Even bad football teams have great players, and despite what many fans have been bludgeoned into believing about the 2011 Buffalo Bills, the team had some truly excellent performances by individuals despite finishing 6-10. It's time to determine which of those players was the most valuable to the team.
I've got two nominees each from the team's offense and defense; if you were looking for another name on the list, tell us about it in a comment and vote for the write-in candidate option. Let's do this!
RB Fred Jackson: He only played in nine full games before getting injured, but was arguably the league's best runner prior to going down, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 145 total yards of offense per game. Final stat line: 170 carries, 934 yards, 6 TD; 39 receptions, 442 yards.
WR Stevie Johnson: Became the first receiver in team history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and proved that he can still produce like a go-to target despite increased attention from opposing defenses. Final stat line: 76 receptions, 1,004 yards, 7 TD.
ILB Nick Barnett: The most statistically productive player on Buffalo's porous defense, Barnett had a good season despite the turmoil around him. A clear upgrade over Paul Posluszny, Barnett also surprised by staying healthy for a full year. Final stat line: 130 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 INT, 1 defensive TD.
FS Jairus Byrd: Fans are still weirdly reluctant to talk about how good Byrd has become. Once a run-game liability, Byrd is now one of the team's surest and most explosive tacklers, and is still making big plays. Final stat line: 98 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INT, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recover, 1 defensive TD.