As many of you are aware, i'm a gigantic Buddy Nix fan (see my sig.). I know there are plenty of people that don't have the same affinity for him as I do and can certainly back up their claims with some missed draft picks, players and even Chan. However, as I sit here and reflect on my life as a Bills fan I simply just smile when I think of what Buddy Nix has done for the Bills. It hasn't shown up yet but I believe that the Buddy Nix era will be looked upon as the foundation that turned this franchise around. And that makes me a happy camper.
So it's August of 2013 and the Buffalo Bills have a whole new coaching staff and QB prospects. Seems rather normal to the untrained eye. "Buffalo rebuilding again?.... Sounds about right, nothing to see here." What I think I see is about to smack the NFL in the face and certainly make a few teams in the NFL not want to play us.
I think that smack to the face of the NFL is going to come from our defense. Why? Well Mike Pettine and Buddy Nix, of course.
I think Pettine is just the type of defensive coordinator that will showcase what Buddy was trying to build on defense. You can argue 34, 43, 46 etc... but Buddy, as many can attest to, was a prototype drafter. Even to a fault. The players Buddy drafted were typically very big, very strong and/or very fast. Unfortunately we've had some pretty awful coaches that haven't been able to maximize those prototypes.
With Doug Marrone and Mike Pettine I think the defensive talent will finally shine through and really punish teams this year. Marrone has shown that he wants his teams to be physical, strong, no nonsense and productive. He will not settle, he will not take just effort.... he wants results (:-) ). He's a tough old school coach that loves when the pads are popping and his guys are beating the hell out of each other and the other team. A football coach, in other words.
Mike Pettine is a coach that preaches the same physicalness and toughness that Marrone preaches. He has also shown that he can get a lot out of a teams defense. He is smart, really smart. This is the type of guy that's going to take Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, Stephon Gilmore, Jarius Byrd, Aaron Williams, Kiko Alonso and Alex Carrington and get a lot out of them. A real lot.
Some of you might question why I only named those players. Well the reason is I believe that those players are the core of our defense. I think when we reflect back on 2013 we are going to look at that list and say those guys were productive, smart, physical and made a ton of plays for this team. Let me tell you, that group of players right there are damn good football players (yes, even Aaron Williams....at Safety!). Marrone and Pettine are the perfect coaches to get the most of out those guys. What I see are 8 players that are about to be freaking awesome on defense, especially with Pettine's schemes. Even if Pettine didn't have the talent I would bet he'd get into a QB's and offenses heads and get them frustrated. With that group of players I think we're going to see offenses suffer and suffocate under the relentless pressure that this defense will put on them.
I know posts like this are written every year on probably every blog on the Internet, but i'm not blowing smoke here. To a man, I think we all recognize the talent on defense even if we don't want to admit it or if we want to over analyze it. The combination of the talent assembled by Buddy and the Marrone/Pettine duo will scare the hell out of teams this year. I think the Bills are going to be one of the few teams in the NFL that offense really don't want to play because they're going to be physical, confusing, results driven, fast and simply tough to play against. This should be a fun defense to watch, I for one couldn't be more excited to see the fruits of Buddy's labor showcase itself during the 2013 season.
I'm not ready to say the Bills will be one of the surprise teams in 2013. I certainly think the defense will be a surprise unit in the NFL in 2013 and that might be just enough to have this team in the playoff race at the end of the year. A lot will happen and nobody knows how it'll fall but I wouldn't be surprised if we're sitting here in December thinking this team has a chance to make some noise and get to the playoffs.
And I think that will all start with the defense.