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.
In the Bills' 38-35 Week 2 win over the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo's defense was on the field for 63 plays - and they were only able to seal up a big home win by intercepting a Hail Mary pass on the final snap of the game. With the team a bit beat up in the front seven and resting some starters periodically, 20 different defenders saw playing time - but only three played every snap.
Take a look at the rep breakdown after the jump. You'll quickly come to realize how valuable one Bills linebacker is to this team.
As usual, in the front seven - and for our purposes, we're including defensive linemen and outside linebackers in this category - Chris Kelsay, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus were the big playing time earners. Shawne Merriman may eventually rank up there as well, but as Chan Gailey explained on Monday, the team still has him in a heavy rotation to keep him fresh. Dwan Edwards also saw a significant chunk of playing time, and Spencer Johnson spent a good deal of time at outside linebacker spelling Merriman.
|Marcell Dareus||DE||51/63||81.0%||4 tackles|
|Dwan Edwards||DE||42/63||66.7%||2 tackles|
|Kellen Heard||DT||15/63||23.8%||1 tackle|
|Kyle Williams||NT||52/63||82.5%||5 tackles|
|Chris Kelsay||OLB||57/63||90.5%||3 tackles|
|Shawne Merriman||OLB||39/63||61.9%||4 tackles|
|Spencer Johnson||OLB||22/63||34.9%||3 tackles|
|Danny Batten||OLB||7/63||11.1%||1 fumble recovery|
As we predicted last week, the Bills spent a lot more time in heavy fronts preparing for Oakland's vaunted rushing attack, so nickel back Bryan Scott saw a significant decrease in playing time - though he still played a significant amount - while inside linebacker Andra Davis saw a massive increase in field time. There weren't any big surprises here, but note that through two weeks, aside from the team's safeties, Nick Barnett has been the team's true every-down defender; people really underestimate just how valuable a signing he's been to date.
|Nick Barnett||ILB||63/63||100.0%||14 tackles, 1 forced fumble|
|Andra Davis||ILB||42/63||66.7%||5 tackles|
|Drayton Florence||CB||60/63||95.2%||4 tackles|
|Leodis McKelvin||CB||59/63||93.7%||6 tackles|
|Aaron Williams||CB||18/63||28.6%||1 tackle|
|Jairus Byrd||S||63/63||100.0%||10 tackles|
|George Wilson||S||63/63||100.0%||7 tackles|
|Bryan Scott||S||20/63||31.7%||1 tackle|
|Da'Norris Searcy||S||3/63||4.8%||1 interception|
Finally, here's the full-team breakdown ranked by total playing time for Week 2. Again, note Barnett, where Merriman ranks - he'll rise once the coaches are comfortable with his conditioning - and how heavily the duo of Williams and Dareus are leaned on.