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Teams Making Big Strides with New Playbooks After NFL Minicamps

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
James DudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2012

Three teams are hoping that new playbooks can spark successful 2012 seasons. For two, new schemes represent the best hope of a long-awaited return to the postseason. Meanwhile, a regular playoff contender in the NFC will be hoping a new defensive playbook can finally push them to advance past the opening round.

Here are the three teams who have made positive first strides with new playbooks at NFL minicamps:

Oakland Raiders

New head coach Dennis Allen and new General manager Reggie McKenzie are going to make certain the Oakland Raiders look a lot different this season. Allen will implement a more complex and varied defense, featuring multiple looks and pressures.

On offense the Raiders plan to use more roll-out, bootleg plays to get Carson Palmer out of the pocket. It seems that Palmer is adapting well to the demands of the new playbook.

Usatoday.com recently reported that Palmer feels comfortable with a more mobile system. The report also indicates that the Raiders defensive playbook has expanded considerably.

Atlanta Falcons

When the Atlanta Falcons hired Mike Nolan to run the defense, they were expecting a more versatile, aggressive system to the one run by former coordinator Brian VanGorder. It seems that Nolan's new playbook is already making the desired impact.

Yahoo! Sports has reported that Nolan's unit is showing 4-3 and 3-4 looks and players such as linebacker Sean Weatherspoon are benefiting from the quicker tempo and more attack-minded style.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills' front-four will be the key to Dave Wannstedt's new-look 4-3 scheme this season. Foxsports.com has reported that the group, led by free-agent defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, has looked very impressive in early action.

Anderson and Williams have shown they can create plenty of pressure and the Bills will need their pass rush to make the 4-3 switch work. Wannstedt's 4-3 isn't a passive front and if this group stays healthy and continues to learn at this pace, Buffalo will have a dangerous defense once the season begins.

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