With the regular season over, we decided to look back on the season around the AFC East. The Bills ended 2013 with a dismal 6-10 record, so we figured we’d head up to Buffalo to chat with cover32 Bills Insider Chris Ostrander about what went right and what went wrong under Doug Marrone and company:
Who was the one person this year that had the most positive impact on the Bills’ 6-10 final season record?
I don’t think that any one player could take credit for the few successes the Bills had this year. I do, however think that the defensive line deserves joint team MVP honors. Mario Williams led the way but Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus along with Jerry Hughes (technically a LB) and Alan Branch were the most impressive group for the Bills this season.
Who is the most overrated player on the Bills and why?
After his hot start, I think Kiko Alonso regressed to the mean a bit. Of course, his first five weeks were so impressive that he gained plenty of notoriety and that probably propped him up a little too much. While he’s most definitely a key cog moving forward, I don’t think he is at the level of some of the league’s best. At least not yet. This year was a great step forward, but he still has a few steps to go.
What is your overall feeling on the job done by Buffalo’s entire coaching staff?
Aside from the horrid special teams coverage, I think Doug Marrone’s staff had a nice first season. The Bills probably left a couple wins on the field which would have really made Marrone’s first year that much better. But the changes on defense were noticeable and the offense appears to be heading in the right direction as well. Next year will say a lot about whether or not Marrone’s staff is continually improving the team.
One thing to keep in mind is the job done by Doug Whaley to this point. The results of April’s draft will go a long way in determining the type of team he is going to mold, but acquisitions like Jerry Hughes and the trade that helped to net Alonso made an immediate impact on the roster. Another offseason like that would go a long way in ending Buffalo’s playoff drought.
Which side of the ball do you think made the most progress as a unit in 2013?
Defense without a doubt. The offense did some good things but still has a stagnant feel to it. Perhaps a full year of EJ Manuel will help that unit turn the corner, but the change in scheme and attitude on the defense was a breath of fresh air. Mario Williams was dominant and the interior tandem of Kyle Williams and Dareus is quite formidable. Improvements on the second level and a full consistent year from players like Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd (if he sticks around) may see this unit get that much better.
Where does Buffalo need to draft in order to improve in 2014?
I’m a huge proponent of building from the inside out. That means I want the front seven to be as stout as possible. While I don’t know if there are any guards worthy of the ninth pick, I absolutely think a road grader in the second round would serve the Bills well. I also could see another playmaking linebacker (Khalil Mack perhaps?) adding another wrinkle to the defense. However, I’d like to see Eric Ebron taken in the first round to add a dynamic pass catching target to the offense. Get a high quality guard in the second round and draft for talent and depth beyond that and I could see the Bills improving in a meaningful way in 2014.
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