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View Full Version : Football Outsiders Almanac Question/Nugget - Buffalo Bills



GBPKS
07-20-2010, 04:37 PM
I think a lot of people on this side respect the work of Aaron Schatz and his crew from Football Outsiders. The Football Outsiders Almanac is a must-read every year, and I thought it would be interesting to post something from each of the teams' chapters on this forum and get some conversation going. Out of respect to Football Outsiders, I won't post here what their projected record or playoff percentages are, but just an interesting tidbit from the team's chapter to see what their fans think.

So, for the Buffalo Bills:

The problems with the Bills passing game on offense are pretty well documented, as is their depth at running back. Football Outsiders points out that the Bills pass defense ranked pretty well last year, but now they are changing their scheme to a 3-4 and Football Outsiders believes most of Buffalo's defensive personnel is ill equipped to play the 3-4.

I admit to knowing very little about the Bills defense - but I know that reputationally they have always been strong on defense and special teams.

What can Bills fans tell me about the changes the team is going through on defense?

trh5001
07-20-2010, 06:09 PM
Statistically they had one of the best passing defenses in the league last year but thats pretty easy to do when you give up 300 yards a game on the ground. The switch to the 3-4 is going to be tough with out a surefire nosetackle they think they addressed that in the second round of the draft but the guy they drafted was projected as a later round pick so who knows whats going to happen their. As for special teams april left at the end of last season so who knows how thats going to play out. May be the only team with 4 quality kick returners though.

MGF101523
07-21-2010, 10:47 AM
We're definitely not equipped for a 3-4 defense. Not. At. All.

We don't have 4 quality LBs...or 3...or even two. If you can convince yourself that Paul Posluszny is decent go ahead - yes, he puts up strong numbers in terms of tackles, but wouldn't you if RBs moved through your D-line like they're on turnstyles. He's not really an IMPACT LB - he'd be great as the 2nd or 3rd best LB of the starting 4 in a 3-4 scheme. And we'll have to see how Aaron Maybin turns out while moving to OLB (yet another poor Bills draft pick - Brian Orakpo anyone? How in the world did we pass on him? Oh yeah, we're the Bills).

And, yes, the D-line is without a stud nosetackle. I'd argue we don't have a quality DE either (how is Marcus Stroud going to do in that transition?). At least Aaron Schobel will no longer be with us (I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the most OVERRATED DE in the NFL for quite a few years).

But our pass defense will certainly be strong again - it has to be as teams run all over us. The only bright spot will be Jairus Byrd again.

Maybe the coaching staff wanted to switch to a 3-4 defense to the offense could have more practice against the 3-4 (as Bills fans know we routinely get murdered by 3-4 schemes). Regardless, a good staff adapts to the players they have - they DO NOT force players into a scheme.

Swami
07-21-2010, 12:13 PM
Hey, the Bills were ill-equipped to play the 4-3 defense last year!

I actually think their depth at cornerback might give them a fighting chance to pull this thing off. Heard a good comment on WGR550 on the weekend. While everyone is down on the Bills' prospects this year, it's hard to think of a unit that projects to be worse next year than last year. I continue to believe despair should at least be deferred until late October.

trh5001
07-22-2010, 01:33 AM
The Bills linebackers aren't bad for a 3-4 assuming Maybin can make the transition. I don't know of anyone who rated Schobel outside of the middle of the pack so saying he was overrated is a bit of an overstatement. As for Poz he is the perfect inside linebacker in the 3-4. He gets to cover less ground which helps to mitigate his speed and he is in perfect position to make tackled on run plays.

Danno
07-22-2010, 01:24 PM
I read the chapter on the Bills and thought they were a little harsh on them. They start the chapter by saying the Bills are becoming the laughing stock of the NFL (along with the Raiders). Then they say they don't see them doing that good for the reasons you mention. Then they go on to say that the Bills were something like 2nd overall in injuries, they only added players (didn't loose anyone significant other than T.O.) and they were pretty good at pass defense last year. I actually think they will have a decent year. They can only be better then last year. Mind you they do have the 2nd toughest schedule in the NFL according to the Almanac calculations... Everyone is bashing them, but i think they will surprise alot of people.

