Found August 07, 2012 on Buddy Nixon:

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Buffalo Bills for the upcoming season is whether or not the offense will be able to take the next step forward and make the most of the extra possessions that will inevitably come with having a much improved defense. Finishing with a ranking of 14th overall last year was a big boost for a unit that is still trying to find an identity and grow into head coach Chan Gailey’s complex system.

The limited amount of personnel moves should come as a surprise to no one. It’s clearly evident that Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey whole-heartedly believe in their core group of players. Under Buddy Nix and Gailey, the Bills have implemented a strategic plan for identifying and developing the players on their roster that they feel can play specific roles. This has becoming increasingly more evident by the way their quick strike offense has been set up.

For three years now the team has started to collect big, stout offensive lineman who can attack the opponent’s defensive front seven. Several unheralded players such as Eric Pears, Chad Rinehart, Kraig Urbik and Chris Hairston join rookie 2nd round draft pick Cordy Glenn and mainstays Eric Wood and Andy Levitre, on a line that will continually physically wear down and “body” defensive lines all game long. What was just as impressive as their tremendous job of consistently opening up holes in the run game was the fact that this oft-injured (patchwork at time last year) line was able to keep QB Ryan Fitzpatrick upright, allowing the least quarterback sacks in the league last year. A large part of the credit has to go to the Bills effective utilization of their “zone blocking” scheme. The Bills employ a blocking scheme similar to the one that Mike Shanahan perfected with the Denver Broncos in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

This particular type of blocking scheme calls for offensive linemen to team up to protect an area of the field, particularly against teams that stunt or slant to a defensive gap on the snap of the ball. For example, a tackle and guard may team up to block a linebacker and defensive tackle, the blocking scheme for each offensive player depending on whether the linebacker and tackle play straight up or the linebacker stunts inside. Zone blocking depends on the concept of team blocking, and its principles are built by getting movement off the line of scrimmage, blocking all gaps and seams, and securing an area to the play-side of the hole.

The end result of running the ball this way is that it allows for backs with great vision and patience to be especially effective. Anyone who regularly watches the Bills will agree that watching Freddy set up his blocks downfield is a thing of beauty. You can already tell that CJ Spiller has benefited exponentially from watching Jackson handle his business on the field. He thrived when he was thrown into the starting lineup last year after Fred went down with his leg injury. CJ has made strides in becoming an every down back. More than anything it’s his ball-carrying vision and patience that has greatly improved since his rookie year. You can bet the house that watching Jackson has had everything to do with it.

This year with Fred Jackson playing in his prime and CJ Spiller getting ready to explode onto the national scene, all while playing behind one of THE BEST offensive lines in the league, I fully expect this two-headed monster to terrorize the NFL. I believe this will become the year wear FredEx and CJ are passed the torch for best running back duo in the league.
PREDICTION: *Fred Jackson 1,375 yards rushing – 11 all purpose TD’s *CJ Spiller 939 yards rushing– 13 all purpose TD’s

One of the biggest surprises of the off season was the Bills decision to  decline bringing in a proven #2 wide receiver. After a failed attempt to sign UFA Robert Meachem, the team never did more than even blink at the rest of the WR free agent pool. This told me precisely two things about the Chan Gailey and the Bills coaching staff. The first of which is that  they really liked Bob Meachem and probably believed he was by far and away the best WR available fit for the scheme across from Stevie Johnson on the outside. After Meachem signed his contract with Chargers, their has been several other high profile, veteran receivers available including the likes of Braylon Edwards, Bernard Berrian, Mike Sims-Walker, Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress all of which, to varying extents could serve as the team’s #2 receiver on at least a one-year contract/basis.

Chan Gailey has gone on record several times this offseason stating that both he and his coaching staff are A LOT higher on their receiving core than most people outside of the locker room are. Fortunately for us, that’s definitely a good sign of things to come for the current group. If we know one thing, it’s that Gailey and Nix are blunt to a fault. They tell it like they see it. Like I mentioned in my Defensive Season Preview, the two southern boys have done more than enough to have earned the trust of Bills fans.

