We are basically two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams get ready for mini-camps and OTAs, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. We’ve already checked out the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. Next up are the Buffalo Bills.
Only three teams – the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins – allowed more yards on the ground this past season than the Buffalo Bills. The club surrendered a disturbing 133.1 yards per contest rushing and on three occasions watched one player run for 200-plus yards in a game. Dolphins’ running back Jay Ajayi accomplished the feat twice against this club, while Pittsburgh Steelers’ workhorse Le’Veon Bell’s 236-yard outing in Week 14 at Orchard Park was the NFL’s top rushing performance of 2016. New head coach Sean McDermott is hoping to change that dramatically.
And there’s more defensive issues. A look at the final numbers this past year shows that the Bills’ pass rush improved dramatically from ’15. That season, the team ranked next-to-last in the league with 21 quarterback traps. The club rebounded with 39 sacks in 2016 but those numbers are somewhat deceptive. The likes of Lorenzo Alexander (12.5), Jerry Hughes (6) and Marcell Dareus (3.5) totaled 30 of those sacks in the team’s first nine games. Hence, Buffalo’s pass rush dropped opposing signal-callers just nine times during the club’s 3-4 finish.
For basically two decades, the Buffalo Bills have been looking for a reliable successor to Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Tyrod Taylor has been the team’s top signal-caller for the past two seasons but the franchise wound up restructuring his contract back in March (via ESPN’s Mike Rodak). It’s safe to say that he’s been pretty productive considering the lack of support from the defense. In 29 games with the club, he thrown more than three times as many touchdown passes (37) as interceptions (12) and had been guilty of only 15 total turnovers. He’s also rushed for 10 scores over that span as well. That’s hardly the kind of numbers a team should be disappointed with.