Let’s start with the obvious: last season, the Bills had a truly terrible defense.
There were a ton of problems, but the most glaring one was the fact that the Bills couldn’t stop the run. At all. In fact, the Bills ranked dead last in the league against the run, giving up 169.6 yards per game on the ground. Awful. The bad news didn’t stop there: Buffalo ranked 24th in the NFL in total yards allowed (361.6/game) and 28th in points allowed (26.6/game).
It’s gonna be tough to win many games with defensive stats like that.
So in the offseason, the Bills made upgrading the defense a priority. Examples:
– The Bills spent their first three draft picks (Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard) on defense.
– Buffalo brought in free agent LB Nick Barnett from Green Bay and re-signed and/or locked up CB Drayton Florence, LB Shawne Merriman, and DT Kyle Williams.
– The Bills hired Dave Wannstedt as an inside linebackers coach/assistant head coach in an attempt to bring some more coaching experience to the defense.
So, through four games how’s this all working out?
Well…not so good.
There’s a few small bright spots. The Bills have forced a ton of turnovers, intercepting eight passes and recovering three fumbles. Buffalo’s +7 turnover differential ranks 1st in the AFC.
Also, The run defense has been a bit better, with the Bills giving up “just” 129.5 yards per game, ranking 25th in the league. That’s about it for positive stats…and that last one is not really a positive stat.
More negative stuff:
– The Bills are giving up 275.5 yards per game through the air. Getting destroyed by Tom Brady was one thing, but the secondary also getting ripped up by Jason Campbell and Andy Dalton? Less acceptable.
– Not that I should put all the blame on the secondary for the struggles stopping the pass. Through four games, the Bills have exactly three sacks. And I’m surprised they have that many. There’s no pass rush at all right now.
– Scoring is up around the league, but the Bills giving up 24.0 points a game is still not good. Especially since that average is dragged down by the pathetic seven-point effort Kansas City put up in Week 1.
So I’d say there’s a lot to worry about here. We’ll see if there’s any improvement in coming weeks. If not, it’s going to be tough for Buffalo to stay in contention for that elusive playoff spot.