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Bills' Frazier ready to move the defense forward

The new defensive coordinator is not concerned with the past

Paul Hamilton
May 19, 2017 - 10:22 am
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Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - Leslie Frazier and Sean McDermott are bringing the 4-3 defense back to Buffalo. Frazier likes what he’s seen from his players so far, “We’re implementing a 4-3 scheme and the guys have really bought into that and that’s what we’re practicing and that’s what we’re looking forward to. That’s what Sean is most familiar with, with his experience in Carolina and our experience together in Philadelphia and that’s what we’ve brought to Buffalo as well. It’s what we’re both most comfortable with and we think it fits our players well.”

McDermott and Frazier talk a lot about the 4-3 but I don’t think we’ll actually see a lot of it. A good example was the first snap of OTA’s on Thursday.

Buffalo had four defensive linemen, two linebackers and four defensive backs on the field. Shaq Lawson, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes all had their hand on the ground. The two linebackers were Lorenzo Alexander and Preston Brown. When Ragland gets back, there will be other opportunities to get linebackers out there, but in the end, Frazier said it won’t always be 4-3, “You’ve got three linebackers on the field and we hope that we’ll try to mesh the right three in our 4-3 scheme and maybe that’ll be Lorenzo and Preston together or maybe it’ll be a different configuration. You always want to get your 11 best on the field and I believe that those guys will be part of our best 11.”

The corner in the slot was veteran Leonard Johnson. The two on the outside were Ron Darby and Kevon Seymour. First round pick Tre White worked in on the outside. The two safeties were Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. Reggie Ragland is still limited, but he will be worked in too. Both Ragland and White will be looking for significant playing time and Frazier wants to see them in there, “We’ve got some young guys that are competing for some playing time and that’s what this time of the year is all about, trying to identify some of your depth along with your starters. We’ve got some guys that are competing and hopefully they’ll come along and really improve and give us a chance and we’ll get to training camp, but so far so good.”

Some of the players on this defense aren’t afraid to go public with their displeasure. Many didn’t like the defense Rex and Rob Ryan were trying to play and said so. Frazier isn’t worried about that, “We’ve come in with the approach, its 2017 and history is history. We are looking forward to the 2017 Buffalo Bills team and we haven’t really dwelled on anything that’s happened in the past. Our focus has really been on the group of guys that are here right now, and that’s been our approach. We’ve set what we think are going to be our standards for this team on defense and we’ve talked to them about how we want to achieve our goals on defense. We really haven’t reflected back on any part of the past, whether it’s 1964, 2002 or 2015. That hasn’t been a part of our conversation. It’s all about the 2017 Bills.”

Shaq Lawson has noticed a big difference from last year. He said McDermott moved forward right away, “Just a change in culture, soon as he came in, day one. It’s something that we needed here and it’s been great ever since day one. He’s holding everybody accountable, making sure everybody do what they have to do.”

“We doing every little thing right, he preaches about the little things, coming to the meeting early and stuff and we always look around the building and see ‘Playoff Caliber’. That’s what we want to get to is the playoffs, so every time we look around the building and see that, it’ll just have us focused and come in and have us ready to play.”