Will the Buffalo Bills Defense Help in 2010?

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After a 6-10 campaign in 2009, fans in frigid Buffalo are looking back fondly on the multiple Super Bowl defeats in the 1990s. If only they could get back to Super Bowl runner-up. Alas, that is not to happen. On paper, they may be a little better than 6-10, but definitely no better than 8-8.

Last year, Buffalo was just plain bad on offense. They were 28th in total points per game, and 30th in both passing yards and total yards. Part of the problem could be that the Bills employed two quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 1,422 yards and Trent Edwards threw for 1,169 yards. In early team get-togethers in the spring, it looks as if Trent Edwards is the #1 guy for the Bills going into 2010. Probably to have a clear go-to first stringer.

In 2009, Fred Jackson led the Bills in the backfield, running for a little over 1,000 yards. Look for the Bills to ratchet up this category significantly, with the addition of rookie C.J. Spiller. This running back from Clemson can do everything (he wasn’t a Heisman trophy candidate for nothing). He can line up just about anywhere. At Clemson, he often caught screen passes, then ran for a mile or so. He would frequently return kickoffs and punts too. As long as he stays healthy, he is Mr. All-Purpose, and Buffalo could not have made a better pick to shore up their running game.

The Bills lose their biggest receiver in Terrell Owens. Lee Evans is expected to be the big name here, and the bills drafted Marcus Easley, an athletic receiver with big-play ability from the University of Connecticut. The receivers will be solid – not spectacular, but solid.

The defensive unit for Buffalo is better than the offensive group. They were 2nd in passing yards allowed, 18th in points allowed, and 19th in total yards allowed. The biggest problem was against the run, where they were 30th. They hope that they addressed that in the draft in April. In round 2, they selected Torrell Troup (Central Florida), a big, powerful nosetackle who can stop the run and rush the passer effectively. In round 3, they picked up Alex Carrington, a defensive end from Arkansas State. He has good size, strength, and speed, and expects to play right off the bat.

Fortunately for Buffalo, their initial schedule should allow them to start out all right. They should enter their bye week (in week 6) at 3-2, after playing Miami, the Jets, and Jacksonville at home (which are all possibly wins) and Green Bay and New England on the road (the likely losses). They should be about .500 all season long, and will likely end there at 8-8. This improvement should help the faithful fans hold on another year, and give new coach Chan Gailey an opportunity to get a year or two under his belt before the hate mail starts.

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