FanPost

2009 vs. 2012: Defense Edition

Continuing the 2009 to 2012 comparison and after deciding that our 2012 offense is only marginally better (and in some cases worse) than the 2009 offense, we turn our attention to the defense. The focus from Buddy Nix (Bills GM) over his first three seasons has clearly been to improve the defense.

Statistically, we aren't much better - and again, some cases worse - than the 2009 team. So let's break the roster down position by position.

Defensive Ends

2012 and 2009 share only one player in common, Chris Kelsay.

2009

2012

Winner

Aaron Schobel

Mario Williams

2012 (slightly)

Chris Kelsay

Chris Kelsay

2009

Ryan Denney

Mark Anderson

2012

Chris Ellis

Kyle Moore

2012

Aaron Maybin

Shawne Merriman

2012

Final Verdict: 2012

Some may not like the comparison of Schobel to Mario but I think its a fair comparison. Schobel wears number 94 and so does Mario - Schobel got 10 sacks in 2009 and Mario is on pace for 10 sacks. One could argue that Mario has defended the run better than Schobel and that's a fair argument so I gave the edge to the 2012 team (slightly...).

Kelsay is pretty much the same Kelsay as he was in 2009 but the 2009 Kelsay got 5 sacks...yes, more sacks than Kyle Williams in 2009...

Our depth with Anderson, Moore and Merriman is no comparison to Denney, Ellis and Maybin. Ryan Denney, Aaron Maybin and Chris Ellis aren't even in the league anymore...scary how bad our DE position was... I think this might actually be a trend in this analysis.

2012 takes it away in spades...

Defensive Tackles

2012 and 2009 share two players in common, Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson.

2009

2012

Winner

Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams

Push

Marcel Dareus

Marcus Stroud

2012

Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson

2009

John McCargo

Alex Carrington

2012

Final Verdict: 2012

Kyle Williams had a good but not great year in 2009. One could argue that he's having a better year in 2012. However, Kyle has always been Kyle and I'd take either on my team.

When we get into the depth of the DT, it gets a little scarier. Spencer Johnson in 2009 was a better player than the 2012 Spencer. Somehow, he just looks out of place in 2012. I can actually tell when 91 is in the game, the defense isn't as explosive.

McCargo was a monumental bust for the Bills, tried to revive his career but he is out of the league now too. Alex Carrington wins that battle, hands down.

The final comparison is Dareus to Stroud. I personally liked Stroud and he had the same jolly attitude that Dareus is reported to have as well. However, Dareus clearly has higher upside than Stroud, gets more pressure on the QB and helps in the running game. I'd say that Dareus' pass rushing ability gets him the nod. But this was a closer comparison than I thought it would be.

Once again, 2012 gets the victory.

Linebackers

When I wrote down the 2009 roster, my first thought was dear god...this is going to be a runaway. It actually was closer than I thought - a real indication on the state of our LB corps in 2012...

2009

2012

Winner

Kawika Mitchell

Nick Barnett

2012

Keith Ellison

Nigel Bradham

Push

Paul Posluszny

Kelvin Sheppard

2009

Bryan Scott

Bryan Scott

2009

Chris Draft

Arthur Moats

Push

Nic Harris

Kirk Morrison

Push

Marcus Buggs

Chris White

Push

Final Verdict: Push

I start by comparing Nick Barnett to Kawika Mitchell. Mitchell got hurt in 2009 but had a similar skill set to Barnett. No one will argue that Barnett has lost a step this year but he isn't hurt and is playing...okay. I gave the nudge to 2012 here - but it was closer than I thought it would be.

Bradham is an explosive athlete but he isn't a starting caliber LB yet. He's a rookie and I believe will grow into the position but he isn't there yet. Keith Ellison was a decent enough LB. I gave a "push" in this comparison. Comparing 2013 to 2009, I think I would give it to Bradham in spades, but this is 2012 vs. 2009.

