the distinction of being the only NFL Franchise with co-coaches currently filling that role.
Keeping the Bills healthy has been an area of particular interest this offseason considering 20 players found themselves on injured reserve at season's end last year.
As for a reason for the hires, Gailey points to the area of specialization.
"We seem to specialize in a lot of things in the game of football," said Gailey. "That is one area we have not specialized in as much. In the strength and conditioning area I tried to hire two guys that I think are both head coaches in that area. Really so they can both spend time specializing in areas and that'll overlap from time to time. They'll specialize in certain areas from time to time."
The two will base their focus on separate areas of the team. Gamble, the former No. 1-ranked weightlifter in the world (1981-'83, 275 pounds), will work mostly on the conditioning of Buffalo's offensive and defensive lines. Ciano's responsibilities include working with the defensive backs, backfield and receiving corps. Gailey expects the duo to share duties for the rest of the squad.
Ciano, who spent the last five seasons serving as the Director of Player Development for Georgia Tech, as has been the tendency with many of the assistant coach signings thus far, has worked with Gailey before.
Gamble also worked with Gailey, when he served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Miami Dolphins. He was hired by Hall of Fame coach Don Schula in 1994 and has served Miami ever since – though the last four years Gamble was the Director of Player Development. Gailey believes his experience in gaining mass, strength and power will help the Bills' inexperienced offensive line.
"They'll both work in conjunction with everybody," he said. "The combination of these two guys is going to pay real dividends for our team.
"We feel like we really strengthened ourselves in the strength and conditioning area to be able to have two guys of that kind of quality and that kind of ability to go out there and work with our guys," Gailey said. "They spend a lot of time with our football team in the offseason."
However unconventional the move may be, Gailey hopes the additions veer the club away from the roster depletion injuries have caused in recent campaigns.