At this time of year local sports fans begins to think Buffalo Bills football. Regardless of how the team finished the previous season most fans are optomistic the Bills will be better. This year is no different, but there are actual reasons why that will be true this season.

Number one the Bills have a new, young coach who is known for innovation and discipline in Doug Marrone. Coach Marrone brings a fresh approach that neither Chan Gailey or Dick Jauron possesed.

Doug Marrone has come up through several successful systems and had success in his own right at Syracuse. Marrone has also assembled a young promising staff and most importantly has a plan and a philosophy on what wins in the NFL.

Not that Chan Gailey didn’t have a philosophy, but Gailey was for the most part worried about the offensive side of the ball and allowed the defense to struggle far too much. Last season Gailey should have stepped in and forced Dave Wannstedt to change up the defense, but instead he deferred to his Defensive Coordinator and the unit struggled.

The addition of Nathaniel Hackett as Offensive Coordinator excites me because he’s a smart young guy who has had great training from his Dad and a number of successful NFL coaches along the way. The players I have spoken with who know Nate just love and respect the guy and great things are expected from him.

The Bills have already let it be known that they are looking to run a fast no-huddle attack. That sounds great and is exciting, but wanting to do it and being able to execute it are two different things.

The Bills of the 1990’s found that Jim Kelly and Kent Hull could successfully run a no-huddle, but that combination of quarterback and center doesn’t come around often. Will Kevin Kolb or EJ Manuel be able to read defenses like a Jim Kelly and still run a fast no-huddle? We will find out come September, but the desire to do it excites me.

Another good hire on paper was Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine from the Jets. Pettine worked with Defensive guru Rex Ryan in New York and has a very aggressive defensive philosophy. My recent interview with John Murphy backed up what I already thought and that is Pettine should make the current defensive players better.

Last season Wannstedt believed the front four was enough to generate a pass rush, obviously that didn’t work. Pettine should send defenders from multiple angles, creating a pass rush that has been lacking in Buffalo for years. I think the jury is still out out whether Mario Williams is an elite pass rusher, but Pettine’s system should give him a much better chance to succeed.

I believe the Buffalo Bills will be a better team in 2013. That doesn’t mean a trip to the playoffs, but I feel they should win more than they lose and that’s enough to keep me interested yet again.



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