The level of hype surrounding the Buffalo Bills defense this offseason has ranged anywhere between "cautious optimism" to "Move over '85 Bears."
Bills legend Jim Kelly appears to be in the camp that believes the unit can be great. He says no one will gain more from a standout defense than quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"If this team stays healthy and this defense stays healthy," Kelly told BuffaloBills.com, "then Ryan Fitzpatrick's best asset will be a dominating defense that will shorten the field for him so he doesn't feel like he's carrying the whole burden of the Buffalo Bills, not just the team, but the whole city on his shoulders."
Fitzpatrick got off to a great start last season before trailing off considerably in the second half. Kelly believes a full offseason will help Fitzpatrick jell with teammates and better understand the offense.
"He has to play better and I think he knows it," Kelly said. "He doesn't need me to tell him that. I'll tell you what though, I'm more excited about this year than any of the last 10 years, at least. I know that."
Fitzpatrick has been the hot topic of the offseason simply because the Billsneed their investment to pay off. If Buffalo's defense plays at an elite level, then Fitzpatrick has to lose the gunslinger act for a game that better complements the strengths of his team. It's a tall challenge, but one the Bills need him to pull off.