ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalos notoriously long, harsh winters have their advantages as far as Jim Schwartz is concerned. The nasty weather that stretched well into April provided the Bills new defensive co-ordinator an additional excuse to stay indoors and become more familiar with his players and staff. "One of the good things about being here in Buffalo is the weather was so bad that we had plenty of time as coaches to stay together," Schwartz said with a laugh, following a voluntary minicamp practice this week. "When the snow was rolling and it was 5 degrees outside, we were holed up in the room watching all their stuff from last year." It was an invaluable experience for the defensive-minded specialist, who finds himself back in his element in Buffalo a few months after losing his job following a five-year stint as the Detroit Lions head coach. "You can spin coaching changes any way you want. The one thing I would say is the players do have a clean slate," Schwartz said. "They have to prove themselves. And Im in the same boat. Ive got to prove myself all over again. Its exciting. Thatll bring out the best in players. Itll bring out the best in coaches." Filling the vacancy after Mike Pettine left to take over the Cleveland Browns, Schwartz inherits a Bills defence that began shedding its once-porous and passive reputation by emerging as the teams strength last season. While Buffalo (6-10) struggled on offence in large part because of rookie quarterback EJ Manuels inconsistencies and injuries, the defence finished 10th in the NFL in yards allowed -- the units best ranking in nine years. The Bills also finished second in the league with 23 interceptions and a franchise-record 57 sacks. And they had four defenders earn Pro Bowl selections, including tackle Marcell Dareus, who was added as an injury replacement. The only area of concern was Buffalos inability to stop the run. The Bills gave up 150 or more yards rushing six times, and finished 28th in allowing an average 129 net yards rushing per game. Schwartz has a strong track record in devising schemes to stop the run. During his eight seasons as Tennessees defensive co-ordinator, the Titans finished sixth or better in rushing yards allowed six times from 2001-08. Its on Schwartz to build on that success with a unit that features a few new wrinkles at linebacker, where the team added Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers in free agency, and was unable to re-sign three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd. Schwartz is Buffalos fourth defensive co-ordinator in four seasons. He doesnt anticipate a difficult transition, even though hes making the switch to a 4-3 style of defence, and his philosophy is considered less aggressive than Pettines pressure-the-passer approach. Schwartz is keeping much of the same play-calling terminology. And he said the switch to four linemen and three linebackers shouldnt be regarded as significant, because his and Pettines defences share similar elements. Veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams doesnt foresee much change in the Bills approach. "No, were not going to be read-and-react. Were going to attack guys," Williams said. "Now, if we do it with four rushers, five rushers or six, thatll have to be game-planned. But were going to be on the move. And were going to attack." Spikes liked what hes seen after two weeks of minicamp practices. "Weve still got a long way to go, but if we can take these necessary steps, I think we can be great this season and shock the world," said Spikes, who was signed in part because of his reputation as a run-stuffer during his first four seasons in New England. "I take that personally. If you can stop the run, you can make them one-dimensional," Spikes said. "I think this season therell be some eye-openers." Pelicans Jerseys
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.com) - Sporting Kansas City announced Thursday that club has signed former on-loan midfielder Jimmy Medranda to a permanent contract from Colombian side Deportivo Pereira.(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off consecutive scoring outbursts and look to push their win streak to three games when they resume a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Miami Heat. The Thunder delivered a 127-115 victory over the NBA-best Golden State Warriors on Friday, then followed that with Sundays 127-99 dismantling of the Orlando Magic in the opener of the road trip. Kevin Durant scored 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Russell Westbrook posted 17 points and six assists. Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters scored 16 points apiece for the Thunder, who shot 57.8 percent from the floor, had a 54-33 rebounding advantage and ended a four-game road skid. Oklahoma City lit up the Magic for 79 points in the first half, the most the Thunder have scored in a half since relocating from Seattle. OKC scored 42 points in the second quarter and made 16-of-21 shots in the period. The Magic were held to 39.8 percent shooting and committed 18 turnovers. They trailed 95-60 after a reverse jam by Westbrook and 105-78 on a Waiters dunk. We came out with the defense we talked about to start this road trip, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. Everybody was really locked in and engaged. The Thunder are 8-13 on the road and 12-5 since Durant returned from foot surgery. They reached the .500 mark at 20-20 and will also visit the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks and Clevelland Cavaliers on the swing.dddddddddddd Miami sits four games under .500 at 18-22 and is back in south Florida after going 3-2 on a five-game western jaunt. The Heat closed the trek with a 95-83 triumph over the Sacramento Kings on Friday, as Chris Bosh scored 30 points and Luol Deng added 25. Shabazz Napier was the other double-digit scorer with 12 points for Miami, which shot 47.3 percent and played its second straight game without Dwyane Wade (hamstring). We were just trying to get after them. Thats a very talented offensive team, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. We tried to put as much pressure on their perimeters as we could. Guys stepped up to that challenge. Miami improved to 17-0 all-time when Bosh reached 30 points and is 17-2 this season when leading after three quarters. Wade (22.1 ppg) is questionable for Tuesdays game for the Heat, who are 7-12 at home and will visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. Wade is one game shy of 750 in his career, while Bosh is 58 points short of 16,000. The Heat sit near the bottom in scoring with 93.5 points per game, but are allowing 97.2 ppg on defense. Miami and Oklahoma City will play the first of two matchups this season and are scheduled to meet again March 22 in OKC. The Heat and Thunder split two games last season, while Miami is 7-1 in the previous eight encounters. The Heat dispatched the Thunder in five games to win the NBA title in 2012. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping
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