(Photo Credit: Icon SMI)
It’s amazing to think the Bills outscored the Dolphins, 21.2 PPG to 19.8 PPG in 2013, and still finished last in the AFC East at 6-10. The offense has room to improve in the passing game and the defense, which wasn’t bad, has room to improve in the rush defense.
On offense, the Bills boasted the second best rushing attack in the league, averaging 144.2 YPG, and finishing the season top-ten in rushing touchdowns scored (15). But, the passing was one of the worst, averaging just 193.9 YPG, and finishing the season tied for second to last in passing touchdowns scored (16). To some degree, this isn’t a surprise as the Bills threw the football 522 times, compared to rushing the football 408 times! Well, CJ Spiller who played with a high ankle sprain for a part of last season and Fred Jackson, who turns 33 years old on February 20th, can’t be expected to play a full season when carrying such a load. Quarterback EJ Manuel should be expected to step up in his second season in 2014, after being a game manager, for the most part, in 2013. That said, the Bills offensive line allowed 48 sacks, fifth most in the league, and 108 quarterback hits, fourth most in the league. Expect the Bills to address the offensive line this offseason.
On defense, the Bills were a league high second in sacks (57) and interceptions (23). Still, the team was 20th in points allowed (24.2 PA). Of interest, the Bills were fourth in pass yards allowed at 204.4 YPG but gave up the sixth most passing touchdowns at 28. Then, the Bills allowed the fifth most rush yards per game at 128.9 YPG but gave up the sixth least rushing touchdowns at 10. With the exception of safety Jairus Bird, the Bills are returning most of their core defensive players. With Mike Pettine now the head coach of the Browns, the Bills hired formers Lions head coach Jim Schwartz as the team’s new defensive coordinator. When Schwartz was defensive coordinator for the Titans from 2002-2008, the Titans were a top ten defense in four of seven seasons. In general, the Bills have the personnel in place (re-signing Bird would be nice) to improve even further. (Bills Depth Chart & List Free Agents Here)
Free agents include: TE Scott Chandler, FS Jairus Byrd, FS Jim Leonhard, DE Alex Carrington, LB Arthur Moats, and K Dan Carpenter.
Top-Positional Needs: T, G, FS, DT, CB, C, LB
Can’t get enough Bills? Read TFG’s one-on-one interview with DT Corbin Bryant!