Posts Tagged ‘Positional Preview’

2013 Buffalo Bills Positional Previews: Defensive Backs

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Stephon Gilmore is expected to play a crucial role as the Bills’ No. 1 cornerback in his sophomore season. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

There is a cautious optimism about Buffalo’s defense this year. Fans are looking forward to a more aggressive defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine after witnessing last year’s vanilla defense under Dave Wannstedt. But for Buffalo’s defense to be successful, the defensive backs need to hold their own against their opposition.

During his time in New York, Mike Pettine had cornerbacks like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to depend on and decent safeties last season in LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. The only proven player in Buffalo’s secondary is Jairus Byrd, and he is yet to sign his franchise tender.

Can Buffalo’s secondary do enough to allow Pettine to blitz as much as he would like? Here are Buffalo’s current options in the secondary and what you can expect from them in 2013.

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2013 Buffalo Bills Positional Previews: Wide Receivers

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Stevie Johnson is the veteran standout of the Buffalo Bills’ receiving corps, but he will have plenty of competition for targets this season. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

Revamp. If there’s one word that I would use to describe the difference in the Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver roster from 2012 to 2013, it would be revamp. The Bills said goodbye to three of their receivers from last season’s roster (Donald Jones, David Nelson and Ruvell Martin). When the team makes its final cuts, I expect there to be at least one more wide receiver added to the “goodbye” list.

This offseason, the Bills decided against tendering both Donald Jones and David Nelson, with Nelson coming off of a torn ACL. The Bills made it apparent that they were going to add wide receivers to their roster via free agency or the NFL draft.

Free agency came and went and no wide receivers were added, but they addressed the position in the draft. The Bills selected USC’s Robert Woods in Round 2 and Texas’ Marquise Goodwin in Round 3. The Bills also numerous wide receivers as undrafted free agents, including troubled but talented wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers.

On paper, the Bills took an area of weakness at wide receiver and turned it into one of strength. Expectations will be high for Stevie Johnson and his company among the Bills’ receiving corps in 2013.

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BBD Week in Review: 7/1-7/7

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Keith Pough told Buffalo Bills Draft last week that his rookie season goals are to start on the Bills defense and to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The countdown to the beginning of Buffalo Bills training camp is within three weeks. Here at Buffalo Bills Draft, we continued strong with the countdown process over the course of this past week, looking ahead to the season in a variety of ways.

From Undrafted Rookie to Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Buffalo Bills linebacker Keith Pough may have gone undrafted, but he is setting high goals for his rookie season: to earn a starting spot on the Bills’ defense and to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Find out what else Pough told me in his exclusive interview with Buffalo Bills Draft.

Could the Bills Challenge The New England Patriots for the AFC East Division Title?

With a new coach and new quarterbacks in Buffalo, many Bills fans are feeling optimistic about their team going into the 2013 season. Combining that optimism with a tumultuous offseason in New England, some Bills fans have gone as far to consider that the Bills could challenge the New England Patriots for the AFC East division championship this season.

Is challenging the Patriots for a division title a realistic possibility, or ridiculous hope for a still-rebuilding team? Glenn Gifford, Eric Samulski and I weighed in on whether problems in New England are opening the door for the Bills.

Positional Previews

In his new offseason series here at BBD, Ryan Talbot is breaking down the Buffalo Bills’ roster position-by-position, and previewing what we should expect from each position group in the 2013 season. Ryan started out this week with two marquee offensive skill positions: quarterback and running back.

What will the Bills get from new quarterback additions E.J. Manuel and Kevin Kolb? Will C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson form one of the NFL’s best running back tandems this season? You can see Ryan’s analysis on both of those questions and much more at the links above.

If you’re looking for even more quarterback analysis, you should also take a look at Joe Marino’s breakdown of Kolb’s career through the years.

More From The NFL Draft Sites Network


2013 Buffalo Bills Positional Previews: Running Backs

Friday, July 5th, 2013

If C.J. Spiller is utilized properly and Fred Jackson stays healthy, they could be one of the NFL’s best running back tandems in 2013. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

There aren’t many positions on the Buffalo Bills that make other teams envious, but running back is definitely one of them. The combination of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson as a one-two punch is exciting, especially after Spiller’s breakout 2012 season. After Buffalo’s “dynamic duo,” however, the rest of the depth chart is uncertain.

What should Bills fans expect from the running back position in 2013? Take a look and see.

C.J. Spiller

In 2012, C.J. Spiller made the most of his opportunities. It took Spiller 207 carries to rush for 1,244 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He also added 43 receptions for 459 yards and two touchdowns. Besides touchdown receptions, all of those were career-high numbers.

In 2013, expect Spiller to see new career highs in carries and receptions. First, there’s finally no argument: Spiller IS Buffalo’s lead back. In 2012, the dynamic rusher saw a shade under 13 carries per game on average. His workload is going to increase in his fourth year.

