Bills Stat Crunch: Spiller Remains Big Part Of Game Plans

FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Kyle Anderson #27 of the New England Patriots cannot stop a touchdown run by C. J. Spiller #21 of the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on September 26 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I've finally gotten caught up in re-watching the last two games the Buffalo Bills have lost - Week 2 in Green Bay, and Week 3 in New England. Thus, I've got a ton of stats queued up behind the scenes, and some of the data is pretty revealing.

Spiller Most Frequently-Used RB
One of my biggest complaints to date this season has been the lack of touches for rookie running back C.J. Spiller. I was somewhat surprised to discover that Spiller has gotten more playing time than both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson through three games.

Spiller has been on the field for 37.8% of Buffalo's offensive plays. That's a slightly higher figure than the 36.59% of plays that Lynch has seen, and the 32.93% of plays that Jackson has gotten. (For those of you adding, keep in mind that the Bills have used more than one back on the field on a small percentage of plays.) The fact that no Bills running back is seeing a significant amount of time may bother some, but to their credit, they've gotten production out of all three guys.

Targets Per Reps
Continuing to talk about Spiller, he's by far the most frequently-targeted Bills player in the passing game when playing time is considered. Lee Evans leads the team in targets, but he's on the field much more than most of Buffalo's offensive weapons. Targets-per-rep gives us an idea of players that Chan Gailey and the quarterbacks are targeting in game plans.

Here's the full list of the nine Bills players that have been targeted, and how frequently they're targeted:

C.J. Spiller: targeted on 20.97% of his reps
David Nelson: 16.67%
Steve Johnson: 11.45%
Lee Evans: 10.43%
Roscoe Parrish: 9.27%
Fred Jackson: 9.26%
Jonathan Stupar: 5.88%
Marshawn Lynch: 3.33%
Corey McIntyre: 1.79%

Developing linemen
Ron covered this a little bit yesterday, so I'll keep this brief. Buffalo seems to be concentrating on getting reserve linemen live game reps, subbing in players like Jamon Meredith (in the first two games, at least), Cordaro Howard and Kraig Urbik despite no injuries to the starting five. Buttressed by a Week 2 injury to Andy Levitre, Howard has by far seen the most time of the three players, and has graded out surprisingly well despite playing three different positions. He and Urbik appear to be in line for more reps going forward, even with all five starters healthy, and Demetrius Bell and Eric Wood as close to 100% as they're going to get.

Offensive Mainstays
Buffalo has six offensive players that have played at least 80% of the team's snaps this season: Geoff Hangartner (100%), Evans (99.39%), Cornell Green (98.78%), Eric Wood (96.34%), Roscoe Parrish (92.07%) and Demetrius Bell (86.59%). That's four of five starters along the offensive line and the two starting wide receivers.

Defensive Mainstays
Buffalo has five defensive players that have played at least 80% of the team's snaps this season: Donte Whitner (98.96%), Drayton Florence (98.45%), Chris Kelsay (96.37%), Kyle Williams (85.49%) and Terrence McGee (81.87%). Kelsay is the only OLB on the roster to see more than a third of the team's defensive snaps.

D-Line Rotation
I've gotten a lot of emails asking me how much playing time each of the five defensive linemen that have been active through the first three games has gotten. Your answer:

Kyle Williams plays on 85.49% of defensive snaps
Dwan Edwards plays on 76.68% of defensive snaps
Marcus Stroud plays on 64.25% of defensive snaps
Spencer Johnson plays on 32.64% of defensive snaps
Torell Troup plays on 15.03% of defensive snaps

Sub-Package Data
* Andra Davis, who plays predominantly in 3-4 looks, plays on 51.3% of defensive snaps. He has, however, seen some nickel looks on third-and-short due to the injury to Paul Posluszny.

* When Buffalo uses four down linemen, they typically take their Jack linebacker off the field, and put the Sam linebacker (Kelsay) on the line of scrimmage. Buffalo's Jack linebackers, Chris Ellis (Week 1) and Reggie Torbor (Weeks 2 and 3), have combined to play 47.67% of snaps.

* Aaron Maybin has played 32.12% of snaps, with the overwhelming majority of his work coming in Week 3. I've seen him drop into coverage exactly once. He's not playing as poorly as most casual observers would have you believe, either - but clearly, he's got a long way to go. Dwan Edwards has stolen some of his reps at defensive end in shorter-yardage nickel packages.

* Bryan Scott, who plays in nickel and dime packages, has been on the field for 41.45% of defensive snaps.

* Reggie Corner, who is only on the field for dime packages (at least until tomorrow afternoon), has played 17.62% of snaps, and like Maybin, the vast majority of his work came in New England.


If anyone has any specific questions about player or package usage, I can offer fact. If your questions pertain to performance, I can also offer opinion.

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