Buffalo Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes was a big-time first-round buzz while with the Indianapolis Colts, but he quickly turned his career around last season under ace defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns after excellence on defense for the Bills and with the rival New York Jets under mentor Rex Ryan (I’ll leave the playbook nonsense untouched). Some worried that Hughes, who was one of the stories of the season for the Bills burgeoning defense, would regress without Pettine’s scheme, but that isn’t the case.
According to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, Hughes is still going strong, and he has been excellent in offseason workouts. I read several positive tweets about Hughes during minicamp, but this glowing review makes it abundantly clear that Hughes isn’t going to fade next season, barring anything catastrophic. After recording 9.5 sacks in a massive breakout year and asserting himself as one of the team’s most valuable players, he beat tackles seemingly at will during minicamp and, per Gaughan, “picked up where he left off”.
Jim Schwartz is also a fantastic defensive coordinator, and the transition to his scheme won’t claim Hughes as a victim. He will join the likes of free agent signing Brandon Spikes, fellow 2013 sensation Kiko Alonso, Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus (among others) on one of the league’s most formidable front sevens.