I can't take anymore of the unanimous, unbridled optimism for Mike Pettine and his defense. I think we need a little reality check. I say “we” because I've taken the bait in year's past, and I can feel myself getting sucked in this year. But the logical part of me is completely pessimistic about this defense.
First of all, I can't believe the Bills are getting off so easily with the Pettine hire. We are switching defensive systems AGAIN? Why is the continual, disgusting churn of defensive systems by the Bills front office not constantly criticized? The Bills change systems and lose good free agents (Poz) and then spend draft picks and sign free agents to fit the new system. Despite the overhaul they continually have to fit square pegs into round holes, and the players have to learn an entirely new system. The defense still sucks, and Bills fans are so happy that we no longer have the defensive coordinator (read: scapegoat) and tolerate a complete change in direction. Yes, I'm starved for something other than the awful, bland Wannstedt defense too, but changing systems three times in four years is absolutely absurd. Every year we hear why the new system will be better because its a better fit for Buffalo, and last year's acquisitions will still fit “because its really not that different” or “we'll fit the system to the the players”. Once again, that will turn out to be BS.
With that being said, I do like what I hear from Mike Pettine (can't believe i'm drinking the kool-aid AGAIN), but let's stop pretending he is the second coming of Chuck Knoll. Do you really think he was the sole reason for the Jets' success? I dare suggest Rex Ryan had more to do with it. Also, while they were an impressive 2nd against the pass, they were an uninspiring 26th against the run. So, no he won't be fixing the Bills 31st rated rush defense. Epecially with our awful linebackers. Seriously, Kiko Alonso is talked about like he's already Brian Urlacher. The guy was a second round pick and hasn't played a down: he's not a strength of the defense, he's a huge question mark for it. All together, I have no doubt I'll be cursing at my television as I watch the Patriots and their running back du jour walk his way to 200 yards.
The Bills PR team must have the easiest job in the country. Any optimism a coach, GM, or Chris Brown express in a guy is taken an run with. Every offseason we talk about every player with unreasonable optimism. They are all going to turn the corner. Marcus Dowtin is all of a sudden treated like he's an actual defensive power. The guy was an UNDRAFTED free agent last year, that was CUT BY TWO TEAMS last year. Why do we think he's going to magically turn into a quality starter now that he's in Pettine's defense – oh, which he already played in and was a third-stringer! And now he's being referred to as a three down linebacker. The guy weighs 226 lbs – I sincerely hope he doesn't touch the field on first down.
Dowtin is just one example. This happens again over and over. Remember how Aaron Williams' strong finish to the 2011 season had the Bills (and Rumblers) pushing the idea that we would have he best young 1-2 corner tandem in the league? Pffft. Remember hearing last offseason that McKelvin was going to resurrect his career and thrive as a slot corner? Pfft. He sucked. And yet we are already hearing how those two players are going to turn it around this year. Our secondary is terrible - Justin Rogers is taking reps as the primary backup? I'll let this video address that absurdity: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000082949/Washington-15-yd-TD. Add in the Jairus Byrd situation, and this passing defense might be as bad as the rushing defense. And I don't want to hear anything about Duke Williams – the guy is a fourth round draft pick and a rookie, he's not going to be an asset this year.
I didn't even touch on our drastically overrated defensive line but I've had enough. Rant over.