This is in response to the Michael Lombardi article posted on yahoo sports. With the Bills going 7-9 three years in a row and 6-10 with Dick Jauron & Co, the Bills have nowhere to go but up.
1. One of the worst coaching staffs in Bills history is no longer in charge. Jauron didn't play to win, he played not to lose. We all remember his famous quote: "It's hard to win in the NFL". Everytime the Bills won the toss, he deferred to the 2nd quarter. How many times did we see Jauron challenge the wrong call and not challenge the call that could have been overturned? How many games every season over the last 4 years were lost due to bad coaching decisions...at least 10 (my count is 14).
2. The new 3-4 defense. Gone is the horrible, bend-don't-break Tampa 2 defense. Our DE's ranged from the 240's to the 260's last season, this year they range from 285 to 300. Plus, we have a 318 lbs NT in the middle (Troup) and Kyle Williams. Another change, no more tweener safeties as LB. Our LB's went from the 220's to 250 (Mitchell) to an average of 240-260's. What does bigger players on defense mean...more tackles. Last year, our run defense ranked #30 giving up 156.3 yards per game. The Bills let 4 teams rush for over 200 yards against them, including a 300 game vs the Jets. The run defense will be much improved to go along with the #2 ranked pass defense.
3. Injuries. Nix & Gailey hired 2 strength & conditioning coordinators, one for the linemen, the other for WR's & DB's. In the first OTA, Bills players came in and saw all 12 TV's were gone and the players were expected to come in and work. With the players being more physically prepared, there will be less injuries on the team. Plus, during Jauron's tenure, we've seen the Bills blow many 4th quarter leads. Last season, the Bills we either tied or in the lead starting the 4th quarter in 10 out of 16 games. Being better prepared physically will help the Bills finish games in the 4th quarter.
4. Hiring an offensive minded coach (Gailey) that has experience. Now a lot of fans don't like the choice, because Gailey was canned before the start of the season in KC, but realisticly, look at the talent level on KC. The previous Bills OC's (Fairchild, Schonert & Van Pelt) didn't have much experience or any experience at all as an OC. Plus, Jauron wanted a dulled down, pop-warner type offense. Gailey plans to tailor his offense to the strengths of his players. Gailey also plans to put bigger WR's on the outside, to outleap and outmuscle DB's. Jauron & co had 5'10" Evans & 5'9" Parrish constantly lined up on the outside, which is part of the reason why both were WR's were ineffective. Both Parrish & Evans would work better in the slot or the inside.
5. C.J. Spiller. Spiller can be used in so many ways: Kick Return, Punt Return, RB, WR. If the O-line struggles again, Spiller can be a good relief valve to whoever the QB is by throwing a screen or dump off pass.
The O-line is still a big question. But, having new strength & conditioning coordinators should help keep these guys healthy and hopefully they can build on some consistentcy & chemistry together. Plus, after having Jauron & co, one of the worst coaching staffs on Bills history running this team, anyone in this league would have been an underachiever on this offense. QB & WR's are another question. With the QB position (refer back to the last statement about Jauron), also look at superbowl winning QB Drew Brees. In Brees' career at SD, Brees had 31 games where he threw for under 200 yards, including 6 games where he threw for under 100 yards. Some guys are just late bloomers, maybe Edwards and/or Brohm are late bloomers as well. We'll all find out this season. Realisticly, the 2010 Bills will not win the Superbowl and their offense won't crack the top 20, but the 2010 Bills are headed in the right direction one step at a time.