We are finally minutes away from seeing the 2013 Buffalo Bills take the field for their first day of training camp. As we all know about camp battles that happen every year and what they bring but another thing to watch is this team’s defense. We all know what happened last year and nobody wants to see that again.
This offseason has had its fair share of story lines/news with the defense and it looks like it will continue. On the bright side this team was able to get a new defensive coordinator and a very good one at that. Mike Pettine came over from the Jets and has shown what he can do. He has always had a pretty good competitive group of guys and let’s hope that is true in Buffalo. Also here are some other good things to happen to this defense: the hopeful emergence of their 2nd round selection LB Kiko Alonso, Stephon Gilmore looking to be a force this season and overall the moral seems to be high as we begin camp.
On the other side there has been news that this team wish hadn’t been on their minds and out for everyone to see. The Jairus Byrd saga definitely tops the list. I hope this team sends a message to him if he were to finally report. No player is bigger than the team. Another thing that has lingered on this offseason was with Mario Williams. Mostly with his personal life and things away from football but also questions as to if he can become that dominate player and live up to his enormous contract he signed. I hope all that personal stuff can be dealt with and left behind as we progress to week 1. Lastly which wasn’t very big news but may have been a surprise to some was the release of Mark Anderson. He only managed to be on team one year but was shorted by injury. He signed a 4 year deal in March of last year.
One thing I wanted to do before we get into training camp and week 1 was to take a look at is the defense as a whole and how they were looked at coming out of college. I found out some pretty interesting things in regards to how many highly drafted players are on this team. That leads me to believe coaching was a very big question last year as to why this team just basically gave up in games. I have heard complaints from both sides stating that the coaching was terrible and also the players we have are just not very good. So looking at when these players were drafted you can see a lot of them had very high expectations. Currently on the roster and who I think will make the team I have 11 players that were drafted in either the first or second round. That tells me the team that drafted them wanted to produce at a high level. I’m not saying the lower rounds are any different just when you take a guy in that position you are looking for results right away. My findings look like this: 1st rounder’s Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, Manny Lawson, Jerry Hughes, Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. The 2nd rounder’s are: Torrell Troup, Alan Branch, Bryan Scott, Kiko Alonso and Aaron Williams. Those players along with Kyle Williams taken in the fifth round, Alex Carrington in the 3rd and lastly Jairus Byrd (taken 2nd round but who knows what’s going on with him) should make up a competitive defense if you ask me. If they catch on to the new system or not remains to be seen but all were guys highly recruited at one point.
So as I hear people talk daily on how they think the Bills will do at least we know our defense should be better than last season. We have acquired some new players and also the players we have gained another year of experience. Time will tell but as it looks for now with Pettine leading them it’s only going to get better.