Same ol’ Buffalo Bills, another year, same result, which seems to be a never ending cycle. The Bills finished the 2013 season with a 6-10 record for the third year in a row, and four times out of the last five years. Since the last time the Bills made the playoffs, the Bills have amassed an 88/136 win/loss record in that 14 year time span. Since the Bills last season which they ended with a winning record , they amassed a 54/90 win loss record.
So far, this offseason has already brought in some changes. Mike Pettine was hired by the Cleveland Browns as their new Head Coach (HC), and took some of his defensive assistants with him. Replacing him as Bills DC is former Detroit Lions HC Mike Schwartz. It’s possible that the Bills defense could actually improve from its #10 ranking as Schwartz’s defenses have been known to be strong against the run (something the Bills defense has been weak against over the past 10 years), as well as 3rd down conversions (another area that the Bills were weak on). Joining Schwartz is former Bill Belichek disciple, Pepper Johnson. Johnson has been with the Patriots over the past 14 years and left the team in the offseason to break out of Belichek’s shadow.
On offense, Doug Marrone knew his young Offensive Coordinator (OC), Nate Hackett was in over his head with having three rookie QB’s to train, plus implement a new offense, so he brought in some reinforcements to help the young OC. Jim Hostler was brought in as the Bills senior offensive assistant as the Bills look to improve their disappointing offense. To add to the help Hackett needed, Bills hired former Lions QB coach Todd Downing to the same capacity. Joining the offense is another one of Marrone’s pals, Rob Moore. Moore was the WR coach with Marrone in Syracuse and will serve in the same capacity with the Bills.
At the moment, is there any reason to feel optimistic about the Bills chances in 2014. Well, the answer to that question is in the eye of the beholder, or, to us Bills fans, the eye of the beerholder. While the Bills defense improved this season, Special Teams (STs) took a nose dive as they finished the 2014 season one of the worst STs units in the league. Instead of firing ST coach Danny Crossman, Marrone is backing his buddy by saying the unit needs more playmakers, so Crossman gets a pass. A significant reason why the Bills have been very unsuccessful over the past nine years is the play of their offense and lack of playmakers. Over the years, the Bills have mainly had below average QB’s as their starters, one solid Wide Receiver (WR), followed by below-average WR’s to round out the group, a mediocre to below average Tight End (TE), good to very good Running Back’s (RBs), followed by one or two good offensive lineman, with the rest being below average. With the Bills drafting EJ Manuel last year and giving him time to develop, they need to give him as many weapons as possible to see if he can truly be the franchise QB. Regardless if its Manuel this year, or another rookie QB in years to come, the Bills need multiple, solid contributors on offense if they are ever going to have another winning season again.