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2012 NFL PREVIEW: BUFFALO BILLS

June 14, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



KELCI BAKER  EIHSS SPORTS

Buffalo Bills

Last year: 6-10, 4th in AFC East, missed playoffs

It's been 12 long years since the last time the Bills have been in the playoffs but with new arrivals Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in the offseason, they hope to turn that around. After three years under general manager Buddy Nix and Coach Chan Gailey, the team is finally seeing some results and have drive to be a force in the AFC wild-card picture. The Bills are hoping to transfer the momentum they had during the 5 and 2 start of last season, and stay healthy. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled when injuries took him away from seven starts and that’s a big reason Buffalo lost eight of their last nine games. Putting a unique twist on the offense is coordinator Gailey who also worked with the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. In rankings, the Bills made progress, from 25th to 14th in yards gained and 28th to 14th in points scored. The offense is making leaps in bounds while the defense clearly had more than one weak spot. Yielding 5938 yards and a all-time second-worst 434 points, they were coaxed into firing coordinator George Edwards and promoting Dave Wannstedt.

Gailey isn't the only offensive coordinator for the Bills. Curtis Modkins is also in the mix and the two have decided to use a spread attack. Fitzpatrick has 24 touchdown passes and a league-high 23 interceptions to his name. Stevie Johnson, a free agent wide receiver was used to not only increase momentum but maintain it. Averaging more than 5 yards a carry behind a new and improved line were Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, giving Buffalo more ground game than anything. What's to be determined is left tackle and potentially center if Eric Wood doesn't recover quickly enough from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The left tackle spot will be fought for by second-round pick Cordy Glenn and second-year pro Chris Hairston. Without their best lineman in Wood, the Bills struggled.

Buffalo plays in a 4-3 defensive style under coordinator Wannstedt. The sometimes anemic pass rush gets a boost from Williams and Anderson who also have a combined 88.5 career sacks. As a team, the Bills had 29 as opponents completed 63.3% of their passes for 30 touchdowns. The Bills have high hopes when it comes to their defense because Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams is returning 100% after foot surgery. The No. 3 overall pick in last years’ draft, Marcell Dareus will have to avoid the ever looming sophomore slump in order for the Bills to truly dominate. Stephon Gilmore will also have to work in order to get a starting position.

Consistency is the one word that describes Buffalo’s special teams and are led by Bruce DeHaven. Re-signing after free agency (despite missing eight games with a broken shoulder) is one of the NFL's best kickers in Ryan Lindell. The team will be using John Potter as a kickoff specialist who was a seventh-round pick. Returning for his 12th season is punter Brian Moorman as well as Justin Rogers who is up and coming as a kickoff returner with a 28.7 average.

The hiring of quarterbacks coach David Lee and tight ends coach Pete Metzelaars, a former Bills player, were well accepted for the team. Wannstedt is highly accomplished and will fit well as the defensive coach. Gailey coaches his spread offense with something of an iron fist. Although he is well respected, this being his third year, he needs to make sure he can get this generally young team to strive for greatness.

 

2012 Draft Recap

 

The Bills left the 2012 draft with a total of nine picks. Their best came with the departure of Demetress Bell, making way for T Cordy Glenn from Georgia. Even though he's a rookie, Glenn should be expected to start.

 

CB Stephon Gilmore. South Carolina

First round. 10th pick overall.

Even though he's a rookie, there's a big possibility he'll be able to start. With his speed and ability to cover deep, he's aggressive enough to take on any runner

 

T Cordy Glenn. Georgia

Second round. 41st pick overall.

 

WR T.J. Graham. North Carolina State

Third round. 69th pick overall.

Giving up a seventh-round pick, they moved up two spots in order to get him

 

OLB Nigel Bradham. Florida State

Fourth round. 105th pick overall.

Covering deep with his intense speed and his aggressiveness to take on runners, Bradham will be an asset to this Bills team

 

CB Ron Brooks. LSU

Fourth round. 124th pick overall.

With this pick, the Bills have added even more speed to cover the deep balls.

 

T Zebrie Sanders. Florida State

Fifth round. 144th pick overall.

More of a project player than Glenn

 

ILB Tank Carter. TCU

Fifth round. 147th pick overall.

Carter can play every linebacker position, making him a depth go-to player

 

G-C Mark Asper. Oregon

Sixth round. 178th pick overall.