In his 3rd year in Gailey’s spread system, cerebral QB Ryan Fitzpatrick orchestrates a quick strike passing offense in which Fitzpatrick deftly distributes the ball to his receivers in a similar fashion to that of a point guard in the NBA. It has become a perfect system for the Bills field general to take advantage of his strong points. The offense, predicated by timely throws to receivers in space to maximize yards after the catch, is a great fit for Fitzpatrick’s ability to dissect coverage and his quick release on throws. It’s that quick release and stellar play of his offensive line that should allow him to remain relatively clean. If the offensive line can begin to jell and grow as a unit, don’t be surprised to see the Bills take more shots down the field this yard. Better pass protection and the arrival of young deep threats like TJ Graham and Marcus Easley, should balance a passing game that has generally been more of a horizontal attack by creating some big play potential down the field. With the improvement of his throwing mechanics under the tutelage of new quarterbacks coach David Lee, Fitzpatrick may finally have the necessary touch and accuracy to make him a certified gunslinger in the NFL. Let’s hope so, because the Bills are already paying him like one
PREDICTION: *Ryan Fitzpatrick 4,214 yards passing –33TD’s, 15INT’s


In terms of the production the Bills look for in their wide receiving corps, players that see the field are expected to know every receiver position, be an able blocker, and have the timing of their routes in sync with the quarterback. “The horizontal timing concepts allow the quarterback to make quick reads. Horizontal timing concepts allow Buffalo quarterbacks to get rid of the ball very quickly, a plus for the quarterback and the offensive line.”

Second, as Buffalo Rumblings pointed out in article earlier this summer, Gailey likes to allow his playmakers a lot of freedom to win one-on-one matchups with defenders. Horizontal timing requires quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw to a spot on the field. The receiver’s job is to be there at a specific time. How he gets there is up to the receiver. Gailey preaches “beat the man.” Part of that is beating the defender in coverage to the spot. Beating the man begins and ends with Stevie Johnson. The past two seasons have shown that SJ13 is a legitimate number one receiver in the NFL. Stevie who is one of the best route runners in league put up his second consecutive 1,000 yard+ season facing every team’s best cover man, all while playing with a partially torn groin. The scary part is that he has yet to reach his full potential. Look for Stevie to increase has consistency and build on his numbers from the last two seasons finding himself in the Pro Bowl at year’s end.  (A lot of you know that Stevie owns Revis, few of you remember he’s owned him since his rookie year.)
PREDICTION: *Stevie Johnson 92 REC 1,316 yards –12 TD’s

Donald Jones could be the one Bills player primed for a breakout season. Jones has the speed and size to effectively make plays on the outside with the strength to break tackles, and being a great blocker in the run game. The former undrafted free agent from Youngstown State should be able to take advantage of a ton of single coverage on his side.
PREDICTION: *Donald Jones 63 REC 789yards –5 TD’s

For all intents and purposes David Nelson serves as the teams #2 wide receiver. Operating out of the slot allows for Nelson to consistently beat defensive coverage down the seam and be a reliable 3rd down target for Fitzpatrick with his height and his strong hands.
PREDICTION: *David Nelson 79 REC 894yards – 7TD’s

Scott Chandler is the poster child for under the radar pick-ups by the Nix and Gailey regime. The two managed to pry Chandler out of Dallas by attempting to sign one of the Cowboys other young tight ends knowing there was a good chance they would leave Chandler susceptible to being picked up through waivers. The plan worked and the Bills brass ended up with the big, sure-handed tight end that they coveted. Chandler is a good safety valve when plays break down and a great red zone target.
PREDICTION: *Scott Chandler 41 REC 487yards -6 TD’s

The jury is still out on H-back Dorin Dickerson. The former Pitt Panther seems to really have caught on with the Bills after spending times with three other teams in his young career. Gailey likes what Dickerson offers as a receiver out of the backfield and as a blocker. He’s freakishly athletic at 6’2, 227lbs. and still runs in the 4.4 range. Expect Dorin to be used in a Chris Cooley-esque way this season. His speed alone could make for a few big receptions this season.

When all is said and done, the 2012 season should see the Buffalo Bills offense, become a top 10 unit in the NFL. Stay tuned for more in depth analysis as the season goes on, by yours truly “Vagabonds”.


Scott May Play More Linebacker Than Moats or Morrison

In a blog post made by Chris Brown today, Dave Wannstedt stated that he sees safety-turned-linebacker Bryan Scott as a starter in their defense, given that he will be the linebacker next to Nick Barnett in the nickel.  Scott, who has switched between the two positions over the past few seasons, was made a full-time linebacker earlier in this offseason. This certainly isn’t breaking...

