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Gailey eyes defensive help

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bills coach Chan Gailey acknowledged defense is where the Bills have to focus a lot of their attention in filling out the roster this offseason.

"Defense is where we’re the thinnest," Gailey told The News in an interview. "We’ll address all of that here in the next couple months. We’ll make sure we take care of the needs going into the season."

Inside linebacker is a big need. "That's one of the priorities for us this offseason," Gailey said. The Bills' coach said the team definitely will try to retain inside linebacker Paul Posluszny, whose contract is up. Adding a defensive end, due to last week's release of veteran Marcus Stroud, is another need.

"It is very much so," Gailey said. "The other thing we kinda got … if we are hybrid, which I think we will be, it allows you to take (Chris) Kelsay and move (him) down, shift the 3-4 over and now Kelsay is a rush guy. Or (Shawne) Merriman is a rush guy. So you might not have to have as many (ends), depending on the situation as time goes on. We feel like we can massage that as we need to, getting the best football players on the field."

Gailey sees the Bills using both the 3-4 and the 4-3 fronts, as they did last season. "I hinted at this at the end of the season. I think we’re going to be a hybrid. Some 3-4 some four-man front. I think we’re going to be a little of both. A lot of teams are doing that now, using 3-4 in certain situations using four-man in certain situations. That still creates the problem for the defense as long as you have enough 3-4 to keep them honest. I think we will be multiple, hybrid, whatever term you want to use. You find the best players you can find then you work your defense around whoever the best football players are."

What does Gailey think about his team's pass-rush potential? "We’ve got to have better pass rush when we don’t blitz. We need to improve that with personnel. Now we may be able to get that in a second down situation with Merriman and Kelsay coming off each side if all goes well. You gotta stay healthy you’ve got to hang in there and be fortunate sometimes."

The BIlls also have two cornerbacks with contracts that are up - Drayton Florence and Ashton Youboty. What did Gailey think of the season turned in by Leodis McKelvin? "I felt like he left something on the table. And I had this conversation with him. There were times he was banged up a little bit but I think he has the capablilty to be an extremely good corner in this league. And I hope he’ll commit to what he needs to commit to in the offseason to get better."

And the Bills have a need at safety, where both Donte Whitner and George Wilson have contracts that are up. The Bills had former Colts star Bob Sanders in town for a visit last week.

---Mark Gaughan


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