'I love the defensive improvements'

Here's a sneak preview of Antoine Winfield's column, which will be printed in its entirety in Shout! – due out the week of July 14. In the print version, Winfield discusses among other things, the early off-season uproar over allegations that he violated NCAA regulations while playing for Ohio State. Call 1-800-93-BILLS to subscribe.

WELL, THERE HAS been a ton of things going on around here this off-season. Drew Bledsoe. London Fletcher. Eddie Robinson. Billy Jenkins. I'm loving it. I especially love the defensive improvements.

Last year for the players who were here, we were just learning the defense. Now we've got a year under our belts and we feel more comfortable. And with Robinson, Fletcher and Jenkins – people who've already been out there and competing – they will make our team better.

I definitely think the defense will be better than last year. Maybe we need a D-tackle and another D-end, but beside that, we're pretty solid.

I think we can go into the season with the guys we have. What management may be looking for, they're not going to find – someone like a Jevon Kearse or a Kevin Carter. Erik Flowers, Aaron Schobel and Kendrick Office are solid ends, but they really don't have that much experience. Erik didn't play much last year because of his weight difficulties and then Aaron moved in front of him and that was our front line. But everybody's got one more year and Erik got a little bit stronger and more confident.

Overall, the atmosphere around here in the off-season was a little more relaxed and more open than what it was last season. There was time to get away from here, especially for veterans. Last season was terrible. That was the longest season ever. I hear training camp is going to be a little laid back. I don't know if there are going to be bullhorns waking us up, we'll have to wait and see.

But overall, I can't complain about anything they want to do. They're paying us for it. So I just can't complain.


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