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Making A Case For And Against A Bills Playoff Run
There has been extreme optimism and positive energy among Buffalo Bills fans ever since the franchise revamped the front office and coaching staff. An influx of multiple new players brings a bright outlook going into the 2013 season for many.
But do the Bills have a legitimate chance at making a playoff run? Here at BuddyNixon, I decided to make cases both for and against the team playing in the winter.
Former head coach Chan Gailey and his defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt operated predictable, vanilla schemes that failed to maximize the full potential of the talent on both sides of the ball. With new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine running the show, things should be different on defense.
Pettine’s defenses have operated under multiple defensive fronts throughout his career and he hopes to bring an aggressive and attacking scheme to Buffalo.
On the offensive side of the ball, the team is led by first-time head coach Doug Marrone, the former Syracuse head coach that turned a poor Orange program into a team that played in the Pinstripe Bowl. Marrone brought along his offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett to the Bills, where he hopes to run a “multiple” and innovative offensive scheme based off of west coast principles.
The Bills have competition across the board for the first time in years, as nearly every starting position is up for grabs. With first round draft pick E.J. Manuel battling with veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb, the Bills should have an upgrade over the sub-par quarterback play that has left a poor taste in fans’ mouths over the years.
Additionally, the team got faster. The roster already had speedsters in running back C.J. Spiller and wide receiver T.J. Graham, but they added onto that by selecting wideout Marquise Goodwin and tight end Chris Gragg; both of whom were the fastest at their respective positions at the 2013 NFL combine.
Not only did the team get faster on offense, but they added athletic playmakers on defense as well, in inside linebacker Kiko Alonso, who has been having a stellar offseason program from all accounts, outside linebacker Manny Lawson, and safety Duke Williams. All are rangy enough to chase down opposing ball carriers, but also display the physical attitude and style of play that Mike Pettine hopes to instill in the team.
If everything clicks, the Bills have one of the most talented and young rosters in the league that should be a contender within a few seasons.
But what if things don’t click?
While everyone has the right to be excited about the Buffalo Bills this year, there is a lot to worry about as well. A first-year head coach, two first-time coordinators, hell, even a first-time general manger will be running the show.
In addition, the Bills lost a lot of leadership in the locker room when they released George Wilson, Nick Barnett and Terrence McGee, coupled with the retirement of Chris Kelsay. Without these veteran leaders, some of the younger “vets” need to step up and take a stand to keep some of the players with past issues (Da’Rick Rogers, Kiko Alonso, Duke Williams) in check.
Furthermore, while we as football fans have been spoiled over the past few seasons with first round quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, etc., E.J. Manuel is considered a raw prospect. It should be expected that he will go through his growing pains during his rookie season.
While the Buffalo Bills certainly have a new face and energy, the 2013 season will certainly be unpredictable and exciting to watch. For once, the team appears to be headed in the right direction; but the real question is whether things will come together this year, or in the future.