Inside The Bills

Schwartz feels corners will be key to run ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2014 – 9:44 am

Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has a long track record of success defending the run with his defensive units. What’s interesting is what he feels is a key to a strong run defense. It’s not a mammoth nose tackle or a top flight middle linebacker. It’s top end cornerbacks. That’s why he’s excited about what he can do with this Bills defense. Here’s his explanation.

“I think what gives me confidence there is the fact that we have corners who can cover,” said Schwartz in his belief that the run defense can be much improved this season. “It’s hard to stop the run unless you have some corners that can win on the outside. It’s hard to get an extra safety in the box if you’re trying to protect your corners. With Gilmore and Leodis and also Corey Graham and Brooks has had an outstanding run in OTAs. We have some real talent at corner, guys that can win one-on-one on the outside part of the field. I think if you look across any run defense that’s a common ingredient and I’m excited for those guys.”

With corners who can cover in one-on-one situations the defense can commit a safety to the run front more often than not. Add in some of the other factors we covered in our Camp Countdown on how much the run defense will improve and Buffalo’s defense stands a good chance of being in the top half of the league in that all important category.


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Schwartz’s DC resume with Titans impressive

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2014 – 9:23 pm

Bills new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz served as a defensive coordinator for seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans (2001-2008). Over that span his unit’s numbers were very impressive in comparison to the rest of the league at the time.

Schwartz’s defenses over that eight-year span ranked in the top half of the league in the following categories.

5th in run defense – Titans gave up 103.5 rush yards a game (2001-2008)
6th in 3rd down defense – total conversion pct. allowed of 36.1%.
9th in interceptions – total of 138 in those eight years.
13th most turnovers – 230
13th in sacks – unit had 293 sacks.
14th in pass breakups – 642 PBUs

The run defense is what is most encouraging. Tennessee in 64 home games with Schwartz as defensive coordinator allowed just nine 100-yard rushers.

Knowing the Bills finished second in the league in INTs and in sacks this past season, one would expect similar success in those two categories, and with Schwartz’s strong run defense resume Buffalo’s run defense may finally move into the upper half of the league.


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Fan Friday 11-1

Posted by Chris Brown on November 1, 2013 – 2:21 pm

The Bills face a Chiefs team that has not won in Buffalo at the Ralph since 1986. Here is your latest edition of questions on email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

 

1 - Chris,

The Bills are playing much more aggressive defense, and yes the sacks and interceptions are up.  However, the Bills run defense is still vulnerable. In addition, even though the Bills offense is putting 20+ points up per game, the defense is giving up more.

Is the Bills D-Line overrated and in need of an upgrade to shutdown the run ?

Let’s GO Buffalo
Randy C
South Florida

CB: The run defense has not been up to snuff. Coaches and players have cited sound fundamental tackling as the main culprit for this. Arthur Moats had a good explanation for me this week. Here’s what he said.

“When we’re making that initial contact we have to continue to drive our feet,” said Moats. “That’s the technique part of it I was talking about and not letting those guys fall forward for extra yards, not letting them leak out after getting hit initially. I feel like once we start doing that more consistently we’ll definitely see better results.”

 

2 – Chris,

Thank you so much for the information that you provide, especially to us fans who aren’t in the Buffalo area.  In regards to the Buffalo-Miami game.  There were 4 sacks and a lot of qb hits.  I can’t remember how many.  I believe I read where you reported that during the week Coach Marrone spent extra time working with the Offensive Line.  It seems to me that there were more sacks and hits in this game than in previous games.  What more can be done to increase the protection?

Buffalo fan in Virginia

CB: I think the Bills will need to turn to a quick passing game more often as they face defensive units that can successfully rush the passer. They’re going to need to turn to three and five-step drops and deliver the football on timing patterns. Seven-step drops against teams like the Chiefs for example are a death wish.

I think short drop timing throws would be good go-to plays, especially for the inexperienced quarterbacks Buffalo has had to put in the lineup. Then when DBs start squatting on routes, work the middle of the field like they did last week and take a few deep shots.

 

3 – Hi Chris,

After looking at the statistics, it appears that among the linebackers, Kiko Alonso and Manny Lawson are making many tackles and that Nigel Bradham is not experiencing the production that Lawson and Alonso are. Is it because Bradham is not strong against the run? The Buffalo Bills defense is decidedly better than last year’s version in terms of making plays, but would they go after another linebacker in April’s draft? It seems that the defensive line is strong, and the secondary is strong, but maybe they need one more playmaking linebacker. Your thoughts?

