Cowher calls Buffalo possible 2010 sleeper

Bill Cowher declined overtures from the Buffalo Bills to rebuild their organization.

He thinks the man they eventually hired will do just fine.

Cowher likes Buffalo's chances to be competitive in 2010 under new head coach Chan Gailey, who served as Cowher's offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The AFC East, I think it's the best division in football," Cowher said on a CBS Sports conference call to preview the season. "I think the Buffalo Bills could be a surprise team, and you're already talking about the Dolphins, Jets and the New England Patriots. I don’t think there's an easy out in any one of those games.

"I think with the Buffalo Bills you're going to see a team that plays hard, a team that's going to reestablish an identity, and they're in the process of changing the culture."

Gailey was on Cowher's staff for four years, first as a receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator in 1996 and 1997. Gailey left the Steelers to become head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowher and CBS Sports colleague Phil Simms were impressed with how Gailey polished Trent Edwards over the summer.

"This is going to be a football team that's going to try to establish the running game," Cowher said, "but I'm going to tell you he's going to throw the football. ... He's trying to build an offensive line. The best thing you can do with a young offensive line and one that's not established is run the football.

"But I will say this about Chan Gailey: He's a master at being unpredictable. He will come up with a few wrinkles every week that will keep their team excited, and it's going to keep the defenses guessing with each team he plays each week.

"I think this guy is going to utilize what he does best, and he's going to let Trent Edwards develop some confidence early in this season and just take it from there. As Trent gets more comfortable he'll open it up a little bit more."

Simms explained why Gailey might be able to coax more out of Edwards where other head coaches and coordinators could not.

"I think [Gailey] has a unique ability to really communicate to the quarterback," Simms said. "I think he makes them feel comfortable, and history tells us he's done a good job with just about everybody he's worked with.

"I believe in Trent Edwards. He's big. He throws almost perfect spirals every time that he throws the football, which is very important in Buffalo. I think he's accurate. ... [Gailey's] a play caller that's always going to give his quarterbacks some easy throws to keep the confidence level high. whether it's the screens or this or that.

"Hey, I don't think Buffalo's going to make the playoffs. But I think we'll see that they're on the right track and getting themselves in position where they can make a playoff run in the near future."