With the 2014 Buffalo Bills season officially in the books, we now have time to crunch some numbers to get a better feel for the 9-7 outfit, how they're built, and where they need to improve moving forward. We'll do so, to start, in the most basic way possible: breaking down snap counts. Let's go. (Players in italics are either already gone, or are scheduled for free agency.)
QB: 1,062 snaps (1.00 per play)
|Kyle Orton||QB||803||75.6%||287-447 (64.2%), 3,018 yards, 18 TD, 10 INT; 15 att, 14 yards, 1 TD|
|EJ Manuel||QB||259||24.4%||76-131 (58.0%), 838 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT; 16 att, 52 yards, 1 TD|
The sudden retirement of Orton leaves the Bills in a bit of a bind this offseason: they must either get comfortable with handing the starting job back to Manuel, or they need to go out and acquire a new starter, one way or another.
RB: 1,200 snaps (1.13 per play)
|Fred Jackson||RB||548||51.6%||141 att, 525 yards, 2 TD; 66 rec, 501 yards, 1 TD|
|Anthony Dixon||RB||219||20.6%||105 att, 432 yards, 2 TD; 8 rec, 49 yards|
|C.J. Spiller||RB||188||17.7%||78 att, 300 yards; 19 rec, 125 yards, 1 TD|
|Frank Summers||FB||128||12.1%||6 att, 17 yards, 1 TD; 5 rec, 9 yards|
|Bryce Brown||RB||117||11.0%||36 att, 126 yards; 16 rec, 176 yards|
This is essentially a one-back offense in Buffalo, particularly after the release of Summers eliminated the fullback position altogether. As long as Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett are in charge of the offense, the dream of using two backs simultaneously on more than a handful of plays should be gently laid to rest.
Also: Spiller is an upcoming free agent. If the Bills want to bring him back, they should probably do so with some sort of idea of how to use him properly.
WR: 2,669 snaps (2.51 per play)
|Sammy Watkins||WR||1,027||96.7%||65 rec, 982 yards, 6 TD; 2 att, 8 yards|
|Robert Woods||WR||899||84.7%||65 rec, 699 yards, 5 TD|
|Chris Hogan||WR||461||43.4%||41 rec, 426 yards, 4 TD|
|Mike Williams||WR||188||17.7%||8 rec, 142 yards, 1 TD|
|Marquise Goodwin||WR||89||8.4%||1 rec, 42 yards; 3 att, 8 yards|
This is a young group that still has a bunch of untapped potential. It's fairly safe to assume that if the coaching staff returns, the top three receivers on the depth chart won't change, either. (It's worth pointing out that Hogan is an exclusive rights free agent; he'll easily be retained.)
TE: 1,418 snaps (1.34 per play)
|Scott Chandler||TE||749||70.5%||47 rec, 497 yards, 3 TD|
|Lee Smith||TE||335||31.5%||7 rec, 42 yards, 1 TD|
|Chris Gragg||TE||213||20.1%||7 rec, 48 yards, 1 TD|
|MarQueis Gray||TE||121||11.4%||8 rec, 118 yards|
Throughout the course of the 2014 season, the Bills became highly reliant on the tight end position in their offense - with very little production to show for it. If they want to continue using tight ends in this fashion, a complete overhaul of the position may be justified.
OL: 5,331 snaps (5.01 per play)
|Seantrel Henderson||RT||1,062||100.0%||16-game starter|
|Erik Pears||RG||1,062||100.0%||16-game starter|
|Eric Wood||C||1,059||99.7%||16-game starter|
|Cordy Glenn||LT||1,046||98.5%||16-game starter|
|Kraig Urbik||LG||622||58.6%||9-game starter|
|Cyril Richardson||LG||312||29.4%||4-game starter|
|Chris Williams||LG||131||12.3%||3-game starter|
|Chris Hairston||OT||37||3.5%||Backup, goal line duty|
You don't need anyone to tell you that the Bills need to improve dramatically up front, because you're already keenly aware. Guard seems like the most obvious place to start, what with one starter headed for free agency and the other a continued revolving door. The team could also look at improving the tackle position, but there is at least athletic talent there, and the Bills may not have the resources for significant upgrades at three or four positions up front.