While playing with one of the nation's top offenses he was mostly right guard

 

K John Potter. Western Michigan

Seventh round. 251st pick overall.

His ability during kickoff to get the ball through the end zone is what the Bills like with this pick

 

2012 BILLS SCHEDULE

After a red-hot start to the 2011 season, the Buffalo Bills fizzled and finished with a 6-10 mark. Despite that and the fact that they haven't qualified for the playoffs since 1999, there is a sense of optimism in Buffalo heading into the 2012 season as there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

The Bills made some big moves this offseason as they re-signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson, signed defensive end Mark Anderson and signed the crown jewel of free agency on the defensive side of the ball, Mario Williams.

With those additions, a strong draft and a fairly easy schedule at first glance, there is a very real chance that the Bills could end the longest active postseason drought in the league.

 

Schedule

Week 1 9/9: Buffalo Bills at New York 1:00 ET, CBS

Week 2 9/16 Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET, CBS

Week 3 9/23: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns 1:00 ET, CBS

Week 4 9/30: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET, CBS

Week 5 10/07: Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers 4:15 ET CBS

Week 6 10/14: Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 ET CBS

Week 7 10/21: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET CBS

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: 11/04 Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans 1:00 ET CBS

Week 10: 11/11 Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots 1:00 ET CBS

Week 11: 11/15 (Thurs) Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 8:20 ET NFL Network

Week 12: 11/25 Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts 1:00 ET CBS

Week 13: 12/02 Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET CBS

Week 14: 12/09 St. Louis Rams at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET FOX

Week 15: 12/16 Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills 4:05 ET FOX

Week 16: 12/23 Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins 1:00 ET CBS

Week 17: 12/30 New York Jets at Buffalo Bills 1:00 ET CBS

 

ROSTER

#

Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Exp.

College

88

Aiken, Kamar

WR

6-2

213

23

1

Central Florida

93

Anderson, Mark

DE

6-4

255

29

7

Alabama

63

Asper, Mark

OL

6-7

325

26

R

Oregon

50

Barnett, Nick

OLB

6-2

228

31

10

Oregon State

57

Batten, Danny

DE

6-4

250

24

2

South Dakota State

53

Bradham, Nigel

LB

6-2

240

22

R

Florida State

87

Brock, Kevin

TE

6-5

249

26

1

Rutgers

33

Brooks, Ron

CB

5-11

188

23

R

LSU

74

Brown, Colin

C

6-7

326

26

2

Missouri

31

Byrd, Jairus

FS

5-10

203

25

4

Oregon

45

Carder, Tank

LB

6-2

237

23

R

TCU

64

Carmon, James

OL

6-7

320

23

R

Mississippi State

92

Carrington, Alex

DT

6-5

301

24

3

Arkansas State

83

Caussin, Mike

TE

6-5

243

25

2

James Madison

84

Chandler, Scott

TE

6-7

260

26

3

Iowa

30

Choice, Tashard

RB

5-10

210

27

5

Georgia Tech

17

Clowney, David

WR

6-0

188

26

3

Virginia Tech

99

Dareus, Marcell

DT

6-3

331

22

2

Alabama

42

Dickerson, Dorin

TE/FB

6-2

227

24

2

Pittsburgh

97

Dotson, Lionel

DE

6-4

286

27

3

Arizona

35

Douglas, Chris

RB

5-9

213

23

R

Missouri State

81

Easley, Marcus

WR

6-2

217

24

1

Connecticut

48

Eddins, Robert

DE

6-3

246

23

1

Ball State

98

Edwards, Dwan

DT

6-3

302

31

8

Oregon State

14

Fitzpatrick, Ryan

QB

6-2

225

29

7

Harvard

73

Gilbert, Jarron

DT

6-5

289

25

2

San Jose State

27

Gilmore, Stephon

DB

6-0

190

21

R

South Carolina

77

Glenn, Cordy

OT

6-5

343

22

R

Georgia

11

Graham, T.J.

WR

6-0

180

22

R

NC State

46

Green, Isaiah

DB

5-10

180

22

R

Fresno State

80

Hagan, Derek

WR

6-2

210

27

7

Arizona State

75

Hairston, Chris

LT

6-6

330

23

2

Clemson

72

Heard, Kellen

DT

6-6

339

26

2

Memphis

39

Hill, Cris

DB

5-11

178

22

R

Virginia Tech

36

Howell, Delano

DB

5-11

198

22

R

Stanford

22

Jackson, Fred

RB

6-1

216

31

6

Coe College

69

Jasper, Michael

G

6-4

375

25

1

Bethel College (Tenn.)

