by Mario "The Game" Granata
Bills fans are wondering where the direction of the defense is going with newly acquired Jim Schwartz, and with the status of Jairus Byrd in question, maybe Schwartz will have a say if the Byrd stays in the nest.
A lot of the attention that has been paid in Buffalo is what to give Free Safety Jairus Byrd as negotiations resume for the Pro Bowler going into the offseason. Now, many were skeptical, including me, when it came to the true worth of Byrd. Looking at the top dollars that are being paid to safeties in the NFL, I started looking at the statistics, and what they truly mean to their teams. Now, when Byrd first was negotiating his contract going into the 2013 season, I was initially upset at what he was requesting, seeing as the Buffalo Bills, statistically, had the worst defense in team history during the 2012 season. I thought to myself, as many fans did, “How can this guy demand such money, playing on a defense that was so bad?” Well, it all started to come to a head a couple of days ago when the Buffalo Bills hired Jim Schwartz as their defensive coordinator.
Now, during his time in Tennessee Schwartz struggled to have some consistency on the back end of the defense. He had the likes of Perry Phenix (2001), Lance Schulters (2002-2004), Lamont Thompson (2003-2006), which could be the cause that his defense averaged a ranking of 23rd in the league with those guys quarterbacking the defense. All of that changed when the Titans drafted Michael Griffin in 2007. With Griffin at Safety, Schwartz had the most success in his time in Tennessee as his defense ranked 8th in 2007 and 2nd in 2008, and ultimately led to his becoming head coach of the Lions the following year. Taking a look at the Tale of the Tape, there is a good chance that Schwartz might be instrumental to getting Byrd to sign on the dotted line.
It seems that Schwartz might want to have a similar type player in the ‘aggressive’ defense that he wants to run going into the 2014 season and beyond. Byrd is younger, and with Griffin set to make 8 million this upcoming year, Byrd might have some weight when he is negotiating with the Bills front office. Now the only question is, does he want to get paid, or does he take a lower salary so the Bills can address needs elsewhere in free agency. I guess time will tell, and just as last year, the fans in Buffalo will have to play the waiting game.