Tony, Ormond Beach, FL

CB: Bradham’s lack of production is directly tied to his lack of playing time. Through the first eight games of the season Bradham has 104 snaps logged on defense. Lawson has 344 and Alonso 626. You can’t expect the same production from a guy playing one third or one sixth of the time.

As for drafting another linebacker I think that there’s a good chance they look to add another LB next April.

 

4 – Chris:

The Bills did not seem to be using Fred Jackson and CJ spiller in the game at the same time very much when they were both healthy this season.  Do you think we will ever see them utilized in a pro set or veer formation?  I just could see that as a great asset to utilize in a fast paced offence.

Thanks,
Chris

CB: Both haven’t been 100 percent healthy almost all season so the opportunity to run a split backfield has been limited. They did do it a bit earlier this season and it is contained in the Bills playbook. I just don’t think we’ll see much of it until both backs are fully recovered from their injuries.

Making use of that formation also depends on the caliber of opponent and what they do well.

 

5 - @ChrisBrownBills
Thanks for the updates this week on EJ. Can you tell me how EJ looked or did?

bucketscheung

CB: EJ threw the ball very well, but his injured knee is not all the way back yet. His right knee is on his back leg on drop backs. Planting that leg firmly in the ground at the top of his drop cannot be enjoyable if he’s still experiencing pain in that knee where he had the LCL injury.

He hasn’t been cleared medically to play in a game and until that happens he’ll just be throwing in practice. EJ hasn’t really done any team work. Head coach Doug Marrone said that there’s an outside chance he plays in the Jets game in two weeks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Run ‘D’ not perfect, but better in 2nd half

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2013 – 11:12 pm

The Bills run defense has been a bit of a trouble spot for Buffalo this season. Coming into the game they ranked 28th in the league giving up 124 rushing yards per game. And though Miami finished right around that average with a total of 120 rushing yards and a very good 4.8 average, Buffalo’s run defense was decidedly better in the second half thanks to some halftime adjustments.

After giving up 5.7 per carry in the first half, Buffalo only gave up an average of 3.6 yards per carry in the second half as Miami got just 40 yards on 11 second half rushes.

“They did a great job of adjusting the second half, just trying to stop the run,” said Lamar Miller. “We just have to find a way to win the game.”

The numbers at the end might not look good, but Buffalo did take a step in the right direction Sunday with their second half run defense, much like their performance the previous week against Cincinnati.


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Potential key to run ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on July 17, 2013 – 9:33 am

The Bills run defense has not ranked better than 28th over the last four seasons. In three of the last four seasons it’s ranked 30th or worse. That figures to change in 2013 under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. As we outline in our Top 25 questions until training camp, the run defense should be much improved from it’s ranking of 31st last season. Pettine and his staff should certainly help, but there’s one key addition that could really help on the field.

Second-round pick Kiko Alonso is taking aim on the starting middle linebacker position and was all over the field making plays in the spring practices. It’s clear that head coach Doug Marrone has already recognized what Alonso could do for Buffalo’s defense.

“I see a player that’s very comfortable out there,” said Marrone. “Sometimes you look at someone and they’re bright-eyed and trying to get of sense of what’s going on around him. I see him coming in with a purpose and a willingness to compete for a starting position. He’s shown he has all the ability to play all three downs within the defense whether it be run, pass, nickel, sub, whatever it may be. We’re excited about seeing how he progresses, but again we’ll see if he can make the same type of growth he’s making now.”

Provided he lands that starting role, his play will be critical to Buffalo’s hopes to improve an area of their defense that has been sorely lacking.


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Bills run ‘D’ now 4 straight of less than 90

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2012 – 6:25 pm

Buffalo’s run defense has now made it four straight games of surrendering less than 90 yards rushing to their opponent. That’s something that hasn’t been accomplished by a Bills defense in this century.

Buffalo defense held St. Louis to 67 rushing yards. Steven Jackson had just 64 yards on 19 carries and averaged just 3.4 per rush. The Bills four-game streak is the longest since the 1999 season when the Bills had the number one defense in football and went four straight without allowing 90 rushing yards from games two through five that season.

“Yeah I mean you watch them on film and you let Steven Jackson get going and he can hurt you,” said Kyle Williams. “He can bleed the clock and he can do a lot of damaging things to a defense. We were able to control that, but in the end we were not able to win the game or control the game.”