Buffalo Bills 2013 Franchise Tag Candidates

G Andy Levitre Andy Levitre emerged as one of the best guards in the league last season and he also played some center and left tackle, so he’s got plenty of versatility. However, guards and centers are rarely franchise tagged because the franchise tag value for interior linemen is the same as for tackles and interior linemen just aren’t worth as much. Unless Levitre ends up...

Buffalo Bills: Offensive Line Still Problematic

The disaster that became the Buffalo Bills' 2011 season was seen to be largely blamed on the poor performance of the injured offensive line. The big boys of the offense started out tremendously and their work during the 5-2 start was enough to carry them to the fewest sacks in the NFL, as well as ranking them fifth in rushing yards per carry. However, a lack of depth and...

Bills' Moats competing with Morrison for OLB job

Now that Arthur Moats has settled into practicing just one position in the Buffalo Bills defense, the jack-of-all-trades player has performed so well at outside linebacker that he's challenging for a starting job. That was defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt's view on Tuesday, when assessing his linebacker rotation in preparation for Buffalo's preseason opener against...

Assessing Buffalo Bills WR Andre Reed's 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Odds

The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed its newest class this past weekend, as Willie Roaf, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Dermontti Dawson, Curtis Martin and Jack Butler made up the Class of 2012. And for the seventh straight year, former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed had to watch from home instead of taking his rightful place in the Canton, Ohio, facility. Reed was...

Torell Troup Wants to Show He Belongs in the NFL

Torell Troup is still trying to become an impact player with the Buffalo Bills. But, he’ll have to overcome injuries and surgery first. Troup, a nose tackle selected with the Buffalo Bills’ second round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, recently had offseason back surgery and has been trying to take part in team drills during training camp. However, he apparently had some sort...

Senator Charles Schumer’s plan to keep the Bills in Buffalo

New York State senator Charles Schumer is calling on the NFL to amend the G-4 loan program to allow the Bills to get a $25 million loan match to upgrade the stadium and special incentive for a future owner to keep the team in Western New York. During his press conference today in front of Ralph Wilson Stadium, he has rolled out his plan to help the Bills stay put. Senator Schumer...

Buffalo Bills Preseason Opener Blacked Out; New Game Day Elements to Debut

The Buffalo Bills' preseason opener will be blacked out in the Buffalo market, but those going to the game will encounter a new game day experience. The team announced Thursday's game against the Washington Redskins was still about 20,000 tickets short of selling out. The game will be rebroadcast in Buffalo at 8 p.m. Friday on WKBW Channel 7. It will also air in Rochester...

Will this be the year Shawne Merriman makes an impact?

(Brody Wheeler/Getty Images) Stop me if you’ve heard this before: ‘Shawne Merriman is looking like a defensive monster in camp.’  Chances are, you, like myself,  hit the stop button after ‘looking like’. Yes, we’ve all heard this story before. Merriman looks great in practice and he’ll probably have a strong preseason like last year, but then what? Do we get yet another...

Straw: If they go for the co-bid, Buffalo may be biting off more than it can chew

The 2012 London Summer Olympics have been a rousing success for England, and for the World. And as always around this time, there are those areas of the World that talk about pipe dream ideas of hosting the Olympics in their own city. This year one, or two, depending on how you look at it, of those areas is the Greater Toronto Area and Buffalo. Toronto Counciler James Pasternak brought...

Buffalo Bills Top Twitter Accounts To Follow

Keeping up with your favorite team can be an all-consuming task. We’re here to help indulge that need to follow all aspects of the NFL on Twitter...

Position battles to watch, Bills vs Redskins

This Thursday marks the first preseason game for both the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. They’ll play at Ralph Wilson Stadium where fans can experience watching football when there isn’t a snow storm. Needless to say, expectations are high. Of course once you remind these sun-kissed fans that it’s just a preseason game – [...]

That time the Bills finally beat the Pats

On Sunday, September 25, 2011, I awoke fairly early in the morning despite the fact that I probably had a hangover. I can’t say I had one for certain because the events of that fateful Sunday wiped out any memory of the preceding days. All that mattered that day was a three and a half hour time period that removed an eight- year spell of torture and brittleness casted on the...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.