Comparing 2009 Nic Harris to 2012 Kirk Morrison - I would say skill alone Morrison is better. But Morrison hasn't played this year so I declare this one a "push". Chris Draft to Arthur Moats is another push as is Marcus Buggs to Chris White.

Now we get to the heavyweight battle that everyone has waited for...Poz vs. Shep. Poz was 25 at the time and Shep is 24 so its a pretty fair comparison. Poz cleaned up in 2009 with 87 tackles and 23 assists. He also got 3 INTs and 1 sack. Poz was all over the field. Shep has struggled and I can't say that Shep is an upgrade. To the victor go the spoils and I give it to Poz here.

At first, I thought I would have given it to 2012 based on skill alone. However, my final declaration was to "push" 2009 and 2012. Wow, that's a pretty bad indicator for how our 2012 LBs have played. The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to me. Our 2012 LBs just haven't played well. They are clearly the weak link in 2012 and even if we had the 2009 LBs, they would still be the weak link. I see no upgrades here...

Cornerbacks

2009

2012

Winner

Terrence McGee

Stephon Gilmore

2012

Drayton Florance

Aaron Williams

2009

Leodis McKelvin

Leodis McKelvin

2012

Reggie Corner

Justin Rogers

Push

Cary Harris

Ron Brooks

Push

Ellis Lankster

Crezdon Butler

Push

Ashton Youboty

Final Verdict: 2012 (slightly)

I start by comparing our prized gem CBs. McGee to Gilmore. Gilmore has played very well but this was a close call. I gave the victory to Gilmore because he's been solid and healthy. McGee was solid but he wasn't healthy. This one didn't come down to skill but instead came down to health.

Drayton Florance to Aaron Williams - this is clear (for 2012 at least), the winner is Drayton.

Comparing the McKelvins (2009 vs 2012), I went with 2012. His CB skills aren't on display because he is a dismal CB but he is making dynamic plays in the return game. He was a dynamic returner in 2009 as well but he loses due to the week 1 fumble vs. New England (sorry to remind everyone about that...)

Everyone else is a push. I'm not as high on Justin Rogers as others are. I think he is overwhelmed out there and I don't see him being back in 2013 after Ron Brooks takes that spot. 2009 had much better names in "Corner and Youboty". Much more fun to at least say.

This is a SLIGHT victory for 2012. Aaron Williams hasn't played very well and McKelvin is still McKelvin. I didn't include McGee in 2012 because he never was healthy and should have been on IR from the beginning. McGee was effectively replaced by Ron Brooks anyway. No solid win for 2012...just a slight victory

Safeties

2009

2012

Winner

Jairus Byrd

Jairus Byrd

2012

George Wilson

George Wilson

2009

Donte Whitner

Da'Norris Searcy

2009

John Wendling

Mana Silva

Push

Final Verdict: Push

If this were just a FS comparison, the 2012 Byrd wins. He has become a complete safety and the fact that the question is being asked if he is THE BEST FS in the game speaks to his quality. But this isn't a FS comparison...this is a SAFETY comparison so we must include our SS.

George Wilson (like Nick Barnett) is starting to slow down. His 2009 self was better than the 2012 version. It comes down to Whitner vs. Searcy. Whitner was no gem in 2009...he wasn't fantastic but he did has 2 INTs and returned 1 for an INT. Searcy has looked good when he's been out there - he looks like a good pass rusher as well. However, I'd take Whitner over Searcy.

Silva vs. Wendling isn't even worth discussing.

I made this a PUSH as well. Byrd is better in 2012 but our SS position is struggling compared to 2009. FS is better, SS is not. That's a push.

Summary

Position

Winner

Defensive End

2012

Defensive Tackle

2012

Linebackers

Push

Cornerbacks

2012 (slight)

Safeties

Push

Final

2012

So the good news is that 2009 didn't beat the 2012 in any category but besides the defensive line, this was a closer comparison than I thought it would be. It makes sense though because statistically, we really aren't much better than the 2009 team. So it makes sense that the comparison was as close as it was.

So what do you think? Is our 2012 defense significantly better?

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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