(WSCR) Dave Wannstedt had a tumultuous tenure as head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1993-98. He only led the team to one playoff appearance and finished his time in Chicago with back-to-back 4-12 seasons before being fired.
Now, 13 years later, Wannstedt will return to a much different looking Soldier Field to face his former team as member of the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff.
After being fired as head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Wannstedt joined Chan Gailey as his assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach this off-season.
“I think I can make a difference,” Wannstedt said on the McNeil and Spiegel Show, adding that he had four NFL opportunities to choose from. “It was a good fit. We went up there and it was very comfortable. It’s a lot like Pittsburgh. It’s a lot like Chicago. It’s a blue collar (town). They love their sports in Buffalo.”
LISTEN: Dave Wannstedt on The McNeil and Spiegel Show
Wannstedt’s position is unique because the title of “assistant head coach” is rare in the NFL.
“Hopefully I can be that person where [Gailey] can bounce some things off and get some honest opinions and in the end, improve our football team,” Wannstedt said.
The Bills are a young football team, which has Wannstedt excited. He expects first round draft pick Marcel Darius from Alabama to start right away and he looks forward to coaching the younger guys he is used to from coaching at Pitt.
“We are a very young football team and that’s exciting because you got a chance to make some improvement and the kids are willing to work,” Wannstedt said. “They are willing to do the little things to try to improve their skills, which obviously at the end of the day is going to make you a better team.”
As for the glorified scrimmage against the Bears Saturday, Wannstedt said they won’t even bother watching tape on their opponent, which is common for the first preseason game of the season.
“We’re really more focused on what we have to do,” he said. “And obviously, not having the OTAs, and I’m sure Lovie and those guys are going through the same thing there, we’re trying to evaluate our players and at the same time install our offense and defense. Our focus is on us, but it will be good. By the time we get to kick this thing off here come Saturday, it will be nice to see a different color jersey and I’m sure our players will be excited about the little change in routine.”