The Buffalo Bills fired defensive coordinator George Edwards today, head coach Chan Gailey announced.
The move comes in the wake of the Bills' 6-10 finish to the season. Buffalo ranked 30th in points allowed and 26th in yards allowed.
Dave Wannstedt has been promoted to defensive coordinator. He had held the title of assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach this year. He retains the assistant head coach title.
"We’re in a production business, that’s the bottom line," Gailey said. "We need to get better production. George is an extremely smart guy. And it’s not all him, as it never is. We lost some good players, and that’s tough on anybody. But we just think you need to head in a different direction. You have to do what you have to do."
Wannstedt has been in the NFL for 17 years and was an NFL head coach for 11 years, five with Miami and six with Chicago. He was added to the Bills' staff a year ago after being fired from a job as head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Gailey stressed Wannstedt's promotion was not part of the plan when he was hired a year ago.
"Many of you, people out there, will speculate that this was set up way back," Gailey said. "That is the furthest thing from the truth. Dave was hired to help me, to help the defense and that’s what he did all year. It just got to the point where I felt like we needed a change. So we made the change."
The Bills allowed 5,938 yards, the most in team history. The BIlls' overall defensive rankings were worse than last year. Buffalo ranked 28th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed in 2010. The big problem for the defense was lack of a pass rush. The Bills ranked 27th in sacks per pass attempt, down from 23rd a year ago.
Wannstedt has 36 years of coaching experience overall. He won a Super Bowl ring as defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys in 1992, the year of their first title-game victory over Buffalo.
"I just know Dave has a wealth of experience," Gailey said. "He’s been around good to great defenses before. I think his level of experience will be able to help the players we have right now to hopefully have better production as we go into next season."
Wannstedt spoke with reporters for about five minutes after Gailey's news conference.
“Everything has happened obviously very fast from our game yesterday, and the emotions of the season, quite honestly are the primary focus at this point," Wannstedt said. "Talking with
Chan this afternoon, obviously, I’ve done this for a long time. We’re kind of at the stage now where you sit back and evaluate things. Everybody’s curious what changes will be made, what’s going to be different. The time and place will come to talk about that. Right now it’s more of sit back and try to catch our breath. Obviously things have happened quick. Evaluate our players, evaluate our scheme and take a look and say where can we improve. It’s really not that difficult. We’ve got a lot of room to improve. We’ve got some good young players, we’ve got some good veteran players, and that will be the next step.”