Hall of Fame DE Bruce Smith has good things to say about the future of the Bills.
Among other topics discussed in a live ESPN chat on Wednesday, Smith offered his opinion on where he thinks the Bills might be headed in 2014.
"I think the state of the Bills right now is that they're heading in a positive direction," he said.
"As this team grows together. As EJ Manuel gets more experience, I think they will be able to make a strong run to the playoffs, as early as next year."
Despite a 6-10 record, Buffalo's all-time sack leader is among those to point to competitiveness in close games as a sign that things are changing around One Bills Drive.
"One of the things that I found was very similar to back in '87, we were losing a lot of games by 3 points or less. That's what happened to the Bills this year. The next year we started winning those games by 3 points. Then the next year we started blowing teams out. If they can keep growing and keep adding players to the puzzle, good things will happen."
Other notables from the chat include:
On how to stop the Broncos passing attack:
I would assemble the best pass rush unit in the NFL. The way you stop a great QB is with a great pass rush. And a perfect example of that is the Giants against the Patriots in one of their previous Super Bowls.
On distractions during a Super Bowl week:
I would have to say it was a combination. Unfamiliar territory. I would say that family and friends, regarding time spent can be a distraction. The anxiety and anxiousness of the game itself takes its toll on you. Days and days and in this particular case, weeks of preparation.
On the Hall of Fame:
There is no real feeling that can explain that emotion of being around legends that you grew up admiring and in some cases idolized. To actually now be one of them and being one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, it's just an incredible feeling. I think the statistic is that out of the 90-plus year history of the NFL, less than 1 percent are inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame. That speaks for itself.
On how he became a successful pass rusher:
It's a combination of physical and mental. But aside from that, preparation. Being a student of the game, being able to study your opponents' weaknesses, take advantage on any given play. Most people don't realize this that I was usually the first one in to study film and the last to leave. I would go in on my days off. Along with that, I stayed in shape all year round, as opposed to six months out of the year. It's a combination of those factors and the preparation.
On how hard it is to make repeat Super Bowl appearances:
The hardest part is keeping a nucleus of guys together that believes in each other. Coaches believe in the players and the players believe in the coaches and they all believe in the system. We all get along with each other. That's the thing that Ralph Wilson, Bill Polian, Marv Levy were able to keep the nucleus intact for 4-6 years.
I just want to say thanks to all of the fans of the Buffalo Bills, of Bruce Smith, of the NFL. It's a wonderful game. It's a source of entertainment. With that said, make sure this Super Bowl is the safest one ever for you.