Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Marrone: Some change ahead, but change is good


Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone spent much of last year simply just trying to get a pulse on his new team.

So naturally, he's a little bit ahead this time around. But given the fact that he's added/swapped out half a dozen new assistants to his staff, there's still an adaptation process happening.

"For us [there will] be some change, but change is not a bad thing," Marrone said recently, via "The one thing we’re looking to do in all three phases is we’re always striving to make things simpler so the players can just go out there and play.

"I think a lot of the time as coaches we make this game very complicated. I think that systematically we’re going to look and see and maybe do more for those players that have shown us game breaking ability or showcased more talent."

Last season, offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett had little help managing an ever-injured quarterback corps en route to a 28th-ranked passing offense. This season, however, he'll be able to focus more of his attention on the rest of the unit, with Todd Downing joining the Bills as the quarterbacks coach.

Meanwhile, former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz took over for the departed defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Under Pettine, the Bills ranked second in the NFL with 57 sacks and fourth in pass defense last season. The run defense, however, struggled, giving up the fifth-most rushing yards per game in the league.

Schwartz, who has a history of coaching solid run defenses, can provide improvement in that department.

"There were going to be some changes that we were going to do to put us in better position to stop the run," Marrone said. "We’ll continue with that plan with Jim and do a better job of that. That’s one of the things that we didn’t do a very good job of and our job is to try to better ourselves in the things that we didn’t do well."

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