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Buffalo Bills' Jim Schwartz working to retain parts of Mike Pettine's defense

Jim Schwartz will be coaching a different defensive scheme for the Bills in 2014, but according to one of his top assistants, he's working to preserve as much terminology and communication mechanisms from the previous system as possible.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills fans are still seeking out insight on the type of defense that the team will be playing under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in 2014. The team's new linebackers coach, Fred Pagac, who met with reporters for the first time in his new role on Tuesday, shed some more light on what Schwartz and his defensive staff are trying to preserve from outgoing coordinator Mike Pettine's system.

"Obviously, terminology is going to be a big factor. We’re meeting right now, going over last year’s terminology as opposed to what we’re going to be doing this year," Pagac explained. "Jimmy and I have some common ground there, so terminology probably is not going to be as bad for me as maybe the guys that were here. I know we’re trying to tie them together."

While the team investigates ways to blend Pettine's defensive communications with those of Schwartz, Pagac - who called Schwartz "a 4-3 guy" - didn't dodge around the notion that there will be schematic differences between the 2013 Bills defense and what we'll see from them next year.

"I think Coach Schwartz will do a great job of setting up the defense. I can see the communications, as we’re going through right now, being similar to what they were last year, so there should not be a whole lot of new teaching," Pagac said Tuesday. "Schemes are a little different than what they played a year ago, but really it’s not a bad situation to be in (for the players)."

Bills observers had assumed all along that Schwartz would be transitioning to a 4-3 base defense, whereas Pettine's defense frequently incorporated odd fronts, but we now have a clearer idea of how Schwartz is going about making the transition as smooth as possible for his players.

Pagac, who spent 23 years as an assistant with Ohio State (a large chunk of which came as the school's defensive coordinator) and has coached in the NFL since 2001, was named the Bills' new linebackers coach on January 31. He coached the team's new defensive line coach, Pepper Johnson, when the latter was a college athlete at Ohio State in the early 1980s.