ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Defensive end Mario Williams arrived for the start of the Buffalo Bills offseason voluntary workouts Tuesday pleased to learn he'll have one less burden to lug around this season.
The Bills are finally entering the digital age after each player was presented a brand new iPad, which will store the team's hefty playbook.
"It's pretty neat," Williams said. "You don't have to carry that big book around."
More intriguing for Williams is what that game plan will resemble with Mike Pettine taking over as defensive coordinator.
As part of rookie coach Doug Marrone's new staff, Pettine's preparing to bring to Buffalo the aggressive approach he was known for running during his previous four seasons with the New York Jets.
"He definitely has a very outstanding resume," Williams said. "I'm up for anything, anything that's going to put us in a better position to go out and be successful, and change our defense and get us in the right direction."
And if that wasn't enough, Williams learned shortly after finishing his workout that the Bills added depth to their defense by signing versatile free-agent lineman Alan Branch to a one-year contract.
"I'm excited," Williams said. "More power to us."
Williams has much to prove after failing to play to the high expectations he raised after signing a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency a year ago.
Hampered by a sprained left wrist that required surgery in October, he finished with a team-leading 10 1/2 sacks. But he was part of a defense that was among the NFL's worst and contributed to the 6-10 finish that led to Chan Gailey being fired.
Chalking up last season's struggles to a "learning experience," Williams dismissed the perception that Buffalo finds itself in the midst of another offseason of transition.
"Everybody else is saying, 'Ah, it's the same old Bills,'" Williams said. "We've all been down the road. This is definitely not a rebuilding season."
The Bills are an unknown quantity under Marrone, who was hired after spending four seasons turning around Syracuse's struggling football program.
On Tuesday, Marrone got a chance to address his new players in person for the first time since he was hired in January.
"It kind of reminds me of that first day of kindergarten a little bit," Marrone said. "When you go into that room, you're not really sure what it's going to be like."
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