The 2009 Buffalo Bills almost started off the season with a bang by beating their hated rivals, the New England Patriots. They led by 11 points with just over 2 minute left when Tom Brady’s TD pass was followed up by a Bills fumbled KR and another TD pass to pull out the Pats win. Still, the fact that they played so well against the Pats until that KR fumble gave hope that Dick Jauron would finally get above 7 wins and perhaps make the playoffs. It was not to be, as the Bills won only 6 games this season, leading to Jauron’s firing and changes in the front office. What areas will the new regime target as highest priorities? This post hopes to give some indication of the answer to that question.
This is the ninth of my 2009 NFL Season Reviews, and that is where the Bills pick in the 2010 draft. As I’ve stated before, these posts follow a set formula, which is described in the Season Reviews Informational Post. This post describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||2515||30||Pass Yards||2948||2|
|Pass TD||17||23||Pass TD||14||2|
|Pass INTs||19||23||Pass INTs||28||2|
|Rush Yards||1867||16||Rush Yards||2501||30|
|Rush TD||6||29||Rush TD||19||28|
We see from Table one that Buffalo’s defense was considerably stronger than their offense. In fact, they had the second ranked pass defense in the NFL. Unfortunately, their rush defense (ranked 30) was so poor that it offset the excellent pass defense. The offense struggled all around, but the rushing offense was a relative strength at 16th in the league while the pass offense ranked 30th. Let’s see if the rest of the tables agree.
|Buf Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|New England Patriots||24||17.81||6.19||25||26.69||-1.69|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||33||25||8||20||15.25||4.75|
|New Orleans Saints||7||21.31||-14.31||27||31.88||-4.88|
|New York Jets||16||14.75||1.25||13||21.75||-8.75|
|New York Jets||13||14.75||-1.75||19||21.75||-2.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||16||26.5||-10.5||10||18.38||-8.38|
|New England Patriots||10||17.81||-7.81||17||26.69||-9.69|
The data in Table 2 shows that the offense underperformed with respect to opponents’ average points allowed. However, over the course of the entire season, the defense outperformed the opponents’ averages for points scored. This data agrees with that in Table 1, that the offense is a greater weakness than the defense. In fact the defense is a strength overall. Table 3, below, also agrees with these conclusions.
|Buf Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|New England Patriots||276||320.19||-44.19||441||397.31||43.69|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||438||365.56||72.44||353||287.5||65.5|
|New Orleans Saints||243||357.75||-114.75||378||403.81||-25.81|
|New York Jets||296||252.31||43.69||414||321||93|
|New York Jets||194||252.31||-58.31||331||321||10|
|Kansas City Chiefs||273||388.19||-115.19||354||303.19||50.81|
|New England Patriots||241||320.19||-79.19||224||397.31||-173.31|
Cumulatively, the offense gained over 1000 yards below the opponents’ averages for yards allowed. The defense held opposing offense to just below even. I guess we should include a slight caveat since they held the Colts to over 200 yards below their average in the final game, when Indy rested several key players.
The next two tables will break up the yardage values into passing and rushing. This will better show which aspects of the offense and defense struggled more.
|Buf P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|New England Patriots||186||209.69||-23.69||368||277.25||90.75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||220||207.38||12.63||296||185.94||110.06|
|New Orleans Saints||154||235.56||-81.56||156||272.19||-116.19|
|New York Jets||154||153.69||0.31||96||148.75||-52.75|
|New York Jets||71||153.69||-82.69||82||148.75||-66.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||73||231.69||-158.69||202||182.63||19.38|
|New England Patriots||136||209.69||-73.69||115||277.25||-162.25|
|Buf R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|New England Patriots||90||110.5||-20.5||73||120.06||-47.06|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||218||158.19||59.81||57||101.56||-44.56|
|New Orleans Saints||89||122.19||-33.19||222||131.63||90.38|
|New York Jets||142||98.63||43.38||318||172.25||145.75|
|New York Jets||123||98.63||24.38||249||172.25||76.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||200||156.5||43.5||152||120.56||31.44|
|New England Patriots||105||110.5||-5.5||109||120.06||-11.06|
In this case, every bit of data supports what we saw just from looking at Buffalo’s offensive and defensive rankings. The greatest issue with the team was passing offense. Even with such a poor passing offense, the rushing offense was good enough to gain nearly equal to the opponents’ average rush yards allowed. The defense was extremely strong agains the pass, but just as weak against the run. This may also be an indication of playing from behind late in games, though.
The major question is whether the passing woes were due to the QB and WRs or the offensive line. The Bills OL saw a lot of turnover last offseason, and Buffalo gave up the 4th most sacks in the league. Sacks could also be related to the QB holding it too long or not having a WR open, but given the OL turnover, that could very well be the reason that the passing game struggled so much.
Anyway, based on these numbers, it would make sense for the Bills to go either QB, OT, DT or DE with the ninth pick. QB or OT would be aimed at improving the passing game, either by upgrading the QB position or improving pass protection. DT or DE would target improving the rushing defense. Most likely Suh and McCoy will be gone, so DT is less likely. There are a handful of top end OT’s, so that may be the value pick for the Bills. If Bradford is available, they may take him, but his injury concerns may scare them off.
Tags: Buffalo Bills