BBD Editor: Dan Hope
Outside of a few key players, the only constant for the Buffalo Bills defense since 2011 has been its inconstancy. As the Bills go into the 2014 season with their fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons, that will continue to be the case.
Unlike the previous two seasons, however, this year’s change came not because the Bills defense needed it, but because it was really good. Mike Pettine was hired as Cleveland Browns head coach after just one seasons as Bills defensive coordinator, in which the Buffalo defense ranked second in the NFL in sacks, tied for sixth in the league in takeaways, 10th in total defense and as the league’s fourth-most efficient defense by Football Outsiders.
In total, the Bills lost five members of last year’s defensive coaching staff to the Browns, but they did a great job restacking the deck. In new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson and linebackers coach Fred Pagac, the Bills added three highly-respected defensive minds with a combined 48 years of NFL coaching experience.
With the coaching shuffle finally complete in Buffalo (at least it seems to be), the new Bills coaching staff should already be at work constructing Buffalo’s defensive scheme for 2014.
What will that defense ultimately look like?