I have been thinking about it for the last few weeks. I understand why Chan feels the way he does about the ability to pass the ball as a way to set the run. I get the philosophy and reasoning behind it but.... There were games this year where we just didn't stick with the run when it was working and I want to see THAT change. The gameplan against the team you are playing should dictate it as much as the relative stregnth of your teams players to execute it.
Especially with the dual threat we have in the backfield, I think you design your attack around all of your players (as opposed to just the QB and some receivers). I can see against NE* using the spread to build a lead and sticking to it because they run up points and don't have a strong short pass D and we do play them 2xs a year BUT all teams are not NE*. The Cinci game comes to my mind, we switched from what was working and then our D fell apart. It kind of leads to the conclusion that in the 4th you WILL be playing from behind...
Stick with what is working until they take it away and running is a bigger strength on this team with our RBs (and I would also say our Oline in run blocking). Chan says he wants a balanced attack but rarely shows that. In fact even on BB right now he is quoted as saying:
"I think you have to be balanced, but today in this league I think you may have to lean a little bit more on the pass game," he said. "The defensive players are so much bigger and stronger and faster than they were 15 years ago and the field has remained the same size. So for the offense the field has actually shrunk because those defensive players are so much bigger, faster and stronger. So the only way to gain an advantage is to spread people out a little bit and create more creases for running lanes, throwing lanes, things like that."
This past season there were 569 pass attempts for Fitzpatrick and 277 rushes for Jackson and Spiller combined. Part of the reason for that disparity was the frequency in which the Bills were behind on the scoreboard. Buffalo trailed their opponents in the third quarter in 10 of their 16 ball games often leading to more pass attempts.
If Buffalo is closer on the scoreboard through the course of games it’s reasonable to assume that the run-pass figures could shift slightly to 500 passes for Fitz and 345 carries for the two backs. Knowing 80 of Fitz’s completions will probably go to Jackson and Spiller as well (78 in 2011) that could be a balance Gailey can live with.
The key is getting Jackson and Spiller to live with them.
"I told both of them at the end of the year that nobody gets the ball as many times as they want," said Gailey. "None of them do. I told Fred if we give it to you 25 times, you’ll want it 26. If you catch eight passes he’ll want nine. It’s true that there’s only one football and a bunch of good football players."
Jackson is likely to still see more of the carries out of the backfield, but the difference in workload won’t be by a whole lot.
"I wouldn’t call it 50-50, but it’s closer to 50-50 than it ever has been because (Spiller’s) more confident and we have more confidence in him having experience now," said Gailey. "To me it’s a win-win for everybody except them individually. It’s a win-win for the team. It’s a win-win for setting up game plans and for us making it through the season healthy. It’s not a win-win for each of them individually because neither one of them will get the ball as much as they want to."
So what I get from this is he won't be changing this at all next season, sadly.
It really makes no sense considering the Oline men they have built around are better at run blocking, as well. Also the yards per, both running backs average over 5 a carry. The pass game average 6.74 per completion. So with Fitz's and his receivers completions @ 62% or close to 33% misses (more than that but rounding off here) take away a third of the yardage and you get about 4.5-5 yards an attempt and statistically a bigger gamble on failure. The Bills would be a better team if they were run the ball first team. Judging from their own stats.
Also I don't like the fact that since he won't give these guys the ball first, he will be creating discontent within the players at the position. This is really my one big gripe about coach Chan (well, not really my only gripe, lol) and I wish it wasn't because I like him and see the difference and excitement he has added to the team on offense. I also think if we pick up a couple of more weapons I.E. VJ or something we will really need to spread the ball around and balance will be even more important. Too many weapons is a great thing as long as you stay with what is working.