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Thoughts on Bills' hope, enthusiasm and a new defense

By Mark Gaughan

The hope offered by a new coaching staff is a cycle that repeats itself on every NFL team whenever a new regime takes over. The new staff is bound to be an improvement over the old staff.

The Bills, not surprisingly, expressed enthusiasm over the tone set by Doug Marrone's new regime on the first day of offseason conditioning.

Said running back C.J. Spiller on new offensive chief Nathaniel Hackett: "I just love his enthusiasm. He’s very energetic, he kind of reminds me of Dabo Swinney back at Clemson, a guy that has a lot of energy and that kind of feeds onto your players. Even though it’s the professional level, you still get that sense of feeling when the offensive coordinator’s excited about what’s going on, when he’s getting excited about drawing up a play."

Said defensive end Mario Williams of Doug Marrone: "My first impression is expectation. I think he's definitely an advocate of changing the tempo, the whole demeanor of how things have been here the last however many years. Just trying to get us upbeat and focused on expecting to do better, and more accountability."

Said defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: "They bring a little more upbeat to the organization. I'm kind of excited about it and can't wait to see what they've really got for us."

Here's how the cycle has repeated in Buffalo the past dozen or so years:

Gregg Williams replaces Wade Phillips and brings more discipline because the knock on Phillips was he was too loose and let the inmates run the asylum. Mike Mularkey replaces Williams and brings a more physical offensive identity because Williams' teams lacked offensive focus. Dick Jauron replaces Mularkey and brings head-coaching experience, along with smartest-guy-in-the-room intellect. Chan Gailey replaces Jauron and brings offensive smarts to a team that was clueless on offense (despite Jauron's intellect).

Will Marrone be a true upgrade over Gailey? Time will tell. From a coaching standpoint, there is no denying Marrone and new defensive chief Mike Pettine have very small shoes to fill in replacing Dave Wannstedt. The defense of Wannstedt could not have been more simplistic or bland, another source of hope for the Bills' veterans.

Dareus spoke to that issue, referencing the fact Wannstedt rarely changed pre-snap looks. Regarding Pettine's approach, Dareus said: "I love it. I like how he’s going to come in and mix it up a little bit for us. We’re going to play multiple fronts, not just zeroing in on one thing. I think it is a great new look for the Bills. Have got a great new system that I think they are implementing. I really cannot wait to get on in it."

"Watching the Jets they like to blitz and bring different guys in and give you different looks," Dareus said. "He didn’t like to give the first look off the pre looks. He’s gonna disguise a lot more this year. We’re going to learn how to disguise a lot more this year a lot better. He just did a lot of things with the Jets I know will be a real big plus for us."







Doug Marrone | Marcell Dareus | Mario Williams
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

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.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |