Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bills' defensive players tout Pettine's new playbook


Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine promised change when he took over for the maligned Dave Wannstedt in January.

The Bills' defensive squad is now noticing those changes, and they like what they see. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

Defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker Nigel Bradham are the latest Bills to tout Pettine's work. The players, both coming into their second year with the team, had similar observations about the differences between Wannstedt's scheme and Pettine's, mainly the latter's up-tempo style.

For Williams, who saw his numbers jump back up in 2012 toward the end of the season, said that faster pace along with playing multiple positions is bound to create some interesting match-ups.

"There are times where I could not even tell you what position I play because I really do not know," he said Thursday. "It is all over the place. It is definitely something that is going to put different match-ups out there on the field and put us in different positions. Have guys free and be aggressive.

"I am ready for it. It is just going to be very exciting and us as players are very excited. Every day when we come in it is an upbeat tempo. You have to be. The atmosphere is completely changed here."

Bradham, who saw a decent amount of playing time in the SAM role of the Bills' 4-3 scheme as a rookie, will be moving back into his comfort zone on the weak side of Pettine's 3-4. The former Florida State standout is looking forward to getting back to the position he knows best, but is also excited about Pettine's plans to be more aggressive.

"Pretty much everything as far as the scheme is something different and something I've never really been a part of as far as the blitzing, and I've been in mostly all coverage schemes, but this one has a lot more blitzing in it so it'll be a lot more fun," he told the team's website.

"I feel like the scheme is really good for me, as far as where I can use my speed, my ability to cover, and pretty much be able to get some big plays and big hits on some guys this season."

Buffalo's defensive front seven can certainly use the boost, as it finished 18th overall in sacks last season and next to last in run defense under Wannstedt.

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