Inside The Bills

Personnel packages that work for Bills run game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 30, 2017 – 9:26 am

It’s a statistical breakdown that has its fair share of variables at work, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Below is a listing of the personnel packages that have proven most productive when LeSean McCoy runs the ball this season.

These stats are courtesy of ESPN Stats Inc. and only count personnel groupings that have been used for at least 10 carries by McCoy this season.

We should preface these yards per carry averages by noting that the caliber of opponent in which these personnel groupings were used obviously changed from week to week and that certainly impacts the measure of success listed below. Still, it’s an interesting look at what has worked well for Buffalo’s run game this season.

Personnel Pos. breakdown Total rushing yards Yards per carry
11 1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR 246 5.02
21 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR 147 3
12 1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR 102 2.76
22 2 RB, 2 TE, 1 WR 131 4.85
21 (6 OL) 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR 103 9.36

Eleven personnel has been Buffalo’s most popular personnel grouping this season by a wide margin, and seeing the level of production that formation produces in the run game makes it understandable.

The Saints were one team that took an interesting approach to that formation. Usually with three WRs on the field a defense will go to their nickel package (5 DBs) to match a corner on the third receiver. New Orleans decided to stay in their base defense (3 LBs, 4 DBs) knowing the Bills run a good deal out of that personnel grouping and they were very effective. Buffalo failed to make them change out of that approach by not beating them in mismatches in the pass game.

It will be interesting to see if New England takes a similar approach.

Perhaps the most surprising stat is how when the Bills use Seantrel Henderson as a sixth lineman, their success is pretty significant. This formation usually is a dead giveaway that Buffalo is going to run the ball, but still with six linemen and a fullback, there’s outstanding production on average.

Twenty-two personnel has fared well for the Bills all season as evidenced by the average. In fact it was the personnel grouping that got Buffalo off to a good start on their only touchdown drive last week when they used it on their first two plays of the series and got 10 and seven-yard runs from McCoy. It got the offense into a good rhythm and led to the Zay Jones touchdown reception.

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