This is an experiment that we'll be conducting not only on a weekly basis, but as a running tally throughout the 2011 NFL regular season: keeping track of who is playing where for the Buffalo Bills. The premise is simple: we're simply going to keep track of the number of reps each Bills player takes during regular season play to get a strong idea of how the Bills use personnel.
Thanks to the nature of their 41-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Bills used a ton of nickel and dime defenses, and as such, some unexpected players got an unexpectedly high amount of playing time, while others did not see much action at all. We'll break this up into two groups to best understand how personnel packages are formulated: linemen and rush linebackers go in one group, and linebackers and defensive backs go in the other.
Take a look at the data breakdown after the jump. You may be shocked to learn how little some nominal starters played as compared to how much at least one little-appreciated reserve saw the field.
D-Line And Rush Linebackers
Because the Bills were able to grab such a quick and commanding lead in the ball game, Buffalo's defensive linemen and rush linebackers are being grouped together because they're players that spent the overwhelming majority of the game with their hands in the dirt. It was a rare occasion, indeed, that an edge rusher stood up on this day.
There's not a lot that stands out here. On a very hot day in Kansas City, the Bills did a lot of rotating to keep their players fresh.
|Chris Kelsay||DE/OLB||35/48||1 tackle|
|Marcell Dareus||DE/DT||32/48||2 tackles|
|Shawne Merriman||DE/OLB||30/48||1 tackle|
|Spencer Johnson||DE/DT||16/48||2 tackles, 1 sack|
|Dwan Edwards||DE/DT||15/48||1 tackle|
|Danny Batten||DE/OLB||10/48||2 tackles|
All in all, it was a pretty quiet day for the folks up front. That was not the case for the players in the back seven, who were highly busy as the Chiefs attempted to play catch-up. Here's a look at the amount of playing time the team's inside linebackers and defensive backs received.
|Nick Barnett||ILB||48/48||4 tackles|
|Leodis McKelvin||CB||48/48||3 tackles, 1 FR|
|Drayton Florence||CB||48/48||2 tackles, 1 INT|
|Jairus Byrd||S||48/48||5 tackles|
|George Wilson||S||48/48||5 tackles, 1 FF|
|Aaron Williams||CB||42/48||3 tackles|
|Bryan Scott||ILB||42/48||8 tackles, 1 sack|
|Kirk Morrison||ILB||2/48||1 tackle|
You'll better understand the pass-heavy skew of the Week 1 playing time data in full chart form with playing time percentages. It'll be interesting to see if this trend continues in upcoming weeks, particularly as it pertains to one highly underrated player that saw a ton of playing time and was very effective in Kansas City: nickel linebacker Bryan Scott.
|Player||Pos.||Rep Count||Playing Time %|