The Bills change to a 3-4 defensive system is going to require a lot of new learning for a lot of Buffalo's defenders on the roster through the 2010 offseason. But after a handful of seasons in which stopping the run and getting to the quarterback consistently has been an issue the Bills defense is more than willing to try something new.
"I'm excited about it," said Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell. "I know it can create a lot of problems for offenses. I think I can fit well in the system."
Where Mitchell fits will be an interesting question. He played mainly on the weak side in Buffalo's previous 4-3 system, though he filled in at middle linebacker last year before getting injured and has previous experience inside.
In a 3-4 Mitchell could conceivably play on the strong side at outside backer or as one of the inside linebackers.
"I've played in a scheme where we included the 3-4, but not exclusively," said Mitchell. "I like the way you can use a lot of different blitz looks out of it. We have a lot of ground to make up after losing so many people last season, so we'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out. It's going to be new for me."
Paul Posluszny won't be as foreign to the 3-4 as Mitchell having played in a similar scheme during his college days at Penn State.
During his time with the Nittany Lions, Posluszny always played an inside linebacker position in the 3-4 and figures to do the same with the Bills under defensive coordinator George Edwards. The Bills leading tackler is eager to get his nose in the new playbook.
"I want to see more on paper and see what the actual job responsibilities are, but if you look at the trend that's gone on in the league, if you get the right guys in and play it right it seems like we should be able to stop the run and make more plays and get guys on the quarterback," he said. "It should be a good change for us."
Now with free agent signees Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards on board, Buffalo has a couple of more players that are well versed in the scheme that will compete for starting roles and improve the unit's overall depth.
Knowing more defensive talent is likely to be added through the draft, Mitchell and Posluszny believe their side of the ball will be that much better in 2010.
"I spoke to George (Edwards) the day after they hired him," said Mitchell. "He helped recruit me to Georgia so we have somewhat of a relationship already. I've spoken to him after games against Dallas and Miami in the past, but everything is positive."