Bills' Schwartz gives gilmpse into blitz philosophy
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Jul 28 2014 12:03PM
When Mike Pettine left the Buffalo Bills to take the job as the head coach with the Cleveland Browns, many considered the departure of the defensive coordinator to be among one of the biggest losses of the offseason. Pettine had a unique playcalling style on that side of the ball and it resulted in the Bills setting a franchise record for sacks in one season.
To replace him, the Bills hired former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who before that was a well-respected defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Through his time in the National Football League, Schwartz has been heralded for having strong defensive lines that have set the tone for his unit.
In Buffalo, that won't appear to be a problem with the quartet of starters they've lined up in Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Due in part to the failed experiment of Dave Wannstedt as the Bills defensive coordinator very recently, some have made the connection of Schwartz's defensive theory being similar to that of Wannstedt: rely on the front four to create pressure and rarely blitz.
Some might even be scared of the defensive coordinator when he called on logic and simple math Monday, explaining that a blitz isn't always necessary due to the front four being as talented, and strong as they are.
"Generally offenses are going to protect with five, six guys," Schwartz started. "We've got four, there's a couple of guys that are gonna be one-on-one, and we've got guys that can win one-on-one."
If the first seven practices are any indication, though, the Bills won't be hesitant to blitz... at all. The Bills have sent linebackers both inside and outside, cornerbacks and safeties alike to get the offense to make a mistake. Instead of blitzing from all over like they did with Pettine in 2013, Schwartz has a little bit of a different interpretation on how to best utilize the added pressure.
"I think any time you can blitz on your own terms, you're at an advantage defensively," he said. "By that I mean you don't have to blitz to get a pass rush. If you can rely on your front four to get a pass rush, you can do so many more things with your coverage. And then when you want to blitz, you can blitz. It's not, 'Well we've got to get pressure on the quarterback so we have to blitz.' And I think that's one of the advantages of having a strong front four."