Top 10 defenses in points allowed.
|San Francisco 49ers||9||14.1||292.1||95.3||196.8||6||0||6||1||373||48||17.0|
|Green Bay Packers||9||20.8||341.9||98.3||243.6||10||0||5||0||356||48||28.0|
We have witnessed the bizarre nature of the standard critique of the Buffalo Bills football team over the course of the first ten games of the season. It goes like this: Sure, the defense sucks but our real problem is Fitz. He really sucks...
I exaggerate of course, but not too much.
I thought it would be interesting to drop some statistical perspective on Rumblers as we head into the final 40 percent of the season.
Six games left, and the toughest defenses are completely behind us with one exception, the Seahawks.
So, going into the season, everyone talked about how easy the Bills schedule was going to be. Turns out it was a myth, since the Bills will play five of the top ten defenses in the league in a 16 game season. This means the Bills offense has faced a tough road so far, and yet it remains in the top 15 of the league in terms of scoring production.
True, it has been helped by three special teams touchdowns. But overall, by just looking at the stats, it would appear the overwhelming problem for the Bills remains its defense, which despite a solid performance against the Dolphins remains in the bottom two or three in points allowed, depending on the outcome of the remaining games being played today in week 11.
I expect the Bills offense to carry this team to a winning record. If they cannot perform better against weaker defenses, it will not happen.
But thinking about the season overall, the Bills have shown clearly that it is a team game, and winning in the NFL requires a strong defense and a strong offense.
There are few Tom Bradys, and few Peyton Mannings. But even still, Brady has not won a Super Bowl in close to ten seasons precisely because the best defenses for New England have not taken the field since the early 2000s.
And as great as Peyton Manning was with the Colts, he won only one Super Bowl during his amazing run there.
We can talk about franchise QBs until we are Bills blue in the face, but the reality is the Bills could have a winning record and be a tough team to beat this season with an above average defense, the kind that took the field this past Thursday against a Dolphins team that came in with a top 8 team defense.
Fitz may not win a Super Bowl for the Bills, but neither will any other QB if the Bills do not find a way to build a respectable Top 10 defense.
This off season most Rumblers want to see the 1st round pick go towards selecting a future franchise QB. I hope we pick a great linebacker if there is one available, or another outstanding defensive back, corner or safety.
Most analysts are now saying there are a bunch of college QBs playing at roughly the same level, and several are projecting into the draft as low 1st and 2nd round picks. In other words, this is not a year of outstanding prospects.
Watching Gabbert's replacement Chad Henne of the Jaguars light up the Texans defense after having been dumped by Miami in the offseason shows how much experience matters when it comes to NFL performance at the QB position. I feel sorry for the Jaguars, because it appears they wasted a high pick on a college QB the Bills thankfully took a pass on.
How many Rumblers were pushing hard for Gabbert? I recall quite a push for that pick.
Trust the talent evaluators at OBD, I say, as painful as it may be.
I try and forgive the football Gods for letting the Colts luck out with Luck.
It hurts, but there is nothing we can do about it.
Of course, if there was an RG III or Andrew Luck available in this offseason, I would be open to going all in to make a deal to get the pick. But there is no clear sign that will be the case this offseason. Instead, we should focus on continuing the defensive rebuild and helping Fitz with his wide receiver talent, which remains below average, especially when David Nelson is out of the lineup.
The Bills offense has been inconsistent this season, but it has also played with one of the worst defenses in the league, a huge weight on the shoulders of any QB or offensive unit to overcome. Despite all of that, most fans still wonder what difference better use of its two headed monster in the backfield could have made in a few games this season, and more importantly, in critical moments in several games.
I happen to think the defense is one or two players away from being very good, and I think those two players are another linebacker and another cornerback.
I happen to think the Bills offense is one more explosive wide receiver away from being very good.
I do not think over the course of the next few seasons working in a new rookie QB is the way to winning football.
Fitz is in his 2nd full season as a full time starter, and this season he has shown improvement, even if at times he has made mistakes that have cost the Bills team victories.
The Bills offense impresses many who see it for the first time, and Fitz is a big part of that.
A franchise QB cannot be forced upon a football team. And there is no clear evidence there is such a QB in the college ranks this year coming out in next year's draft.
Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.