Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-6

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2009 – 6:37 pm

More draft talk and free agency ideas. Email me at if you need an answer.

1. Hi Chris,
How do the  Bills offensive and defensive rankings compare this year to last?  I thought last year’s 7-9 was a lot of smoke and mirrors (could have been much worse), and that this year’s was more representative of how the team actually played. I’m a rare fan that
thinks keeping the coaching staff was the right thing.

CB: As for the rankings Buffalo improved in a lot of categories on both sides of the ball. Eight categories on offense were improved albeit marginally in a few cases. Here’s the breakdown.
Category                        2007            2008
Total offense                       30th              25th
Total yds per play            22nd              21st
Rushing per game             15th               14th
Rush avg.                              18th              15th
Pass yds per game             30th            22nd
1st downs per game          30th              21st
3rd down %age                   30th              17th
Pts. Per game                      30th              23rd

On defense they improved in 10 categories.
Category                   2007       2008
Total defense                 31st         14th
Total yds per play       28th        18th
Run defense                   25th       22nd
Rush avg. against        28th        21st
Pass defense                  29th        13th
Pass avg. against          24th       20th
Sacks per play               30th       26th
1st down allowed pg   29th        12th
3rd down defense        29th          9th
Pts. Allowed pg             18th        14th

I know some fans criticize these improvements citing the Bills easy schedule in terms of opponents’ winning percentage, but you can’t fault the team for who they have to play. They don’t gripe that they’ve got to play the Patriots twice a season. And their numbers are up against 31 other teams in the league who have certain scheduling benefits as well. So I think it’s a good sign that both sides of the ball saw improvement in these areas even if it was marginal improvement. Now they have to take those elements and improve in the most important category, which is the win column.


2. Hi Chris,
To me Poz seems like he’s not adept at shedding blockers near the line of scrimmage…..he makes lots of tackles, but seems like too many go for 5+ yards and not enough tough stuffs.  But Poz remains a good play maker…do you think he has the skill set to move to OLB so we might get a stud MLB like Rey Maualuga in the draft?
Rick Natelson

CB: I think Poz very accurately stated his shortcomings on locker clean out day at the end of the season. He said there were a lot of times where he felt he was half a step away from making a big play, and he chalked it up to simply not diagnosing plays quickly enough. That was due in part to the fact that he was essentially a rookie last season after playing just 2 ½ games in 2007.

With a full year under his belt I believe and so do his defensive coaches that he’ll make more big plays defensively in year three. That being said he did make a handful of big plays this season with his INT against the Jets, He also had a fumble recovery and a forced fumble on the season. He was also fourth on the team in pass breakups with 7. I think he’ll only get better and turn a lot more of those types of plays in come 2009.


3. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the probability of drafting a guy like Brian Orakpo from Texas with out 11th pick.  He’s a ‘Freak’, in the sense of DE’s like Peppers, and Kearse, etc.  Considering the Bills seem to understand their need for a pass rush, and with the drafting of Ellis last year, Would they be willing to take a guy like him at 11 or what direction do you think they might go with the 11? I realize it’s early, but it never hurts to hypothesize…
-Jonathan Wyman, VA

CB: I’m not overly optimistic that they’ll draft Orakpo at 11. First, there is a legitimate chance he might be off the board already, but if he is there the Bills and other teams might be reluctant to take a guy that high that has consistency issues. If at the college level Orakpo takes plays off and only goes hard about half the time, what happens in the NFL when the competition level goes up and the game is harder? He also has a straight speed rush move up the field and not much else. That isn’t going to cut it in the NFL. He’s a freakish athlete, but when teams are taking a player that high, they want 100 percent effort down in and down out and the tape doesn’t show that on Orakpo, which isn’t uncommon for Texas players unfortunately.


4. Chris,
What are your opinions on OJ Atogwe from St. Louis?  I have a feeling Buffalo could make him one of their top priorities in the off season.  They brought in McCree last off season and to me that made me think they are not sold on Ko Simpson.  And know with his legal troubles in SC I think it’s likely we look for a playmaker to pair with Whitner.
He’s still young and has good stats.  It makes a lot of sense to me to make a run at him, that’s if St. Louis does not franchise tag him.
Dan Thompson

CB: I think Otogwe might be the best young free agent in the draft as the safety position. But the Bills have a lot of more pressing issues than safety. The reason I say that is because I think Whitner will be the FS next year with Scott the SS, and that tandem I believe can be very effective and get more turnovers if the pass rush improves. It’s certainly more stable that some of the other positional areas that need to be upgraded by Buffalo.


5. The Bills need help at WR, with Hardy out with the ACL injury and his development delayed, do you see us making a move for Antonio Bryant? Even if just for a one year deal until Hardy can hopefully start to step up. I know we had interest in him last offseason and he did put up some big numbers this year.
Waterloo, Canada

CB: I don’t see the Bills going after Antonio Bryant. Not because he wouldn’t be an upgrade, but because the Bills have a lot of money tied up in the receiver position. Lee Evans is a top five wideout in the league in terms of salary. Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish both make over $2M each in 2009. To invest heavily, which is what it will cost, to land Bryant is something that can’t be done. I think what’s more realistic is a two-year deal for a vet like Amani Toomer, who could be had for reasonable money. Bryant will be looking for upwards of $7 million a season.

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