 


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Bills run ‘D’ tops over past month

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2012 – 2:23 pm

Buffalo’s improved run defense of late has been well documented. But after allowing just 50 rushing yards Sunday, the Bills run defense over the past month has been the best in the NFL.

Over the last four games, Buffalo is first in yards per carry average allowed (3.1 ypc) ahead of Tampa Bay (3.3), Denver, Cleveland and San Francisco (all 3.4).

The Bills are also third in the league over that four-game span in rushing yards allowed per game (78.5) behind only Washington (57.5) and Cleveland (65.7).

In fact Buffalo’s overall defense over the past four games is among the league leaders. The Bills are allowing just under 270 yards of total offense the last four times out (269.8), which ranks second best in football over that stretch. Only Pittsburgh has been better (239.6).


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Bills run ‘D’ peaking?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 2, 2012 – 7:35 pm

Buffalo’s run defense has been much improved since the bye week and on Sunday they did something a Buffalo defense has not done in nine seasons.

In holding the Jaguars to just 50 yards rushing on Sunday, it marked the third straight game they’ve held their opponent to fewer than 90 yards rushing (Miami – 60, Indy – 87, Jax. – 50) . The last time a Bills defense held three straight opponents to less than 90 yards rushing was the 2003 season (see below) as we mentioned in our Saturday story the day before the Jaguars game.

11/30/03 vs. Giants – 13 carries, 24 yards
12/7/03 vs Jets – 26 carries, 88 yards
12/14/03 vs. Tenn – 32 carries, 86 yards

Jairus Byrd, who has the best view of the run defense from his free safety position liked what he saw on Sunday.

“They were getting the ball and were getting hit immediately,” said Byrd of Jacksonville’s backs. “Guys were running to the ball, pursuing and I’m on the back end just looking at it getting excited. Holes were there and they were getting hit. Anytime you see that especially on the back end you’re loving that because then it leads to being one-dimensional.”


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Improved run ‘D’ had simple solution

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2012 – 11:49 am

When Buffalo’s run defense was having problems all you heard from the players and coaches was they needed better gap responsibility and better tackling fundamentals. And that’s exactly what they attribute to their improved run defense numbers the past two weeks in which they’ve held both the Dolphins and Colts to less than 90 yards rushing.

“It is that simple,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ve said all along the early part of the year the most important thing was that we had consistency from our defense and that was gap fits and consistency in our tackling. We’ve gotten so much better at that in the last four or five weeks. Really it started back in Arizona. Our run defense started getting better there. I feel very good about where we are, but we’ve got to step it up even more.”

If the Bills can hold the Jaguars to under 90 yards rushing Sunday,  it would be the first time the Bills have posted three straight games of allowing fewer than 90 rushing yards since the 2003 season.


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Fan Friday 11-16

Posted by Chris Brown on November 16, 2012 – 12:35 pm

Alright Bills fans, here’s the latest edition of Fan Friday courtesy of your questions sent to AskChris@bills.nfl.net and @ChrisBrownBills on Twitter.

1 – Chris,

Don’t you think maybe it is time to have an offensive coordinator instead of Chan so he can concentrate on the real problems and evaluate first half problems? I think maybe he has too much on his plate. The head coach needs to evaluate all aspects of the game and talent. I don’t believe he is doing that.

Bob

CB: I think there is merit to your comment. When Chan Gailey was first hired he did say that eventually he would turn over play calling duties on offense to his coordinator Curtis Modkins. When eventually is remains to be seen. It certainly won’t be any time this season. I believe coach Gailey has to get the offense to a point where execution is so consistent that he feels a coordinator and the unit can work in concert effectively week in and week out.  

 

2 – Chris,
Here is the dreaded Marcus Easley question. With Ron Brooks back and assuming the special teams gunner, could Easley replace Martin. Martin only plays special teams. It’s time to see what Easley’s got. Martin really doesn’t add to the passing game. Easley has potential and with Nelson out for the year they need to add another WR

Thanks, 

Josh 
CB: Easley did play there some in training camp. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Easley line up outside in this offense. I think what has held him back to this point is while he has 4.4 speed, it’s build-up speed. What that means is it takes 8-10 strides for him to get up to full speed. This quick timing offense is predicated on the receivers getting quick separation to make receptions.

Easley has improved in this area, but because his strength is deep speed and not quickness in short areas, it doesn’t make him an ideal fit for what Chan Gailey wants executed in this attack. I think he can be an NFL receiver, but I don’t know how much his game can expand and progress in this offense.

