Bills Assistant Head and Inside linebackers coach Dave Wannstedt has been in the office for the better part of the past two weeks grinding on game tape from the 2010 season in an effort to get a handle on the team's personnel and schemes. He's also had the opportunity to speak to a couple of players with whom he'll be working closely come the 2011 campaign.
In charge of the inside linebackers Wannstedt has had the chance to speak with the two veterans that started the season at that position in Buffalo's 3-4 front in Andra Davis and Paul Posluszny.
"Andra was in (Wednesday) and came by to see the doctors and Poz was here two weeks ago the first time I was here and I had a chance to talk to him," said Wannstedt. "They're excited. They both seem committed to doing whatever it takes to get better."
Both players know improving the run defense relates to them directly as linebackers. Davis' season was cut short by a torn labrum that required surgery and landed him on injured reserve before midseason. Posluszny again led the team in tackles for a third straight season, but the unit as a whole was lacking.
"The coaches were putting us in the right spot," Posluszny said. "We have to get off a block and make a play, we have to come downhill, hit a guy, get off a block, get to the ball carrier, tackle better. It's not a scheme thing at all. We're lined up in a great defense. We're ready to stop the run, we're lined up in the right places, and we're running the right stuff. It's us. We have to be more physical, we have to play better. Defensively, we just didn't play well at all."
Posluszny is also going to be a free agent. He stated at season's end that he'd like to be back with the Bills and "see this thing through." A new contract for him however, will not happen until there's a new league labor agreement.
Wannstedt sounds as though he's anticipating both Davis and Posluszny will be in the fold and knowing both are defensive leaders has him encouraged.
"If you've got a couple of guys that lead and play that inside linebacker position and they're the guys talking in the huddle it adds a little something to you defense," said Wannstedt. "Hopefully we can do some things to make them better players and they know… once players know what and how you're coaching them is going to help them improve it's all positive."
As reassuring as it might be to have veteran starters in Davis and Posluszny, provided he re-signs, Bills GM Buddy Nix did not deny that they'd like to add some reinforcements at the inside linebacker position this offseason.
"We do have a bunch of good young guys," said Nix of Buffalo's linebacker contingent. "In fact we feel good about outside linebacker. We need a couple of inside backers. We need some bigger, stronger guys to help us stop the run."
Wannstedt is still making his way through all of the defensive tape from the 2010 season, but in meeting with defensive coordinator George Edwards and the rest of the defensive staff it's clear to him that there is a clear plan to make significant improvements.
"I think now everyone except myself has a real good feel of the personnel and what we can really expect our guys to do where they can perform at the level we need to be successful," he said. "Then you add to it. Hopefully you get a couple in the draft and you've got free agency. So you've got a chance to really add to the mix.
"As we move forward this is a great opportunity when we do get started, the minicamps, the OTAs to say this is the direction we're going and I think everybody will be on board to move forward."