Linebacker Preston Brown leading defense as signal caller
Preston Brown has heard the mantra on a regular basis since the start of the Buffalo Bills’ offseason workouts.
“We’re trying to be the best,” is the phrase the Bills’ linebacker has heard, in one form or another, from defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.
The Bills had the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense in yards allowed last season. They had a dominant pass rush, held prominent spots in many statistical categories, and generally made life difficult for most opposing offenses.
But fourth isn’t first, which is something Brown and his fellow Buffalo defenders continually hear from Thurman and head coach Rex Ryan. To close that gap, the Bills not only will need their most dominant players – such as tackle Marcell Dareus and outside linebacker Mario Williams – to again dominate, but they also need everyone to thrive in what was one of the league’s best and most aggressive schemes when Thurman and Ryan guided it with the New York Jets.
“They played great defense here last year,” Thurman said. “Our job is to see if we can get it to be a little bit better.”
Buffalo’s new defense is significantly different than the one Jim Schwartz guided last season. And that goes beyond the fact Schwartz used a 4-3 base while the current base is a 3-4. With so many variations in the front and a wide range of blitz combinations, the Ryan-Thurman defense requires far more communication between all of the players before each snap.