I’d be inclined to use him in the red zone knowing he’s capable of elevating and making plays on jump balls.

 

3 –  Chris,
What are your thoughts on why the Bills don’t run the ball with conventional offense at times?   With QB under center and use of fullback now and then as blocking back.  SF has a middle tier QB (similar to Fitz) and they’re successful using the run to set up the pass with play action. It seems the Bills still utilize the pass to set up the run with most of their running plays coming out of shotgun.  Also, with use of so many empty backfield sets, there is 0% chance of a run, and now defenses can tee off on Fitz.  Have been pleased with Gailey as play caller until now, it seems like we could show more looks and keep keep defenses off balance more.

-Jim

CB: The Bills run a spread offense and their line works best with a hat on a hat approach. Their inside zone run game is their bread and butter and works very well. I’m not sure why you would want to change a run game that ranks second in the league in yards per carry. Also San Fran, while they do line up a fullback more than the Bills, a good portion of the time they move that FB out of the backfield as a receiving option or to seal the edge.

 

4 - Dear Chris,

I have been a Bills fan for years now and know we have struggled over the years. I have noticed that we have been doing terrible against the run, especially up the middle. We have done a great job ont blocking runs to the outside. On defense we have also not did that great in disturbing the pass, mostly in man coverage on the outside and zone coverage in the middle of the field. On the blocking the run should we start have more corner or safety blitz’s while disguising them at the same time? Also, while disrupting the pass, should we try putting some corners in different areas of the field, and who?

 

CB: I think we saw some of this against the Patriots in Week 10. There were some run blitzes with the safeties that worked well. Dave Wannstedt doesn’t call blitzes a whole lot. The numbers this season have proven that. Changing things up couldn’t hurt knowing the unit’s relative lack of success overall this season. We’ll have to see what happens down the stretch.

 

5 – Chris-

Just wondering if Justin Rodgers has been or will be considered to start opposite Stephon Gilmore? Leodis seems to have really settled into his role playing special teams and an occasional appearance in nickle or dime packages. He has had plenty of chances on that corner, and be it lack of ball skills or whatever, it just looks flat out like it’s not the spot for him.  Rodgers on the other hand, from where I’m sitting, seems to have at least earned a shot out there. He has been making plays from the moment he stepped on the field in his 1st training camp. I realize that doesn’t mean he necessarily will be able to handle a starting CB spot, but by now, having seen both his, and Leodis’ body of work, doesn’t it at the very least earn him a chance? Is there something else holding him back that we as fans are unable to see?

 

Tommy

CB: I think Rogers has had an up and down season working in the nickel since unseating McKelvin there. I think they want him to focus on playing the slot receiver knowing his quickness and great change of direction ability caters to playing inside. He’s also on the smallish side so matching up with the larger outside receivers would prove to be a stiffer challenge, both off the line and on jump balls. He’s a better fit inside.


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Can’t knock the run ‘D’ in this one

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2012 – 9:08 am

Arian Foster got off to a solid start against the Bills with 62 yards on his first seven carries, but he only had one big carry for 21 yards. What’s more come the second half Buffalo’s run defense clamped down on him forcing the Texans to beat them in other ways.

In the third quarter Buffalo’s defense held Foster to 16 yards on eight carries, and through the Texans final touchdown drive he actually lost yardage to total just 15 yards on 11 second half carries to that point.

“I definitely think we made some progress as far as that goes on our run defense and other aspects of the game, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Nick Barnett. “We’ve got to get up field and cause some turnovers and make a play on the long ball. We didn’t. We let a couple of little sneak boots come out of there on throwbacks and we have to be more technique-sound on that.”

Foster finished with 111 yards on 24 carries, but got a lot of garbage yards at the end when Houston was trying to kill clock and shorten the game. For more on Buffalo’s improved run defense check out John Murphy’s Bills Focus package in the Media Center on Buffalobills.com.


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Why Run ‘D’ turnaround must begin today

Posted by Chris Brown on November 4, 2012 – 9:30 am

The Bills run defense has without question been a disappointment through the first seven games this season. The players say they have discovered a new found accountability to one another and intend to carry that over to today’s game against Houston. But if Buffalo wants to stay in a very muddled AFC race their run defense will have to be the most improved part of their performance. Here’s why.

Over the next two games (counting today) they’ll face two opponents that rush more than any other club in the NFL. Houston and New England have more rushing attempts per game this season than anyone else. The Texans average a league-leading 35.4 rushes per game. New England is second with 34.5.

