Nix proves Bills serious about change with deals

Posted on March 17, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Dwan EdwardsI’m perceived by most as having a rather negative perception of the Buffalo Bills and I’m fine with it.  In fact, I think it’s mostly well deserved- but that’s another discussion for another time.

One thing I’ll give myself some credit for is not being afraid to admit when I’m wrong.  And after the events that took place at One Bills Drive on Tuesday, I now confess to being wrong about Buddy Nix—and this new front office.

The names of the two latest Bills acquisitions may never appear on a billboard on the thruway but make no mistake about it; the team became a much better defensively in a mere 24 hours.

Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards are both idea components for the forthcoming 3-4 defense and Nix, acknowledged as a “football guy” was astute enough to know it.  With the pair now in tow the Bills should be radically improved in their front seven and suddenly seem nearly equipped to run their new style of defense.

“What closed the deal is that I felt very welcomed,” Davis told reporter Chris Brown in an interview following the signing.  “It’s a blessing. I’m happy and I’m glad this who situation is over with.”

Davis was unexpectedly released by Denver last week in a move widely criticized in league circles.

In Edwards (who despite Adam Schefter’s report earlier hasn’t officially signed) the Bills are getting a guy I coveted since writing about him in mid-February.  To be perfectly honest I paid him little mind once free agency started and he visited Seattle and Denver.  I figured one of the two would throw enough money at him to sign or he’d go back to Baltimore, where he was clearly still wanted.

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports that Edwards will sign his four-year, $18 million deal on Wednesday.

Edwards described the Bills in an interview with their website as an up-and-coming team.

“Up and coming organization playing in a tough division,” Edwards said.  “You got to like that.”

His statistics will never blow anyone away but they’re not supposed to.  Edwards is a solid run stopper who will take on blockers and free up space for a more aggressive linebacking core to make more plays.  Much like the better 3-4 defensive ends in the league, if you’re not hearing his name called often that usually means he’s doing his job.

“The 3-4 is a great defense,” Edwards said.  “It allows you to bring pressure from all different places. It’s a lot of stuff for other teams to prepare for.”

With Davis the Bills got themselves a stout run stopper in the middle of their defense.  He’s not a big play guy and he will never wow you with sacks and interceptions.  What he will bring to the table is much needed toughness in the running game.

I spoke to Denver Fox affiliate sports reporter Josina Anderson, who covered Davis closely last year when he was with the Broncos.  Anderson told me Davis is like a quarterback to the defense.

“He’s a real leader out there,” Anderson said.  “He works hard and he’s also like an extra coach on the field. He’s a very smart player; a great pickup for Buffalo.”

The addition of Davis could also help Buffalo at outside linebacker.  Assuming Davis comes in and starts it could move Mitchell back to the outside, where he can better demonstrate his pash rushing skills.

“I’m very happy and excited,” Davis told Anderson.  “I’m ready to get started.”

Davis signed for two years with a reported maximum value of $4.4 million. He’ll receive $2 million in his first year.

He told that he spoke with defensive coordinator George Edwards and will compete for a starting spot and that’s all he’s looking for.

“That’s all you can ask for in this league is opportunity to prove yourself,” Davis said.  “You don’t want anyone to give you anything.”

The 3-4 transformation is hardly complete but looks a lot better than it did 24 hours ago.   With Edwards and Marcus Stroud set to start at the end positions, Spencer Johnson gives them good depth behind them.

If Aaron Schobel doesn’t retire and Nix is serious about converting Chris Kelsay, the team suddenly has a plethora of linebackers.  Besides Schobel, Kelsay and Mitchell the team also is moving Aaron Maybin to outside linebacker.

The biggest need was and remains a lane clogging defensive nose guard.   Nix insists Kyle Williams can fill the role, but color me skeptical.  They’ll be looking for a big, nasty body to plug in the middle very early in the draft.

Losing out on Jimmy Kennedy last weekend was a blow to the team, but Nix more than made up for it with a pair of quality signings on Tuesday.

Kudos for a job well done.

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