Inside The Bills

Polian: free agents changing systems tricky

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2013 – 9:21 am

ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian has been through the free agency process that’s about to begin tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm all too often. In describing what an NFL GM is looking for out on the market he also outlines the dangers of projecting how well or how long it might take a new addition to adjust to a new offensive or defensive scheme with their new team.

“In free agency, you’re absolutely looking at the finished product,” he said. “Those players are not going to get any better than they are now at 26 or 27. They’re at their peak. They’re not going to get better. They are what they are.

“So, in theory, at least, you’re able to say, ‘Okay, I can plug this guy in, and he will perform at a certain level.’ But there is the system issue.

“It’s been my experience that when a player is changing systems, it takes generally a year for him to adapt to his new surroundings to a new system, to new teammates, et cetera. They don’t come in as a general rule and instantly become successes.

“When they’re within the same system, the odds are better that they’ll perform, but there is still, you know you make it a job change. We all know when you make a job change there are issues that you have to deal with.”

Those are issues that Doug Marrone took into account when he assembled his coaching staff. He wanted all of his assistants to already have knowledge of the terminology that would be utilized in their respective offensive and defensive schemes. It makes you wonder the kind of premium Bills GM Buddy Nix and personnel department will put on system familiarity when they put together their list of free agent targets for Tuesday.

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