Not surprisingly, both clubs stand first and second in rushing touchdown as well (New England 12, Houston 11).

What’s ironic is Buffalo averages more rushing yards per game (150.3) than both teams (New England 149.6, Houston 140.9). So if the Bills can tighten up their run defense to just a respectable level it figures to significantly impact their fortunes.  And as defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has said, it starts with the front four.


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Shep’s run ‘D’ targets

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2012 – 9:49 am

In our exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Kelvin Sheppard we asked him if there was payback on the minds of Buffalo’s defenders heading into this season after taking their lumps the last few years in terms of stopping the run. Shep said they took notes as to who dished it out to them the worst.

As we profiled in our #10 feature in our Top 25 Questions until Training Camp series, ‘Will the 4-3 mean better run defense?’ Shep stated that he believes all the teams that have run over Buffalo’s defense the last few seasons are all on their schedule this year. So we went and looked statistically at the top 5 AFC clubs that have rolled up the rushing yards more than any other on the Bills AND have played against the Bills at least twice in the past three seasons (2009-2011).

Guess what? Shep is on the mark. They’re all on the 2012 schedule. Here’s the rankings list.

1 – New York Jets – Average of 230 rushing yards per game in their last six meetings with the Bills gaining 5.7 yards per carry, 7 TDs and 33 carries of 10 yards or more.

2 – Tennessee Titans – Average of 177.5 rushing yards per game in their two meetings with the Bills and a 5.4 yards per carry avg., 4 TDs and 13 carries of 10 yards or more.

3 – Kansas City – Average of 175.6 rushing yards per game in their three meetings with the Bills and a 5.9 yards per carry avg., 1 TD and 17 carries of 10 yards or more.

4 – Miami – Average of 159 rushing yards per game in their six meetings with the Bills, a 4.5 yards per carry avg., 8 TDs and 21 carries of 10 plus yards.

5 – Jacksonville – Average of 159 rushing yards per game in their three meetings with Buffalo, a 4.3 yards per carry avg., 1 TD and 10 carries of 10 plus yards.

Knowing the Jets have an added run dimension in Tim Tebow makes the opener all the more intriguing and the fact that almost 20 percent of the Chiefs carries against the Bills over their last three meetings have gone for 10 yards or more (17 out of 90 – 18.8%) will make for a very interesting home opener knowing Jamaal Charles is back healthy.


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Bills run ‘D’ takes a leap

Posted by Chris Brown on October 31, 2011 – 1:18 pm

Ranked 30th in the league against the run heading into Sunday’s game against the Redskins, Buffalo’s stout run ‘D’ at the Rogers Centre improved their season average considerably.

Going into the game Buffalo’s run defense was giving up 135.7 rushing yards per outing. After holding Washington to 26 rushing yards in their 23-0 victory, the Bills dropped that season figure to 120 rushing yards per game.

In shaving 15.7 yards off their season average Buffalo jumped from 30th against the run to 19th in just one week. The 26 rushing yards allowed was the 10th lowest total permitted in a game in team history.

The Bills also tied a team record by not allowing a single first down rushing Sunday.


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Williams sees big jump for run ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on September 8, 2011 – 7:24 am

Bills DT Kyle Williams wasn’t shy in sharing his opinion on how big a jump he feels the team’s run defense can make this season.

“A lot better,” he said. “It can’t get any worse, I don’t think. We’ve added some good players. I think as you watch the film, it looks different in practice, our fits look different, our control on the line of scrimmage looks different, and it looked like that in the preseason game. So there’s no reason to believe it won’t be tons better. I don’t want to be a little bit better, I want to be tons better. Talking about 30 spots better, I’m talking about a lot better, that’s what I expect, that’s what I want.”

Buffalo finished 32nd in the league last season in run defense. 30 spots better would put them second best in football, a ranking held by the Chicago Bears last season.


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Coaches expecting better run ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on August 12, 2011 – 9:52 am

Buffalo’s players are expecting to be a better run defense in 2011, and signs have certainly been encouraging in training camp. The Bills coaches are also expecting marked improvement, which is why they’re just as anxious to see where the unit is at Saturday night in the preseason opener.

Bills defensive line coach Giff Smith made his expectations clear, but he’s also going to keep a close eye on the rookies to see how they handle things when the real bullets are flying.

