NEW ORLEANS -- As promised, though long overdue, here are some highlights from my chat with Bills coach Chan Gailey during the NFL coaches breakfast at the owners meetings:
He said his coaching staff is working as they usually do while the owners and players try to work out their labor issues. No players are around because of the owner-imposed lockout, but Gailey said the coaches are dealing with that.
"If coaches are nothing else, we’re flexible,'' he said. "We have to be able to adjust. We adjust to the seasons, we adjust to games, we adjust all the time. That’s what we do. You just handle it."
Gailey added that the coaches are dealing with the reported pay cut, saying the organization did a good job of keeping them informed of what was going to happen.
Gailey was grilled on the draft, particularly the quarterback position. He did a good job of addressing the issue without giving anything away. While he reiterated that Ryan Fitzpatrick is his starter, if a franchise quarterback is available with the third pick in the draft, the Bills would strongly consider him.
There are only two choices that high in the first round: Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. A lot of mock drafts in cyberspace have the Bills taking Newton, but there was a lot of talk at the meetings this week about the Carolina Panthers leaning towards using the No. 1 overall selection on Newton. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if the Bills took Gabbert at No. 3 or addressed a need on defense like outside linebacker (Von Miller) or defensive line (Marcell Dareus or Nick Fairley).
Gailey was also asked about outside linebacker Aaron Maybin, the disappointing 2009 first-round pick that has bust written all over him. It looks like the Bills are going to give him one last chance to put up or shut up.
As for Gailey, who has never mince words in his assessment of Maybin, he said Maybin needs to get better on special teams, play the run better and develop better pass-rushing skills.
Asked about Maybin's potential, Gailey said, "Right now all it is is potential because he hasn't shown it in practice or in games.''
I asked Gailey if Maybin needed a fire lit under him. Gailey's response: "I don't think I've lit very many fires. We might provide a spark, but he's got to get his own fire going. He's got to understand where he is. I always talk to guys about 'This is where we are. This is where we want to be, and this is how we get there.' Individually, guys have got to do that. 'This is where I am. This is where I want to be. Now, how do I get there?'
"We tell him all the time how to get there. He's got to do it. Talking's over. You've got to go get it done."
Gailey and I talked about wide receiver Lee Evans and his lack of production the past two years. Gailey said teams continued to double cover Evans early in the season, but didn't do it as much by the middle of the year. Gailey wants Evans to improve his route running and Gailey said he needs to expand the kind of routes Evans runs.
"He’s been more of a deep threat," Gailey said. "I’ve got to get him to do a better job of becoming an underneath threat. I’ve got to do a better job of that."
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