As for receptions, this projection is based upon head coach Doug Marrone’s time in New Orleans as offensive coordinator. During his three years with the Saints (2006-2008), Reggie Bush averaged 71 receptions per season. No disrespect to Bush, but Spiller is more dangerous in the open field and Marrone will use this to his advantage.

Don’t be surprised if Spiller leads the league in running back receptions in 2013.

Fred Jackson

While Jackson is no longer the lead back in Buffalo’s backfield, he’ll still play an important role in the Bills’ offense in 2013.

Jackson will be the Bills’ go-to option in short yardage and goal-line situations. As pointed out by Rotoworld’s Mike Clay, Spiller received zero carries within the 4-yard line in 2012. While elusive, Spiller’s 5’11, 200-pound frame isn’t ideal for grinding out tough yards. Jackson will be the beneficiary of this as he has shown his ability to run inside the tackles in the past.

Jackson knows he will have to prove himself with a new coaching staff. In a piece written by Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News, Jackson said he can still play at a high level.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “I still feel like I can play at a very high level, and all I need is the opportunity to do so. Yes, I had some injuries last year, but I feel without those I could have done some things for us.”

Injuries should worry Bills fans most when it comes to Jackson. Clay pointed out that Jackson has missed 12 of Buffalo’s last 32 games with injuries.

At age 32, Jackson may actually benefit from being the team’s second running back. He’ll still receive his fair share of carries but won’t have to worry about the wear and tear of being an every-down back. This may also help Jackson in terms of ball security. In 2012, Jackson tied his career high with five fumbles and set a new career high of four fumbles lost. Those are clearly not totals that Jackson hopes to increase in 2013.

After Jackson, the team will most likely only carry only one other back. The candidates to be the team’s third running back come down to Tashard Choice, Drew Smith and Zach Brown. Kendall Gaskins, while listed as a running back, will most likely be competing with Frank Summers at fullback.

Tashard Choice

Choice, the veteran among the three running backs hoping to make the Bills, had a solid 2012 season as the team’s third running back. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry and carried the ball 47 times for the team. Against the Browns, Choice had 20 carries for 91 yards when Spiller exited the game with an injury, with Jackson already out for that game.

Choice is not nearly as talented as Spiller and Jackson, but he does well in a limited role. It’s something that Doug Marrone will certainly consider when deciding on the Bills’ final 53-man roster.

Drew Smith

Don’t be shocked if Drew Smith beats out Choice for the team’s third running back. Smith had quite a career at Albany where he ran for 3,196 career rushing yards and 45 touchdowns. Pete Harris, a scouting assistant for the Bills, told BuffaloBills.com about Smith’s power.

“If he keeps his pads down he’s going to run you over,” said Harris. “Obviously it’s a big jump up in competition, but aside from his rushing ability he’s great in pass protection. He is physical and will stone blitzers. He likes contact and can catch the ball out of the backfield and did a lot for them.”

Now would be an ideal time for the Bills to add more youth to their backfield. With Jackson being 32 years old, the team would like to groom someone who could eventually replace him.

Smith is a talented runner and like Jackson, he is outstanding at picking up blitzes, although picking up blitzes in college is much different than doing so in the NFL. Smith also had 51 receptions in his final two collegiate seasons. If Smith makes the Bills’ roster, you won’t see him much in 2013 unless an injury occurs. That said, the team would have a possible heir apparent to Jackson.

Zach Brown

Brown was a member of the Bills’ practice squad in 2012 and signed a future contract with the team on December 31. That being said, don’t expect much from Brown. The former Pitt running back can run well between the tackles, but he lacks burst. He faces an uphill battle to make the team’s roster in 2013.

 

Bills fans, who do you see making the team’s roster at running back? What expectations do you have for each back? Share your responses with us here at Buffalo Bills Draft!

Additional Positional Previews:

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends/Fullbacks

Offensive Line

Defensive Line

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Specialists

 


2013 Buffalo Bills Positional Previews: Quarterbacks

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The Buffalo Bills have a brand new trio of quarterbacks in town this summer with rookies E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel working alongside veteran Kevin Kolb. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

No one should wish summer away, but we’re less than one month away from training camp. We are (slowly) getting closer to actual football being played.

Throughout the month of July, we will be breaking down each section of the Buffalo Bills’ roster through an eight-part Positional Preview series here at Buffalo Bills Draft. The series starts at the quarterback position, one of Buffalo’s most intriguing positions.

The Bills have two realistic options to be starting quarterback: EJ Manuel, the team’s first round draft pick, or Kevin Kolb, a veteran free-agent addition this offseason. In addition to the two quarterbacks vying for the starting position, the Bills also have Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie, fighting for a roster spot.

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