“My expectation going into the first preseason game especially for the young guys is to see if they get wide-eyed and lose focus of the technique and the fundamentals that we worked hard on,” Smith told Buffalobills.com. “But I expect us to go out there and perform the way I think we can. We’re better than we were last year. Now you’ve got to prove it when you go out there against an opponent. It’s 11-on-11 and you’ve got to shut it down and make them a one dimensional offense and make them throw it, then we can heat it up and have some fun.”


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Jets run too much

Posted by Chris Brown on January 2, 2011 – 6:30 pm

The NY Jets ran 66 offensive plays in Sunday’s win over the Bills. On 50 of those plays they ran the ball.

Fifty rushes is the most the Bills have faced in a game since Nov. 15, 1993 when the Steelers rushed 50 times against Buffalo.

The Jets totaled 276 rushing yards, which is the most since the same Jets team rushed for 318 against them last October.


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Something has got to give

Posted by Chris Brown on December 13, 2009 – 7:03 am

We know both defenses in today’s game between the Bills and Chiefs have some major deficiencies. The question is which of those deficiencies plays a more prominent role in the outcome of the game.

Kansas City’s pass defense has been torched for big plays all season. They’ve given up a league high 15 pass plays of 40 yards or more. With deep threats like Lee Evans and Terrell Owens on the field I’d like to think the Bills can add to that total.

Of course Buffalo’s defense has a similar problem. They’ve surrendered a league high 15 runs of 20 yards or more.

So does Jamaal Charles run wild for the Chiefs?

My feeling is Buffalo’s wideouts will make 3 or 4 big plays and it will be the difference in the game.

When Buffalo’s defense has a poor outing like they did against the Jets they’re able to at least improve the next week. They’re not great, but they’re usually better.

A prime example would be their performance against Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew a week after letting Tennessee’s Chris Johnson go nuts.

They held Jones-Drew to 66 yards rushing. Here’s hoping for similar results against the Chiefs.


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Where Bills run ‘D’ is getting hurt

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2009 – 12:24 pm

Looking at a statistical analysis of Buffalo’s run defense it’s clear where their opponents are getting their chunk yardage on the ground.

Sure you can make the argument that their run defense struggles everywhere, but the numbers breakdown through the first eight games shows that their opponents are getting their biggest gains on the outside. Here’s the breakdown of where across Buffalo’s defensive front, from largest average gain to lowest, their opponents are most successful.

Bills left end – avg. gain 7.31 yards – (NFL rank 31st) – 29 plays
Bills right flank – avg. gain 7.08 yards – (NFL rank 27th) – 25 plays 
Bills left flank – avg. gain 6.81 yards – (NFL rank 25th) – 16 plays
Bills right interior – avg. gain 5.87 yards – (NFL rank 26th) – 46 plays
Bills right end – avg. gain 4.77 yards – (NFL rank 27th) – 31 plays  
Bills left interior – avg. gain 4.5 yards (NFL rank 25th) – 34 plays
Bills middle – avg. gain 4.23 yards (NFL rank 17th) – 78 plays 

What does it all mean? Tough to say. Sometimes overpursuit, which the Bills have been guilty of a number of times this season, leads to a cutback run to the opposite edge and a big gainer where nobody’s home. And that will bump up the average (e.g. Thomas Jones 60-plus yard run to the Bills left side in Week 6). Other times it is poor tackling or just getting beat on a play.

I’m just surprised the average gains are so large on the edges because this defensive scheme is based on flying to the football and pursuit. They have faster linebackers by design. We’d have to see every run play outside to see if speed to the ball is being hindered in some way, either by linemen getting to the second level or by poor reads or some other factor.

Regardless none of these numbers are all that good. They need to whittle some of these averages to under four yards per carry if the run defense is going to make any kind of noticeable improvements in the season’s second half.


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Rushing yards against a near record

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2009 – 2:14 am

The Bills defense came oh so close to setting a club record for most rushing yards allowed in a game in team history.

Buffalo surrendered 318 yards on the ground to the Jets, including 212 in the first half. The total was just two yards shy of the team record for most rushing yards allowed in franchise annals.

The Bills gave up 320 rushing yards to the Dallas Texans on Sept. 30, 1962 in a 41-21 loss.

The players feel the errors they had in the game can be corrected.

“We were upset with the amount of rushing yards they had, but the vast majority was on just two plays,” said Paul Posluszny. “On both of those plays we knew we just made mistakes. We got out of our gaps and we knew it was something we could easily correct. When Perry came in at halftime he said all we had to do was not panic, stick with our game plan and stick with everything we know  and it worked out for us.”

Hey at least Buffalo won yesterday.


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