Bills coach Chan Gailey talked about his team's obvious need to improve the pass rush during an interview with The News at the NFL Scouting Combine today.
Asked to assess the pass rush, Gailey said: "Lacking. There’s no other way to say it. If you take away one game, we had not a very good year of rushing the passer, and that’s probably saying it the nicest way I can say it. We have got to be able to get more pressure on the passer."
Gailey acknowledged providing new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt with more pass-rush talent - either in free agency or the draft or both - is a priority. The Bills ranked 27th in sacks per pass attempt in 2011. But take away the 10 sacks they had against Washington and they would have ranked last.
"I go back to what Dave said, we’ve got to get better winning one on ones," Gailey said. "That’s going to create better pass rush (rather) than some fancy scheme that comes out of nowhere. There’s only certain ways to rush the passer. If somebody can beat a block, that’s the key."
Pass rusher is one player the Bills could target with the 10th overall pick in the draft. Reading between the lines of Gailey's comments, offensive tackle is another. Gailey acknowledged the Bills are not necessarily set at a lot of positions - outside of maybe running back and center. There is room for more security at left tackle. Chris Hairston, a rookie in 2011, is presently at the top of the depth chart at left tackle. Demetrius Bell is due to be a free agent.
"I think Chris played good not great," Gailey said. "I think that he has the chance to be very good before it’s over with. I don’t know if he’ll get there. But I think he has a chance to. He’s got some work to do. Demetrius – the key for him is to stay healthy. That’s the key for a guy like that. He certainly has the quickness and the speed to play over there, do that job. But I don’t know if we’re good enough to say we can discount very many positions right now. ... I guess I’m saying if there’s a great one sitting there, you really have to discuss that. It’s not like that position is so firm and settled that you wouldn’t have that discussion. If there was a center sitting there you wouldn’t have that discussion."