Dear Fellow Buffalo Bills Fans,
In the past 3 years, the Bills have drafted 15 defensive players, 11 on offense and 1 kicker. Usually, the first 3 rounds of the draft are where you find your key players to build your core. The first 3 rounds of the past 3 years, we have drafted 6 defenders and 3 offensive players. Finally, as you all know, we have drafted 2 defenders in the first round and 1 player on offense. Under Buddy Nix, our focus has obviously been on defense.
Three points on that:
- We didn't have much talent on that side of the ball when he took over as GM.
- Previous HC Gailey's Modus operandi was to turn marginal talent on offense into starter level quality.
- Gailey couldn't choose a defensive system to run or the person to run either system. The Bills were left to draft players for both the 3-4 and the 4-3 as a result.
That is the history and we as Rumblers probably know it all too well. I will note that having drafted for the 3-4 and the 4-3 may come in handy this year under Pettine's hybrid scheme.
"What's your point?" <- You might be asking this question to yourself (to your screen(to me?)) if you have made it this far. Fair enough, I am getting there. A few more historical points to make first, so please bear with me. The rules of the game have changed and in a very significant way. Most, if not all, of the rule changes favor the offense. I took all of these rules word for word from wikipedia. Let's take a look:
- 2006 - Defenders are prohibited from hitting a passer in the knee or below unless they are blocked into him.
- 2006 - The "the horse-collar tackle" rule enacted during the previous 2005 season was expanded. Players are now prohibited from tackling a ball carrier from the rear by tugging inside his jersey. Previously, it was only illegal if the tackler's hand got inside the player's shoulder pads.
- 2008 - Clarified the 2006 rule about hitting passers below the knees; a defender knocked to the ground cannot lunge or dive at or below the passer's knees. This is unofficially referred to as the "Tom Brady Rule", after Brady was injured at the Patriots' 2008 opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs, when Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard hit Brady below the knees, sidelining him for the rest of the 2008 season.
- 2010 - The definition of a "defenseless receiver" (where a receiver cannot be hit in the head or neck area by an opponent who launches himself and makes contact with his helmet, shoulder, or forearm) will now apply to every defenseless player.
- 2011 - Players will be prohibited from "launching" (leaving both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into an opponent or using any part of the helmet to initiate forcible contact against any part of the opponent’s body) to level a defenseless player, as well as "forcibly hitting the neck or head area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.", and lowering the head and make forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/"hairline" parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body. Offenders will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness and ejected from the game if the contact is deemed flagrant.
Interestingly enough, we saw these changes begin to occur in 2006. Why don't you take a look at when Roger Goodell became the Commish? Okay, I know you already know and you are curious to what my point is.
I took a look at NFL scoring from 2005 (as a reference point) to 2012. Here are the total points scored in those years:
As you can see, there has been a steady increase in points scored (except the aberration in 2009). Last year specifically, we saw a huge jump in total points scored. Perhaps you are starting to see my point....
I am generally a Buddy Nix supporter and have liked his drafts for the most part. However, if I were a GM in today's NFL, I would be focused on having a superior offense. When the field is tilted to favor one side of the ball as it is now, I believe you need to have your best players on that side. It has been ignored too long and if we continue to ignore this trend, we will continue to slide further away from the playoffs ( if that is at all possible). However, I think the hiring of Marrone was the start of a new philosophy at OBD.
There is the old adage of "defense wins championships". I think this is still true and we still see it in the Super Bowl most years. However, I think a lot of people confuse defensive schemes with defensive players (were the Giants a superior team in Super Bowl XXV or were their coaches smarter?) Enter Mike Pettine. The Bills defense on paper looks pretty darn good. We have 5 first round picks plus Jairus Byrd and Kyle Williams. Let the defense be! I know we could use upgrades at LB and maybe Safety and maybe elsewhere but let's see what Pettine can do. For comparison sake we have 2 first rounders on offense. You can throw in the gem of Stevie Johnson but the talent is clearly on the defensive side of the ball.
My point is that even though we see many defensive players "mocked" high in the first round of this draft, isn't the value on the offensive side? If players on offense have a distinct advantage over their opponents, doesn't it make sense to draft players on offense? I understand the need to have defenders to match-up against these guys on offense but if these players are considered equal (or heck even if the defender has superior talent) the rules favor the offense. The total points scored trend backs that up. Your eyes and understanding of the game back that up, don't they?
Let's Get Offensive Buddy !
As always, thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments. Do you agree that offense is more important than defense? Do you disagree (if so, please let me know why in the comments)? Let's add a poll and check it out !