The first head coach to address the media at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis was none other than Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey.
As expected, quarterbacks, the third overall pick, and how they related to one another was a running theme throughout the twenty-plus minutes of Gailey speaking.
To open the questioning, the head coach was flat out asked if they would consider taking a franchise quarterback with the third overall pick. The answer didn't give anything away, but it didn't rule out the Bills drafting in that direction.
"I think you have to look at all scenarios," said Gailey. "You're trying to take care of immediate needs and at the same time take care of the long-term franchise good. As you look at it you have to consider all scenarios in that situation."
Gailey also pointed out it's a different year for the signal callers in the 2011 NFL Draft.
"It's a different quarterback group," the head coach stated. "These guys have been in a lot of different types of offenses. It's not just your cut and dry pro-style type of quarterbacks that are in this draft. You're projecting a little bit more than maybe in year's past on this group."
Naturally, the buzz player in this year's draft came up. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is on Gailey's radar.
"I'm anxious to see [Newton] continue to work out," remarked Gailey. "I'm anxious to see what he's going to do here this week. Obviously, he had a great year. I watched him several times on TV. Have not studied him to this point yet, I've looked at a little bit of tape but haven't studied him. He's a big athlete that is in that wildcat mode, but obviously has the ability maybe to go to the drop-back passer mode."
The incumbent starter for next season at quarterback will be Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the head coach glowed about his 2010 starter.
"I am extremely confident in Ryan Fitzpatrick, I really am," Gailey asserted. "I think he played well enough to prove to a lot of people and me and our staff included, that he can play well and we can win a bunch of football games with a guy like that."
The second-year coach said he regretted not starting Fitzpatrick at the beginning of last season and also added one more thing:
"I've been to the playoffs a couple of times with guys who haven't performed as well as Ryan. So I think we can do it."
I also asked him about Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder is someone that Gailey worked with for a full week at the Senior Bowl in January, and also tried to recruit him to Georgia Tech when he was still the head coach there.
"He was in more of a traditional pro offense than maybe some of the other quarterbacks in the draft so I think his transition will be a little bit easier," Gailey stated. "He was hurt a lot. That's always a question, and something that you have to make sure you research extensively to feel comfortable about a guy like that. But mentally and physically talent wise, he's fine. I think he's got a chance to be very successful."
The defense came in to conversation as well. Just like at the end of the season, the head coach confirmed that they would be utilizing a hybrid type of look that shows both four and three man fronts to opposing offenses. But a big emphasis in any defense is putting pressure on the quarterback. Gailey thinks it's a good year to find someone to do just that.
"You look at any football team," said the head coach. "Every one of them put a premium on pass rushers. Everybody does. So, anytime there's a good group of those guys out there --which it looks like and I haven't studied them all to this point -- but it looks like there is a pretty good group of pass rushers out there this time."
Gailey admitted C.J. Spiller's rookie year didn't go the way they had planned, but that he's going to find ways to utilize him in the offense more prominently next year. Gailey believes Spiller has the chance to be a very good or great player in the NFL.