Tonawanda News


May 31, 2014

Bills eager to improve popgun offense

Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — The Buffalo Bills' front-office spent the offseason delivering on its commitment to upgrade the talent on offense.

Now, veteran center Eric Wood said, it's on the players to start delivering on that potential.

"There's no excuse, saying we don't have a piece here or a piece there," Wood said. "Technically, it all is there."

Wood provided his assessment after getting a firsthand glimpse of the Bills' new-look attack during a three-day voluntary minicamp that concluded Friday.

It's a unit that includes numerous additions brought in as part of the Bills' commitment to improve what had been a popgun, EJ Manuel-led attack that contributed to Buffalo's 6-10 finish last year.

The Bills made a splash in the draft by trading up five spots to pick receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall before using three of their final six selections on offensive linemen. And then there are the experienced newcomers acquired in trades (receiver Mike Williams and running back Bryce Brown) and free agency (guard Chris Williams).

The changes didn't end there.

Coach Doug Marrone also expanded his staff by hiring Todd Downing as a quarterbacks coach and Jim Hostler as a senior offensive assistant.

If that's not enough, Marrone has spent a majority of the practice sessions focusing primarily on the offense, leaving the defensive details to newly hired coordinator Jim Schwartz.

"I feel that I can help this team more by being involved a little bit more on that side of the ball," Marrone said. "If there's a way I can help this football team get better, I've got to do it."

Marrone, whose background is on offense, has taken an all-in, hands-on approach. He spends time working with offensive linemen on blocking techniques. When Marrone's not poking his head into the huddle during team drills, he can usually be found lined up directly behind the quarterback watching plays develop.

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