Inside The Bills

What is the Anderson role?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 21, 2012 – 10:35 am

Free agent DE Mark Anderson, who is visiting with the Bills at One Bills Drive here on Wednesday, was a part time player for the Patriots last season before fellow DE Andre Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the year. The question is what do NFL clubs see him doing for them? Do they want him as a starter or a pass rush specialist?

Anderson was only on the field for 47% of the team’s defensive snaps according to’s Mike Reiss. To put that into numbers Anderson played 640 of the club’s 1361 defensive plays from scrimmage in 2011. Almost two-thirds of those plays were pass rush situations (419). The pass rusher however, was pretty darn productive in his limited time on the field.

He had 10 sacks, which tied for the team lead and 36 QB pressures, which was also a team high. In addition according to ProFootballFocus’ ratings he graded out as the second best defensive player for the Patriots in the 2011 season tied with LB Rob Ninkovich. Only Andre Carter graded higher.

One final note from PFF. Though he was credited with 10 sacks on the season, the film reviewers at Pro Football Focus felt he should’ve been credited for being in on 15.

With all this in mind some of the teams that Anderson has already visited have likely offered him a full time role believing more snaps will lead to even more production from Anderson. However, Anderson’s two best seasons in terms of sacks came in his rookie season and last year when he had a rotational role.

It bears watching to see where Anderson ultimately lands knowing the chance to start is what presumably would be most attractive to him. It gives him more opportunities to make plays and would also land him a bigger pay day. Miami, Baltimore, Tennessee and Jacksonville are among the other clubs interested. New England would also be interested in re-signing him, but at their price.


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