The Bills were only 1 of 4 teams without a win versus a quality opponent in 2008. The others - Detroit, KC, Cincinatti. See attached website: http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Article.php?Page=987&Category=2
That website has a great Quality Stats Section which shows that the 3 primary reasons for our precipitous fall this year was the following indices:
1. Big Play Index - we ranked 26th in the league.
The Big Play Index is our way of tracking of game-changing plays – who's making them, who's giving them up, and how it all correlates to winning. The nine "Big Plays" are:
- Fumble recovery
- Defensive score (return TD, safety)
- Pass play of 40 yards or more
- Run play of 25 yards or more
- Kick return of 60 yards or more
- Punt return of 40 yards or more
- Blocked kick or punt
- 50-yard+ field goal
2. Defensive Hog Index - We ranked 20th, but note we were 29th in Negative Passing Plays - ie. forcing INTs or Sacks. Only our 3rd down stopping rate, which ranked 10th, saved us.
The top defensive front is that which posts the highest average rating across the board. The Defensive Hog Index is based upon these criteria:
YPA – Yards Per Attempt. So simple, even you can understand it. This rates a defense's ability to stuff an opposing ground game. NPP% – Negative Pass Plays, expressed as a percentage. This is how often an opponent's pass plays end in either a sack or interception. Defenses that get after the quarterback and overwhelm the opposing offensive line naturally force sacks and INTs. These negative pass plays are calculated as a percentage of attempts. So if a team foces two sacks and two INTs in 40 pass plays, their NPP% will be 10 percent (4/40). 3down% - Opposition success rate on third down. The lower the percentage, the higher the defensive success.
3. Offensive Hog Index - we ranked 23rd primarily due to being in the lowest quartile for Negative Pass Plays we gave up - either sacks or interceptions.
The top offensive line is that which posts the highest average rating across the board. The Offensive Hog Index is based upon these criteria:
YPA – Yards Per Attempt. So simple, even you can understand it. This rates a team's ability to run the ball effectively. NPP% – Negative Pass Plays, expressed as a percentage. This is how often a team's pass plays end in either a sack or interception. The theory is that teams with poor offensive lines generally surrender more sacks (duh!) and that their quarterbacks are forced into making bad throws more often. These negative pass plays are calculated as a percentage of attempts. So if a team suffers two sacks and throws two INTs in 40 pass plays, their NPP% will be 10 percent (4/40). 3down% – Success rate on third down – the higher the percentage, the greater the offensive success and the better the offensive line.
The Recovery Plan IMHO, our failure to create Big Plays and avoid a negative turnover differential, is all related to talent. We simply need to get better at several positions immediately. We need playmakers on both sides of the ball!!!
On offense, show JP, Robert Royal, both our Centers and FB the door. Draft a Starting C (Unger, Mack, Caldwell, Luigs at 2/3 rds) and either sign Owen Daniels at TE or draft Shawn Nelson S Miss to give us a vertical TE threat. At FB, take the kid from SU or Javorskie Lane Texas A&M who could also play the short yardage role. Sign a proven FA WR to play outside at #2 spot and use Josh Reed in the slot. Hardy, given his injury, will not be ready and will miss any tweaks to the Offense during OTA's so signing a veteran will be key. Antonio Bryant, Reggie Williams or Bryant Johnson fit the bill, with Demetrious Williams from the Ravens a reach.
On defense, Cut Kelsay and McCargo ala Larry Triplett to free up $. Resign Greer if the numbers make sense and tender Digiorgio and Ellison backup offers. At SLB, either resign Crowell or use our top pick on Maualuga to play MLB and move Poz to SLB. As other posters here have noted, Crowell was one of few OLBs in the league to post Sack, FF, and INts in successive years. We desperately need his or Maualuga's playmaking ability.
Personally, I would resign Crowell and Greer as my own Defensive FAs and use #1 pick on Raji, DT out of BC. Then in the 2nd or 3rd (depending on when I pick my C) I would find a DE that can get after the passer - Michael Johnson from GT or George Selvie from USF fit the bill. Imagine a Dline with Johnson, Raji, Stroud and Schobel. I am assuming Schobel can come back and that we continue with the Scott at SS / Whitner at FS tandem. Getting a playmaking SS in FA may also be possibility(Abram Elam or Kerry Rhodes from the NYJ - who won't keep both).
This leaves me the 4th rd pick to snag Shawn Nelson to be my playmaking TE. At the end of the day, I have a better LDE, DT, C, TE, FB than today's team.
Notice a trend, they are all Big Bodies!! We need to be a tougher, more talented team that makes big plays.