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Mike Mayock: Jim Schwartz should adapt to Bills D instead of vice versa


The difference between Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz shouldn't alter how the Buffalo Bills view their 2014 defensive needs.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock addressed that topic today on a conference call to preview the NFL scouting combine, which opens this week in Indianapolis.

"It's one of those situations where, philosophically, they're similar defensive coaches," Mayock said. "They might get it done differently from an X and O perspective, but philosophically they're both attacking, tough defensive coordinators."

The Bills' defense had a eye-opening season after totally overhauling the coaching staff. Pettine oversaw a unit that broke the franchise sacks record and was second in the NFL in interceptions.

There were weaknesses, to be sure, particularly in stopping the run with acceptable consistency. But the improvement was radical compared to the years with George Edwards and Dave Wannstedt running Buffalo's defense.

Mayock postulated Schwartz will need to learn Buffalo's defense more than the players will need to learn Schwartz's system. A problem, though, is that Pettine took many of his top assistants with him.

"I think it's going to be, in this situation, more up to Jimmy to kind of learn what they've done the last couple years," Mayock said, "as opposed to just bringing in a completely different system and getting all players to adjust to it.

"I think you'll see a lot of what they had last year, with a little bit of influence from Jim Schwartz."

  • Paul Kawalerski

    I couldn't agree more. Schwartz is known for his run stopping defense. But, Buffalo took an obvious step in the right direction last year with it's attacking style. If Schwartz can adapt his run stopping package to the defensive schemes Pettine had in place that could produce a hybrid defense that would set the tone for a D that could be one of the best in the league. But, can Schwartz swallow his pride enough to use Pettine's defensive schemes? The movements that Pettine put in place allowed for chaos that drove QB nuts. Keep the chaos, but fill the holes against the run. Moving to a 4 man front may solve this problem.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.