Offseason Playbook: Bills

A look at Buffalo's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 3, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
C.J. SpillerMatthew Stockman/Getty ImagesC.J. Spiller and the Bills will adapt to a new coaching staff in 2013.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- This new coaching staff has kept their projected schemes under wraps, and it's a little tough to tell what they will run. This is a teaching staff with strong college backgrounds, so this offense will be very assignment oriented. It will be an aggressive scheme with creative personnel groupings and a lot of different looks under coordinator Nate Hackett, Paul Hackett's son.

Head coach Doug Marrone has a terrific offensive mind, but Hackett will call plays. Marrone has a strong run background so you can look for some power run sets to set up the passing game and they will likely build the running game around C.J. Spiller. The screen game will be a part of their passing attack. Also, expect some read-option looks and even some old Buffalo "k-gun" passing formation that was so productive under Jim Kelly. This will be a fun offense for the players and fans.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.