The Buffalo Bills had a top-10 defense last season, but still struggled to stop the run.
This season, new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz expects the Bills to have a different identity.
“This team will have a completely different identity and it will be developed through the blood, sweat and tears of the men that are in that locker room,” Schwartz told Buffalobills.com. “It’s going to be a different one this year. Whether you have a coaching change or not every year is a little bit different. We’re going to have to be good in all those third down situations. It’s extremely important, red zone, third down, turnovers, things that stop drives. To get off the field defensively we put a lot of emphasis in those areas and if we can succeed in those areas it’ll go a long way into helping our team win.”
Last season, the Bills got to the quarterback often, but were gashed by the run too many times. They have acquired linebacker Brandon Spikes, and adopted Schwartz's philosophy in order to address that issue. If the Bills can maintain their pass rush, while tightening up their run defense, this season could be the turning point in what has been a miserable decade and a half.
If Schwartz is going to accomplish his new identity, he will need to do it without standout linebacker Kiko Alonso, who tore his ACL and will miss the entire season. Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown are likely replacements for Alonso, and both have received praise thus far during offseason workouts.
Training camp is set to begin in just five days, where Schwartz will get his chance to completely install his new identity with Buffalo's defense. Fans can only hope that identity will lead to a playoff berth.
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