As optimism runs high for the Bills post draft, the speculation on the direction and focus of the Bills offense is beginning to crystallize in our minds. At first glance it would seem that with the influx of athletes at the WR position and drafting a big armed QB, that this offense is starting to resemble the pass happy, Mike Martz led, Greatest Show on Turf, or the current Saints squad. But based on Syracuse's overall play selection last year, and the presence of one of the deepest backfields in football, I hope that will not be the case.
The biggest indicator to me that Buffalo will lean more on the running game is that while at Syracuse, the Marrone/Hackett led offense passed the ball 46%, 51.3%, 44.8, and 45.7% of the time respectively each of the last 4 years. Though the NFL is not college, I like seeing that type of ball distribution over an extended period of time. Buffalo has only made the playoffs one time in their history when more than 52% of the called offensive plays were passes. That was in 1965 when the team passed on 56% of their offensive plays in the old AFL. Only one time in Buffalo team history has the team made the playoffs averaging fewer than 30 rushing attempts per game. This was also in 1965 at 28 carries per game. During the current playoff drought, only once has Buffalo averaged over 30 attempts per game, 30.2 in 2004, which was their best record during the drought. 30 carries per game does not guarantee the playoffs, but less than 30 virtually guarantees you won't make it historically in Buffalo. So remove the 1965 anomaly and future Buffalo teams need to run the ball at least 30 times per game, and not exceed 52/48 split for pass vs run plays to make the playoffs. This begs a few questions fellow Rumblers:
1.Do these metrics still apply in the modern NFL? Buffalo has been absent from the playoffs so long, the game has changed pretty significantly during that time.
2.Will Hackett and Marrone continue to run more than pass as was the case at Syracuse?
3. At some point in the near future can the current available talent on this team be good enough to run first and then capitalize with an aggressive deep passing attack that can lead to some playoff appearances?
I think these metrics do still apply, that Hackett and Marrone will run more than pass, and I don't know yet, are my short answers to those questions, but I would love to see what everyone else thinks in the comments section.