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Polian likes what he sees from Bills, 'but it's going to take a little time'

BATAVIA -- Bill Polian knows what a winning NFL organization looks like. He built three of them during a career that led him to being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When he looks at the Buffalo Bills, the team he once guided as general manager during the most successful era in franchise history, he sees the ingredients for success.

And the first place he notices it is with the Bills' new coach. Sean McDermott reminds Polian of the man Polian was largely responsible for the club hiring as the coach who guided the club through the Super Bowl run of the 1990s: fellow Hall-of-Famer Marv Levy.

"First of all, he's low key without being low energy," Polian said Monday before teeing off in Jim Kelly's 31st annual golf tournament at Terry Hills. "He's straight to the point. He's a really good teacher. And his values are the right values. There's no flash and dash, there's none of that. It's bedrock, meat-and-potatoes football, how to win games.

"And having watched him in Carolina for six years (as the Panthers' defensive coordinator), he's flexible enough to understand what he's got. If you look at what he did last year with those two rookie corners (James Bradberry and Daryl Worley), it took a half a season and then their defense went like that (raising his hand). He's going to be the same as (Panthers coach) Ron Rivera and Marv and all the other really good coaches in that there won't be many real highs and there will be no low lows. They're going to aim toward that constant, consistent performance."

Polian, an NFL analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM NFL Radio, is also highly impressed with the way the Bills have rebuilt their player-personnel department. Not only does he like the sense of organization and structure that come with new general manager Brandon Beane, the former assistant GM of the Panthers, but he thinks the Bills took it to a higher level with the additions of fellow veteran front-office types in former Miami Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey and former Houston Texans director of player personnel Brian Gaine.

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"They've put together a very good staff," Polian said. "Hickey, Gaine, those guys are excellent, and they're experienced, which is a real plus because you're going to have to put together a staff that has to hit the ground running. And the fact that they've got so many experienced people there is a real plus, because there's a learning curve but it's a lot smaller with people who have been around the block before. So that's excellent."

Polian likes the acquisitions the Bills have made in free agency and the draft. In his eyes, many of the players look like they'll be upgrades over what the Bills have had and he sees them is good fits for McDermott's program.

"You can see the roster taking shape," Polian said. "It's going to take a little while. I know people don't want to hear that, but it's going to take a little while. Sean's got to install his way of doing things and he already has, obviously, but it takes a full season for that to take hold. He's going to have to get to know the players, so this year will kind of be a breaking-in year.

"There will be fits and starts, just like it was Marv's first full year, but once Sean and his staff get a feel for what they've got and how to use them properly, they're on their way up."

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