Williams upgrades staff

The Bills did not re-sign linebackers coach Miles Aldridge and offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek. With Buffalo ready to compete with the league's elite next season, naturally it can attract more seasoned positional coaches who can be confident in the team's direction.

Aldridge and Vinklarek had among the least NFL experience of all Bills coaches. Both just completed their second seasons in the league. Aldridge, however, has been a football coach since 1973, serving in a variety of capacities for several big Div. 1 programs including Clemson, Arkansas and Mississippi. He was a defensive coordinator for Clemson from 1994-'95 and Arkansas from 1996-'97.

In terms of pure coaching experience, Aldridge was the most experienced on Williams' staff next to retiring defensive line coach John Levra.

Vinklarek was far less experienced. He was Oklahoma State's offensive line coach in 1998-'99 before going to the Titans as Gregg Williams' defensive assistant. Prior to that he was at the University of Houston as a graduate assistant/offensive line coach from 1988-'93 – Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware was there part of the time – and he was an offensive line coach for the CFL's Birmingham Barracudas in 1995.

I remember watching Aldridge in his first season with Buffalo and it seemed that the existing players had a lot of questions of what he taught. And one time when I asked Ruben Brown about Ronnie Vinklarek as compared to ex-Bills line coach Carl Mauck, he offered a "no-comment."

Neither coach seemed to instill the fire, love and respect a player might have for a coach the way Bill Parcells seems to do in his players.

Gregg Williams, however, does seem to do that pretty well.

Aldridge and Vinklarek's dismissals mean that offensive assistant/special teams assistant Tommy Kaiser, running backs coach Steve Fairchild and wide receivers coach Fred Graves are left with the least amount of NFL experience – coaching or playing.

The fact that Williams initially introduced a coaching staff with so much NFL inexperience likely indicates how difficult it was for him to attract seasoned assistants to his staff. Experienced coaches wanted to wait and see whether a program would be turned around under an inexperienced head coach before they signed on. Now with the Bills seemingly headed in the right direction, Buffalo should not have much problem attracting more seasoned assistants.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was the first experienced guy to sign on last year. He was available the previous year, but did not come aboard.


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories