In Defense of Copying

Great teams are often good mimics. In football, some copied ideas are sound enough to help more than the initial innovator. While it may be too late to cash in on the wildcat frenzy, there’s plenty of time to imitate the champion’s defensive prowess. Seattle contained the greatest quarterback in history,who has a losing playoff record, with minimal blitzing and an ornery secondary that covers you like you owe it money. So, the Bills should steal the idea. The general principle of prudent aggression is more timeless than any gimmicky alignment.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Kiko Alonso could use some help at the linebacker position to strengthen Buffalo’s defense. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Getting in on the trend of bossy defenses would make life easier for the offense. The side without the ball is much closer to reaching elite status even with coordinator upheaval. Enhancing the assault on defense will in turn help the quarterback establish himself. EJ Manuel can grow into the job if he doesn’t have to constantly prevail in shootouts. Lecturing other teams on what’s permitted means not having to count on the offense needing four touchdowns every week.

A stouter run defense will do more than anything to help the Bills move from double-digit losses to wins. To achieve this, the discussion may be not which kind of player but which linebacker Buffalo should add on the draft’s first night.

The line and secondary don’t need urgent upgrades, depending on how much comity Jairus Byrd and the front office can create. A hungry defense needs to fill the sandwich. Kiko Alonso can’t make every tackle, although he’ll certainly try. He could use a partner, as the grizzled second-year veteran could show a green rookie the ropes in a buddy comedy that makes villainous running backs cry.

Buffalo could look within the area code and grab a player who doesn’t have to move out of his dorm. As the biggest University at Buffalo badass since Ronnie James Dio, Khalil Mack is good at one thing: everything. Could he help put another area team on the map?

The biggest challenge to keeping Mack going from the Bulls to the Bills is how much general managers outside of Erie County like him. Those jerks in Tampa or wherever looking at Mack should take a quarterback. They all totally need one. Or, they could pass on their turns so they can avoid future salary cap issues by having to pay good players. Financial prudence beats having a player the Bills could use.

Failing that, the teams drafting before Buffalo hopefully don’t do as suggested in the countless mock drafts of cable sports channels by taking Mack. The fake selectors at ESPN and the NFL Network are presumably working on projections for 2015 while trying to remember what sunlight looks like.

The consolation prize may be just as valuable if Mack is forced to truck out of town. Alabama’s C.J. Mosley is the trendy option for the Bills at the ninth spot, and why not? His versatility in play and position means that fellow new guy, Jim Schwartz, could use him anywhere behind the line.

The draft inspires calculating behavior like being thankful for every underclassman who entered and may entice the teams drafting ahead of our beloved Bills. And seeing anyone add a player at a position where your team is loaded inspires joy. Everyone else ideally wants what we already have.

Shoring up a defense that’s already fairly strong might seem to come at the offense’s expense, but inhibiting what opponents do with the ball would attack the problem from the other end. Having the players to stop drives, ideally either with little gain or a turnover, is the hot idea to rip off for good reason.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.