Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
In order to be in the driver's seat during the 2013 season, the Buffalo Bills will need key players and coaches to step into some new roles.
The Buffalo Bills haven't made the playoffs since Bill Clinton was president. With Barack Obama now into the fourth presidential term since the Bills tasted the post-season, there have been (and continue to be) major holes to fill on the roster and the staff.
General manager Buddy Nix hopes he has the right coaching staff in place now after hiring Doug Marrone last month. But head coach isn't the only spot that someone needs to claim if the Bills are to have any success in 2013. Other important positions need to be taken care of both on the field and off.
Enforcer: Mario Williams
The Bills' 100-million-dollar man needs to impose his will on opponents' offensive linemen. He was hampered by a wrist in jury for the early part of 2012 and Bills fans never really got off his back after that despite a stretch of games in the middle of the season with nine sacks in eight games.
Brain: Doug Marrone
The new head coach of the Buffalo Bills sees himself as an overseer. That's a change of pace from his predecessor, who also called the offensive plays and largely let his defensive staff work with their players. Marrone will have to supervise the installation of new systems on both sides of the ball and a likely roster overhaul.
Technician: C.J. Spiller
Spiller will hopefully be the driving engine behind the offense. How he has learned to see the field and set up blocks over the course of his career fits this role like a glove. If he can cut through defenses with surgical precision, the offense will have a chance to score on any play.
Loose cannon: Stevie Johnson
As if it could be anyone other than Stevie. In good times and bad, Stevie wears his heart on his sleeve. He's already got a good start on this role this offseason.
Motivator: Mike Pettine
The new defensive coordinator, Pettine will have to upgrade the 31st-ranked rushing defense in the NFL in 2012. It won't be an easy task but watching loud-mouthed motivator Rex Ryan for his entire NFL coaching career should give him a start. He'll need to light a fire under some young guys to make it happen.
Prankster: Nathaniel Hackett
On the other side of the ball, new playcaller Hackett will have to keep opponents guessing. With the installation of a K-gun style offense at Syracuse a year ago, they sped up the tempo in the Big East. Can Hackett and company translate that up-tempo attack to Orchard Park and beyond?
Muscle: Marcell Dareus
After two season in the NFL, Dareus has flashed greatness but hasn't been able to reside there. With multiple looks installed in Pettine's system, it's time for the former third overall pick to live up to his billing and throw offensive linemen around on a consistent basis and take on double teams.
Frankly, this is a good start but the only role I care about in the end is "Winner".