New Bills defense geared to create confusion

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-05-23 16:15

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Emphasizing surprise and versatility, Buffalo Bills first-year defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is unveiling a new scheme designed to keep opponents guessing.

If that leads to some confusion among the Bills in identifying what position they're playing, Pettine's fine with that, too.

```I don't know,''' he said, smiling, ``is a good answer.''

Pettine was referring to comments made by several veterans in sharing their first impressions of a defense geared toward creating mismatches by having players learn multiple roles. It's a distinct departure from the comparatively simple scheme they played last year under former coordinator Dave Wannstedt.

``Extremely different,'' defensive end Mario Williams said. ``There's times, you know, I couldn't tell you what position I play exactly, because I really don't know.''

Added veteran jack-of-all-trades linebacker Bryan Scott: ``It's like I'm a rookie all over again. I had to go to Office Depot and get more flash cards.''

Three weeks into spring minicamps, the questions become how quickly the Bills can adapt to yet another new system - their third in three years - and improve a unit that's been among the NFL's worst in yards and points allowed since 2010?

``It's all new, and I think they've done a good job of buying in,'' Pettine said. ``We haven't given up a first down, a yard or a point. But I think we're off to a good start.''

Entering his 12th NFL season, Pettine is part of the new staff assembled by rookie coach Doug Marrone, who was hired in January to replace Chan Gailey. Pettine came to Buffalo after holding the same job for the previous four seasons with the New York Jets.

In making the move upstate, Pettine gets an opportunity to come out of the shadow of longtime mentor, Jets coach Rex Ryan, who helped design the defense.

What's not changed is Pettine's attacking philosophy. He's brought to Buffalo a system featuring many of the same principles as the one that led to the Jets ranking in the NFL's top 10 in fewest yards allowed in each of the past four years.

Pettine's defense is not an easy one to label.

It's a hybrid, based upon a 3-4 (three-linemen, four-linebacker) philosophy, but can easily switch to a 4-3 or 5-2 look depending on the situation.

``I think the cornerstone of this system is flexibility,'' Pettine said. ``A big part of the NFL is identifying pre-snap in a game. We want to limit the amount of pre-snap information we're putting out to an offense. And that's why we look for guys that have that type of versatility.''

That objective is a reason why the Bills acquired linebacker Jerry Hughes in a trade three weeks ago that sent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to Indianapolis. Hughes has experience playing several positions, while Sheppard was limited to playing the middle linebacker spot.

``Multiple guys doing multiple things,'' defensive end Mark Anderson said. ``That's what's going to create that element of surprise. Offenses aren't going to know where the blitz is coming from. It's going to be just confusion out there.''

Pettine is also counting on that confusion to help hide some of his unit's deficiencies.

The Bills are very young at linebacker, and preparing to give rookie second-round draft pick, Kiko Alonso, an opportunity to start. They also have questions in the defensive backfield, especially with star safety Jairus Byrd's status uncertain while he attempts to negotiate a new contract.

``We're going to be aggressive, relentless,'' Pettine said. ``I think you can eliminate some of the youthful mistakes by putting pressure on people.''

Center Eric Wood has faced enough of Jets' defenses over the past four seasons to know how disruptive they can be.

``It creates a ton of issues,'' Wood said.

He noted how Pettine's defense is already making it difficult on the offense to adapt to a new system of its own under Marrone and new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

``It's good that we're going through this now, because it'll make everything else seem a lot easier later,'' Wood said. ``But in the immediate time, it's not always fun.''


NOTES: TE Scott Chandler is ahead of schedule recovering from surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament. Chandler has been running on his own for the past three weeks. After practice Thursday, he caught passes from rookie QB Jeff Tuel. ... NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith visited the Bills facility to watch practice and meet with players. ... The Bills are off until Tuesday, when they open a four-day voluntary minicamp.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

Julius ThomasOct 5 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) is scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, Oct. 5, and may be cleared for full practice after the meeting. His status for [ More ]

Caleb SturgisOct 5 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis will remain the team's kicker for the time being, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Will MontgomeryOct 5 01:22p

Chicago Bears C Will Montgomery (leg) will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after he suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 4 game. He will need [ More ]

Josh JohnsonOct 5 01:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 5.

Colin KaepernickOct 5 01:02p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-25 for just 160 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Kyle BrindzaOct 5 12:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Kyle Brindza was released Monday, Oct. 5, after missing seven kicks in the last two weeks.

Joe PhilbinOct 5 11:52a

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday, Oct. 5, according to Sun-Sentinel.

Willie SneadOct 5 11:02a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead played 48 snaps (66% of the offense) Sunday, Oct. 4, in Week 4, while WR Brandon Coleman played just 19 for 26% of the offense.

Andrew LuckOct 5 10:12a

Updating an earlier report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected by the team to be under center Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. His shoulder injury [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 09:52a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (foot) had an unexpected foot surgery and is likely headed to Injured Reserve, according to sources.

Jordan ReedOct 5 09:42a

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday, Oct. 4.

Andrew LuckOct 5 08:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has a short week to prepare for Week 5, but he's trending toward being ready Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. 'He [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 5 08:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray said he's not getting enough touches in the offense Sunday, Oct. 4. 'No, I'm not,' Murray said. 'I don't think I am. It's how [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller carried just twice for 10 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had an 80-yard touchdown catch and [ More ]

Willie SneadOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead posted six receptions for 89 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Mark IngramOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram carried 17 times for 77 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also added six receptions for 51 yards [ More ]

Drew BreesOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (shoulder) completed 33 of his 41 pass attempts for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 80-yard touchdown pass to RB C.J. [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 5 01:12a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 overtime loss against the New [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group