Even though head coach Rex Ryan vowed his Buffalo Bills defense would be "fully pregnant" this season, in that he wouldn't try to "blend" schemes anymore, the reality was players wanted a more simplified scheme.
When coaches simplified the game plan the final two games against Dallas and the New York Jets, the result was two of the group's most devastating performances all year.
So now it appears the Bills are, indeed, making things simpler on defense. Inside linebacker Preston Brown --- who trumpeted the value of compromise --- said that's exactly what's going on right now at One Bills Drive.
"With Rex, we've already installed like 50 plays," Brown told WGR Radio this week. "A whole bunch of simpler plays. ...Our checks are limited. They're not as many as they were. And they're kind of the same kind of checks. So it's not as wide as it was last year coming into it. They've kind of simpled down some of the plays.
"The guys are happy that we don't have as many situations or checks on plays. So guys are excited that we're starting to compromise and going into the season making it simple and as fast as possible."
Brown would know.
As a rookie, he started in Jim Schwartz's more straightforward scheme, the one that led to a No. 4 finish overall and an NFL-leading 54 sacks. And as early as training camp the next season, Brown cited the high number of checks in Ryan's playbook. Brown was staying up as late as 2 a.m. during installs to learn it all. A play could change to six or seven different plays before a snap.
So kudos to Ryan for keeping an open mind this off-season. It appears he will indeed keep taking more player input and let players play.
Preston Brown has vowed to take charge in 2016. So it's a good sign the one running the defense on the field will be on the same page as the one calling the plays from the sideline.
“They want it to be our defense, so every week they go in and ask us which plays we like and don’t like,” Brown said last month. “So when we see something we know we can succeed at, we have to let the coaches know and speak up and go out there and run it. Because they give us the playbook and give us what we want to run.
“They definitely opened up, compromised and found a good balance.”