91

Johnson, Spencer

DE

6-3

304

30

9

Auburn

13

Johnson, Stevie

WR

6-2

207

25

5

Kentucky

19

Jones, Donald

WR

6-0

208

24

3

Youngstown State

90

Kelsay, Chris

DE

6-4

263

32

10

Nebraska

67

Levitre, Andy

LG

6-2

305

26

4

Oregon State

9

Lindell, Rian

K

6-3

227

35

13

Washington State

82

Martin, Ruvell

WR

6-4

214

29

7

Saginaw Valley State

24

McGee, Terrence

CB

5-9

205

31

10

Northwestern State

38

McIntyre, Corey

FB

6-0

245

33

8

West Virginia

21

McKelvin , Leodis

CB

5-10

185

26

5

Troy

59

McKillop, Scott

ILB

6-2

243

26

2

Pittsburgh

56

Merriman, Shawne

DE

6-4

261

28

7

Maryland

44

Miller, Prince

CB

5-9

207

24

2

Georgia

52

Moats, Arthur

OLB

6-2

250

24

3

James Madison

54

Moore, Kyle

DE

6-6

263

25

4

USC

8

Moorman, Brian

P

6-0

174

36

12

Pittsburg State

58

Morrison, Kirk

OLB

6-2

245

30

8

San Diego State

86

Nelson, David

WR

6-5

214

25

3

Florida

47

Nesbitt, Joshua

FS

6-1

213

24

1

Georgia Tech

89

Onobun, Fendi

TE

6-6

260

25

2

Houston

79

Pears, Erik

RT

6-8

316

29

5

Colorado State

3

Potter, John

K

6-2

209

22

R

Western Michigan

6

Powell, Shawn

P

6-4

235

23

R

Florida State

76

Rinehart, Chad

G

6-5

321

27

5

Northern Iowa

26

Rogers, Justin

CB

5-11

181

24

2

Richmond

18

Roosevelt, Naaman

WR

6-0

199

24

3

Buffalo

71B

Ross, Jay

DT

6-3

319

24

1

East Carolina

30

Saenz, Nick

S

6-1

190

22

R

Houston

65

Sanborn, Garrison

LS

6-1

240

26

4

Florida State

66

Sanders, Zebrie

OL

6-6

318

22

R

Florida State

43

Scott, Bryan

OLB

6-1

220

31

10

Penn State

25

Searcy, Da'Norris

SS

5-11

216

23

2

North Carolina

15

Session, Derek

WR

6-1

225

22

R

Maine

55

Sheppard, Kelvin

ILB

6-2

244

24

2

LSU

16

Smith, Brad

QB/WR

6-2

213

28

7

Missouri

85

Smith, Lee

TE

6-6

265

24

2

Marshall

61

Snow, David

OL

6-4

305

22

R

Texas

28

Spiller, C.J.

RB

5-11

200

24

3

Clemson

41

Sukay, Nick

DB

6-1

219

23

R

Penn State

4

Thigpen, Tyler

QB

6-1

218

28

4

Coastal Carolina

96

Troup, Torell

DT

6-3

327

23

3

Central Florida

60

Urbik, Kraig

G

6-5

324

26

3

Wisconsin

62

Vermiglio, Jake

G

6-5

339

24

1

North Carolina State

51

White, Chris

OLB

6-3

238

23

2

Mississippi State

20

White, Johnny

RB

5-10

202

24

2

North Carolina

23

Williams, Aaron

CB

6-0

199

22

2

Texas

68

Williams, Keith

G

6-5

330

24

1

Nebraska

95

Williams, Kyle

DT

6-1

303

29

7

LSU

94

Williams, Mario

DE

6-6

292

27

7

North Carolina State

37

Wilson, George

SS

6-0

214

31

7

Arkansas

70

Wood, Eric

C

6-4

310

26

4

Louisville

71

Young, Sam

RT

6-8

316

24

3

Notre Dame

10

Young, Vince

QB

6-5

232

29

6

Texas

 

 


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