Coy Wire's move to weak side linebacker in 2006 was based purely on the fact that the Bills had no one else to fill the void left by Keith Ellison's injury. The encouraging signs from Wire at linebacker led to a permanent move this season.
Wire, however, is not a stranger to linebacker. At Stanford Wire was a standout as a weak side linebacker but his size resulted in a change to safety in the NFL. While he welcomed the change at the NFL level, Wire never ruled out a return to linebacker.
"It was always in the back of my mind," said Wire. "Because I know that I was a solid performer in college at that position and I always wondered if I would get that opportunity to get to play that for the Buffalo Bills"
Wire started Friday's game against Atlanta in relief of Angelo Crowell. His most impressive series of the game came on successive plays in the second quarter. First he stuffed Atlanta running back Jason Snelling for no gain and then delivered a huge hit on Snelling after a short reception, forcing a fumble that was recovered by John McCargo. Even though Wire has not yet spent a calendar year as an NFL linebacker it is clear he has what the coaches are looking for.
"I have always liked Coy. He's just a good player," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He's a tough guy, reacts very quickly. He'll hit you. He's not a giant so he's compact and packs a punch."
As the Bills defense turns to speed to make plays, no position has seen more of a speed upgrade than linebacker. As a former safety, Wire brings plenty of speed to the table for the revamped linebacking corps.
"In this scheme my skills are catered more for a linebacker," said Wire. "I'm glad the coaches recognized that and made the move and brought me to that position because I think I can help our team there."
Even though Wire played linebacker in his time at Stanford this will be Wire's first full season playing linebacker in the NFL. As he allows his natural instincts to guide him on the field, he will be able to pick up the NFL game much quicker.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there, the more I play the position the more I feel right at home. I am getting better at reading my keys and playing good solid football," said Wire. "Now I am able to learn the techniques and the intricacies of the position and how the coaches want us to play within this scheme."
While he may be new to linebacker at the NFL level it is clear that the coaching staff has faith in Wire's abilities. Throughout the spring camps and training camp Wire has been placed at every linebacker position on the Bills roster to learn all three positions. That versatility makes him valuable in the Bills scheme as he can be plugged in for any injury that occurs.
"Our next guy in is almost always Coy. Coy is so valuable to us in a lot of roles and we have a lot of confidence in him," said Jauron.
It is Wire's speed and athleticism that makes him such a valuable commodity to the Buffalo's defense. The speed-centered defense run by the Bills can thrive with players like Wire that double as effective cover men.
"A lot of times we don't have to take the linebackers off the field. Certain third down situations we can leave linebackers on the field because of speed and reaction that we can get from linebackers like Coy," said Crowell. "That's what we're built on so with that being said. Speed kills and that's what Perry likes."
And speed was what Jason Snelling felt when Wire made him a target on consecutive plays Friday night.