Wizards

Hungry Hackett, 33, set to take over Bills offense

Hungry Hackett, 33, set to take over Bills offense

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is just 33 years old, but feels a lifetime of football experience has prepared him to turn around Buffalo's inconsistent offense.

Two weeks after he was hired away from Syracuse, Hackett was officially introduced by the Bills on Thursday. The son of longtime coach Paul Hackett plans on installing a balanced, multiple-look system in Buffalo that is based upon his scheme with the Orange.

Hackett declined to discuss specifics regarding his plans for Buffalo's offense but he is looking forward to working with running back C.J. Spiller, the team's breakout star in 2012.

The Bills finished 6-10 last season and scored just 344 points under former coach Chan Gailey. Doug Marrone, who worked with Hackett at Syracuse, took over for Gailey earlier this month.

``When I first got to Syracuse, Coach Marrone and I, we had had experience in so many different systems,'' Hackett said. ``So we kind of created this system from all the different systems we've done and we wanted it to be very multiple. You always want to be able to attack in certain (ways). You never want to limit yourself.''

The Bills have received criticism for hiring Hackett, given his lack of NFL experience at the coordinator level. He has spent four years as an NFL offensive quality control coach, two of those with Buffalo. But after Hackett's success at Syracuse, Marrone had no doubts about Hackett's abilities at any level.

``I knew right away,'' Marrone said, ``that if this was the situation, Nathaniel was the one I wanted to be with.''

As a result, he interviewed only Hackett for the position.

Hackett has been around the game his entire life. His father coached on the offensive side of the ball for 40 years. On Thursday, Hackett reminisced on his time as a ballboy with the Dallas Cowboys - where he was ``in awe'' of coaching legend Tom Landry - as well as his time working under former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay.

``You want to keep pushing yourself to learn and learn and almost get your Ph.D. in football,'' Hackett said. ``And I think that's something that I've been very lucky to be a part of and to be able to gain that experience through that time.''

Hackett, and the entire staff, must evaluate quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who struggled last season. Hackett didn't rule out the prospect of Fitzpatrick running his offense in 2013, but the franchise may have other plans.

``I'm one of those guys that I think for the way that I teach, I think anybody can have a chance in a system like this because I can tailor it to them,'' he said. ``And I think that figuring out everybody across the board - who it is and then trying to fit that person into this system - is the biggest critical factor.''

Hackett was tight-lipped regarding the stock of prospect Ryan Nassib, his former quarterback at Syracuse. Nassib has been projected by many to land in Buffalo given his pedigree and the Bills' needs.

``He's a talented guy,'' he said, ``and I was honored to work with him because he's the one that got me here.''

One who will help him stay in Buffalo long term is Spiller, a former first-round pick out of Clemson who has blossomed as a Bill. Spiller ran for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns this past season.

``I'm excited to work with him, there's no doubt about that,'' Hackett said. ``I've heard great things about him. ... I want to really get a feel for what he does great. And we'd like to do that as much as we possibly can.''

Quick Links

With LeBron gone and Kawhi in, who's the best player in the East?

wall-beal-usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

With LeBron gone and Kawhi in, who's the best player in the East?

With Kawhi Leonard off to the Raptors, we have a shakeup near the top when it comes to the best players in the East.

Whether it's a one-year rental or ends up being a long-term partnership, the Raptors got themselves an MVP candidate when he's healthy.

That's the issue though. What will Leonard be when he returns to the court after that quad injury took most of last season away from him?

RANKING THE TEN BEST PLAYERS IN THE EAST

With LeBron James now in Los Angeles, the East has a new pecking order when it comes to the top talent, which includes a couple of Wizards as well.

How do they stack up?

Well, here's your answer:

RANKING THE TEN BEST PLAYERS IN THE EAST

Quick Links

Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

derozan-leonard.png
USA TODAY Sports

Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, according to the report

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to sources of ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season. .

MORE NBA NEWS: