Making the Grade: Which Buffalo Bills Have Rumbled and Stumbled in the First Half of the 2013 Season?

Running back C.J. Spiller has stumbled through the first half of the 2013 season for various reasons. (Photo: Robert Deutsch — USA Today Sports)

Bills Who Have Stumbled

C.J. Spiller (-10.6)

C.J. Spiller seemed destined for an outstanding season in 2013. He had a fantastic season in 2012, ranking as PFF’s second-best running back for the year after rushing for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns while gaining 459 yards and two touchdowns as a receivers. Additionally, the new coaching staff led by coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett stressed that Spiller would see a heavy workload in the offense this season.

Things haven’t gone according to plan for Spiller and the Bills in 2013. Spiller has struggled in every capacity of his game, and has negative ratings from PFF in rushing, receiving and pass blocking as a result.

In seven games played, Spiller has only 14 receptions for 36 yards, a far cry from his 2012 receiving success.

Spiller’s -6.5 rating in the run game is largely due to the way he is being used. Spiller has been asked to run a lot between the tackles, while his strength is making plays out in space. So far this season, Spiller has 362 yards on 90 carries for an average of only 4.0 yards per carry, down from 6.0 last season.

As a pass blocker, Spiller has been responsible for 2 quarterback hits and one quarterback hurry.

Besides the coaching staff misusing Spiller, he has also been slowed down with injuries, including a high ankle sprain he is still dealing with according to Marrone via BuffaloBills.com.

Jim Leonhard (-7.9)

Safety Jim Leonhard was signed off the streets just before the start of the 2013 NFL season, so he did not have much time to learn the Bills defense. That said, his knowledge of Mike Pettine’s defense is what made him an attractive option to the Bills. Yet at the halfway point of the season, Leonhard has cumulatively rated as Buffalo’s worst defender.

Leonhard’s negative rating comes mostly from run defense. In this category, Leonhard has a -7.0 rating. Leonhard has nine missed tackles in eight games, including four against the Miami Dolphins.

The rest of Leonhard’s categories aren’t too bad, though he also has a -0.9 rating in pass-rush. Leonhard has been used as a blitzing pass-rusher nine times this season, but he has not been credited with a quarterback sack, hit or hurry in those snaps.

His coverage rating is a +0.2 and his penalty rating is a -0.2. In 266 coverage snaps, Leonhard has been thrown at 19 times this season and has given up 13 receptions, three of which have gone for touchdowns. Leonhard has only one penalty called against him on the year.

With Jairus Byrd healthy and back in the starting lineup, Leonhard may be getting phased out of the Bills’ safety rotation. He only played 13 of 73 defensive snaps against the Saints.

Justin Rogers (-7.4)

Speaking of players getting phased out, cornerback ustin Rogers has certainly been. Rogers played 317 defensive snaps in the Bills’ first five games, but has been inactive since Week 6 due to his struggles in those games.

Rogers has specifically struggled in coverage, where his -8.8 PFF rating is the fourth-worst among NFL cornerbacks. Accoridng to PFF, Rogers has been targeted 39 times and is responsible for giving up 24 receptions for 462 yards and five touchdowns. His worst performance of the season came against the Jets, where he was responsible for allowing 247 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

The Bills are likely hoping Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin and company can stay healthy in the second half of the season so they can keep Rogers on the inactive list.

Scott Chandler (-3.2)

Tight end Scott Chandler is a valuable offensive player for the Buffalo Bills. He is not a guy who is going to break away from defenders, but he is a very large target and smart player. But while Chandler has had a decent season as a receiver with 29 receptions for 341 yards and two touchdowns, he has struggled as a blocker.

On the season, Chandler has two drops, but he hasn’t dropped a pass since Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. He has been called for three penalties, but two of the penalties occurred in Week 1 against the Patriots. The last occurred versus the New Orleans Saints, a blocking hold that nullified a deep touchdown pass from Thad Lewis to T.J. Graham.

While PFF has given Chandler a cumulative 0.5 screen block rating, his pass block rating is -2.5 and his run block rating is -1.8. Chandler has struggled in pass blocking and is responsible for one quarterback sack, one quarterback hit and one quarterback hurry. He was at his worst against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, picking up both the penalty and allowing a sack to accumulate a -2.3 pass blocking rating for the week.

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Tags: C.J. Spiller, Cordy Glenn, Jerry Hughes, Jim Leonhard, Justin Rogers, Kyle Williams, Making the Grade, Marcell Dareus, Midseason, Midseason Review, Scott Chandler

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