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Bills coordinator a transforming figure?

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards fended off virtually every question that dealt with individual players, continuously citing the embryonic "evaluation process" the staff is in.

"I just got in here the other day," Edwards said Thursday in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Edwards, speaking with reporters for the first time since the Bills hired him and announced they were switching to a 3-4 defense, didn't mention a single player by name in a 33-minute Q&A session, but did discuss his general approach to the job under new head coach Chan Gailey.

"We will play aggressive, attacking defense," Edwards said. "That's what we'll be looking to do. Right now, as we go through the evaluation phase, that's how we'll look at it. We're looking for tough, physical, smart football players."

Well, who isn't?

Edwards is optimistic he can help transform the Bills in more ways than how they line up on the field. He has gone through cultural and defensive overhauls.

Edwards spent the past five seasons as a linebackers coach with the Miami Dolphins and was one of the few holdovers when Bill Parcells came in as football czar at the end of 2007 and darn near cleaned house. The Dolphins went from 1-15 to AFC East champions in 2008.

"To see how they came in and changed the culture of that team in that short of a period of time was an invaluable experience for me," Edwards said. "Did I learn a lot from that process? Yes.

"The process, that's what people don't realize. It isn't just the win and loss. It's the process of working towards your goals that you have to spend your time on. That's essentially what we're doing right now, trying to change a culture and getting to winning."

A few other topics Edwards touched on ...

His defensive priority:

"The No. 1 thing we've got to do is stop the run, especially here. That has to be a strength for us. Late in the season, with the weather and being a home advantage and the crowd noise, we've got to stop the run. Then we've got to do a good job of affecting the passer, whether it's through pass rush, coverage."

The importance of identifying a nose tackle:

"For me, it's too early to say our noseguard will do this or do that or who our noseguard is. But it's invaluable. When you talk about stopping the run in that 3-4 defense, it starts right in the middle. ... That is a position you definitely have to concentrate on and you have to look at what you're going to ask that guy to do. That's a position where it's imperative you get good play inside. Closing off the gaps inside as far as the run game, that'll be a main emphasis for us defensively. That is a cog and a necessity to make sure you get the best fit at the nose position."

The main consideration when moving a 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker:

"You'll ask him to do a little more coverage-wise. He'll have to have awareness of things in coverage. As long as you're careful in what you ask him to do in coverage, he'll have a chance to succeed. ... Don't put too much on his plate in terms of what you're asking."

His initial thoughts on Buffalo's secondary:

"They've looked pretty impressive. Being in this division, I kind of had a feel for that. What you see on tape is a lot of guys with a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism to make plays down the field. They were able to get a lot of turnovers."

The benefit of being familiar with the AFC East:

"Matchup-wise, from team to team, I do think it's advantageous. I know what we used to do to stop certain teams in this division. From that aspect of it, knowing what you'd like to do in certain situations, that will help us. Knowing what you're looking for as far as matchups in coverage, pass rush, attacking protections, it will help."