GBPKS
07-22-2010, 02:18 PM
I read the chapter on the Bills and thought they were a little harsh on them. They start the chapter by saying the Bills are becoming the laughing stock of the NFL (along with the Raiders). Then they say they don't see them doing that good for the reasons you mention. Then they go on to say that the Bills were something like 2nd overall in injuries, they only added players (didn't loose anyone significant other than T.O.) and they were pretty good at pass defense last year. I actually think they will have a decent year. They can only be better then last year. Mind you they do have the 2nd toughest schedule in the NFL according to the Almanac calculations... Everyone is bashing them, but i think they will surprise alot of people.

The Bills are one of those teams that you smile when you see them on your schedule, because you look at the quarterback situation, but they are tough to beat because they play so well on special teams and have historically played well on defense, and they certainly have added depth at running back.

I think the Bills will be around 6-10 this season - but that 6-10 will look an awful lot like the Raiders' season last year where they knock off some pretty good teams but then lose some dog games as well.

trh5001
07-22-2010, 02:38 PM
I think the bills will probably go 5-11 or 6-10. I don't think they will be as bad as most people think (alot of analysts have them drafting number 1).

ScottDCP
07-25-2010, 11:00 PM
Their corners do well in man coverage, their safeties, if Whitner is in the game, do not excel against the run, though they're solid tacklers if they get to the guy. The LB's are slow, especially if Kelsay will be one of them. They haven't had more than two good D-linemen since Donohoe and Williams decided Schobel-Washington-Hansen wasn't good enough and also that they needed more D-linemen on the field at the same time. They're not screwed this year, but it relies heavily on the front seven, so they'll be middle of the pack. The defense still tends to own the offense in practice, so I expect them to be no worse in the 3-4 than they have been in the 4-3 (the only really good year they had since 99, LeBeau was calling the shots).

Pruitt
07-26-2010, 02:27 PM
As has been said earlier, the Bills' pass defense graded out well statistically because teams ran right through them. As for a switch to a 3-4, it can't hurt. It's really a toss up as to which part of the defense is weaker, the line or the linebackers. Might as well try something.

ScottDCP
07-26-2010, 04:24 PM
As has been said earlier, the Bills' pass defense graded out well statistically because teams ran right through them. As for a switch to a 3-4, it can't hurt. It's really a toss up as to which part of the defense is weaker, the line or the linebackers. Might as well try something.

Right on. In recent years I have often wondered why anyone bothered throwing against Buffalo, until I would see them regularly convert third and 17. Hope springs.

Swami
07-28-2010, 04:00 PM
Troup signed and only Spiller o/s. I bet he's signed in reasonable time. This new regime is professional. That's got to be a plus. Last year they were 6-10 but could have won Pats, Browns, Jags and Jets games. Not that they were a top-tier team by any means, but had they been on the right side of luck, they'd have been an overrated 10-6 team!

So, with fewer injuries, better coaching and a possibly good draft, why not be optimistic at this stage of the season? Our coach has never missed the playoffs!!! So many players coming back from injuries as well. If Gailey works QB magic as he has in the past with stiffs, the wild card is within reach. And I'll hold that thought until we're mathematically eliminated!

ScottDCP
07-28-2010, 04:22 PM
I am most curious about the impact of the new strength and conditioning coaches. It seems there's been a problem from the day Rusty Jones was let go, and Buffalo has been among the league leaders in significant injuries for a decade. Hope bounces.

Swami
07-31-2010, 08:21 AM
I just received my hard copy Football Outsiders and read Aaron's Bills comments. I can't believe how lopsidedly negative they were. Not too statistically based, either. Just "what a bunch of bozos this organization is, they did everything wrong in the off-season." Kind of what I'd expect from a rookie newspaper columnist, to be honest.

Could all prove true but I just sense a professional approach about this group. I don't see regression like everyone else does.

trh5001
08-03-2010, 01:54 AM
I don't see regression but at the same time I do think they botched the draft Spiller wasn't a need(I do believe that in the draft you should take the best available player but not when you have as many deficiencies as the Bills do) also Troupe could have been taken in the 3rd round why waste the pick.