The Buffalo Bills have done everything they feel they could have to transform themselves in to contenders for more than a decade now, but it has never been enough. The Bills own the NFL’s longest playoff drought at 13-straight seasons, and while they still may not be ready to challenge for a Super Bowl, there is reason to believe they are headed in the right direction. There are a couple of notable moves that could lead to Buffalo challenging for a playoff spot in the near future, and none is more important than the hiring of head coach Doug Marrone.
2013 Super Bowl Odds: Buffalo Bills + 10,000
Notable Change #1: Bills Decide Marrone Is Right Man For The Job
The Bills are high on the former Syracuse head coach Marrone, and managed to convince him that Buffalo is the right place for him to continue his coaching career at the NFL level. Marrone has NFL experience having served as the offensive line coach for the New York Jets for four years as well as the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints from 2006-09. His toughest challenge will be helping first-round pick EJ Manuel develop in to a franchise quarterback on the offensive side of the ball, while entrusting former Jet Mike Pettine as the defensive coordinator. Marrone brought with him Nathaniel Hackett from Syracuse to be the offensive coordinator, and the Bills will rely on one of the league’s best running back tandems in CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson to carry the load early.
Notable Change #2: Rookies Should Inject Life In To Offense
Spiller and Jackson will be relied on to spark the offense, but don’t count out the impact that both Manuel and wide receiver Robert Woods will have. Manuel has incredible athleticism and a live arm, which was enough for Buffalo to make him the first quarterback off the board in this year’s draft. That should be reason enough to think Manuel could start from week one, particularly with Woods teaming with Stevie Johnson to help the Bills’ vertical attack. Woods is a big play receiver that should slide in right next to Johnson and help stretch the field, and if he and Manuel click early it could take the Buffalo offense to the next level.
Notable Change #3: Lawson Key To Defense That Is Finally Healthy Again
The Bills’ defense finished last season having allowed the second-most points and the third-most yards in franchise history, even with key additions like Mario Williams and Mark Anderson on the defensive line. Anderson was injured for most of the year but is expected to be healthy, and that should help up front as Williams and Marcell Dareus attempt to bounce back from off years. Manny Lawson was added from Cincinnati to handle the duties on the strong side, and improved play from the front-seven should make things a lot easier on a Buffalo secondary that was torched far too often a year ago.
Click here to get a full list of NFL futures for the 2013-14 NFL season.