After a season of struggles defending against the run, the 2014 Bills should see a marked improvement. From a new scheme to new additions and position changes, here are a few reasons why the Bills will improve on their rank of 28th against the run in 2013.
There are many similarities in the defense that Schwartz intends to run and that of Mike Pettine from last season. It is called a 4-3 defense instead of a 3-4, but it will still be operating primarily as a one-gap defense with a focus on getting to the quarterback with the front four. What Schwartz’s new defense does, according to
“It gives you an opportunity to just play football, you know?” Spikes said. “Just be relentless, go all-out, get to the ball and make plays. You’ve got a responsibility and that is primary but at the same time you get to just go all out and play. That’s what I love about it.”
Clearly, Bills general manager Doug Whaley was committed to finding players to improve the defense this offseason. Brandon Spikes has earned a reputation as one of the best run stoppers in the league during his time with New England, while
The presumed loss of
Jim Schwartz has already shown an affinity for Preston Brown, lining him up in the first-team nickel packages during OTAs and minicamp. He was the leader of Louiseville’s dominant defense in 2013, racking up 98 tackles, 12.5 for loss, at middle linebacker. We should see his role grow over the course of the season as he gets up to speed with the scheme and adjusts to the NFL game.
“Just being around the ball as much as possible,” Brown said about his playing style. “That’s one thing I try to do, I try to be around the ball and slide to the ball. Pursuit, I’m always going to be the guy trying to rip the ball out and be around the ball. Any aspect of being around the ball I feel I’m going to be there.”
“I’m not going to drop as much,” said Lawson of his role in 2014. “I will have my hand in the dirt more, but other than that the SAM linebacker and defensive end are relatively the same position. I don’t have to cover anybody man to man now, so it’s see ball, go get ball.”
Lawson should bring the run-stopping mentality he had at linebacker to the defensive line, setting the edge and stopping explosive runs before they start.
Meanwhile, the safety pairing of
“The thing that probably impressed me the most was his physical play. He’s a tough guy and really made a physical impact on the field last year,” Schwartz said of Williams. “I thought last year was the year you really started to see what Aaron can do. He can make an impact on the game - interception, big hit, he can blitz, he can do all those things.”