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Bills vs. Jets: Notes From The O-Line, Week 17

Wow. Another stellar week turned in by the Buffalo Bills, mercifully the final one of the dreadful 2010 campaign. This game had it all: yo-yo right tackles, pitiful yards per attempt rushing, spectacularly bad blitz pick ups by skill position guys, turnovers galore, woeful production against the blitz, seemingly half-hearted effort by a number of players and coaching decisions that seemed into indicate that Chan Gailey wasn't overly interested in winning.

If you're not taking anti-depressants, jumping to the rest might not be such a good idea...

Meanwhile, Eric Wood turned in his best performance at center. His draft class (and inappropriate humor target) mate Andy Levitre looks solid on paper as well - except that each of Levitre's three bad plays (two runs, one pass) were all killed plays. It was that kind of day for pretty much everyone on the team; when things went bad for a guy, they went really bad. Chad Rinehart, who had an impressive first half against the Pats (damn my recorder for not, um, recording the second half of that game), slammed back down to earth in New Jersey. Amazingly, the yo-yo situation at right tackle combined for zero bad run plays.

Individual Run Grades - Week 17
Player Good Decent Bad Killed Grade
Bell, D. 1 17 0 0 76.1%
Levitre, A. 4 12 2 2 77.2%
Wood, E. 6 11 1 0 80.6%
Rinehart, C. 1 15 2 1 73.9%
Wrotto, M. 1 5 0 0 78.3%
Pears, E. 1 11 0 0 76.7%
Individual Run Grades - 2010 season
Player Good Decent Bad Killed Grade
Bell, D. 33 295 25 6 75.5%
Levitre, A. 85 227 23 7 78.7%
Wood, E. 73 209 23 4 78.4%
Reinhart, C. 14 57 8 3 76.5%
Wrotto, M. 17 147 25 6 74.2%
Pears, E. 1 12 0 0 76.5%

Last week, Gailey chose to abandon the run for no clear reason. Against the Jets, there was good reason not to try to run - it simply wasn't working. The Bills averaged 6.0 yards per attempt through the right B gap, but that was based on exactly one run. Given a few more cracks at it, it seems probable that that average would have dropped to roughly the same 2.0 yards-per-attempt seen in other gaps. To make matters worse, it's not like Buffalo was facing New Jersey's A-Team.

Run Direction Success, Week 17
Gap Att Yds YPA
Left C 2 3 1.5
Left B 2 4 2.0
A 9 22 2.4
Right B 1 6 6.0
Right C 4 4 1.0
Run Direction Success, 2010 season
Gap Att Yds YPA
Left C 86 366 4.3
Left B 30 147 4.9
A 102 335 3.3
Right B 42 128 3.1
Right C 101 446 4.4

As you can see below, Buffalo's linemen combined to kill 4 of 29 (13.8%) pass plays. When almost one of seven plays is subverted by your own team, you're just not going to have a good day, even if you aren't effectively a rookie signal caller. Even more troubling for Brian Brohm was that each of the nine bad pass plays (most of which led to Brohm being smacked) were on separate downs - 31% of pass plays featured at least one linemen making a mistake. Rinehart demonstrated an unsettling propensity for allowing defenders to quickly shoot right past him. While his physicality is just what Gailey is after, he may find himself in a dogfight with Geoff Hangartner in training camp for the right guard position next July.

Individual Pass Grades, Week 17
Player Good Decent Bad Killed Sack Help Grade
Bell, D. 0 26 3 2 1 0 73.1%
Levitre, A. 0 28 1 1 0 0 74.3%
Wood, E 1 28 0 0 0 0 75.7%
Rinehart, C. 0 26 3 0 0 0 72.9%
Wrotto, M. 0 9 0 0 0 0 75.0%
Pears, E. 1 17 2 1 0 1 74.0%
Individual Pass Grades, 2010 season
Player Good Decent Bad Killed Sack Help Grade
Bell, D. 7 514 45 17.5 8.5 43 73.7%
Levitre, A. 11 513 33 10.5 1.5 0 74.3%
Wood, E. 17 431 24 6.5 1 0 74.7%
Rinehart, C. 3 85 6 0 0 0 74.4%
Wrotto, M. 6 224 28 8 1.5 17 73.3%
Pears, E. 1 22 3 1 0 1 73.5%

I plan to do a series of posts on linemen individually, in which I will sum up their seasons. If I'm really clever, I will con Brian into helping me build some charts that include comprehensive tables for each lineman. You can see above the season averages; it would be more than a little tedious to go back through all of my ramblings to put together a chart showing either progress, regression or (more likely) ups-and-downs each lineman experienced throughout this long season of futility.

Off the topic of the line, Der Jager touched on something in his post that bears repeating. Tight end play has been abysmal. Granted, Gailey doesn't tend to get great production from tight tends. He does, however, keep a number on the roster in order to boost the run game and help in pass protection. Shawn Nelson (injured), Jonathan Stupar, David Martin, Scott Chandler and Mike Caussin (who?) aren't getting the job done. Stupar stood out this week due to his ineptness in pass protection on several different plays. He also completely telegraphed running plays on at least two occasions by moving backwards slightly when motioning back to the formation - shades of Trent Edwards and that weird low hands gesture in 2009.

Buddy Nix has said that the team needs more weapons. Uh-huh. Last year he said he really liked C.J. Spiller and then selected - wait for it - C.J. Spiller. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Brian's mock pick of A.J. Green come to pass followed in the second or third round by a tight end... trenches be damned.