The Bills defense will be better against the run in 2017
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Bills defense finished 29th in the league last year against the run. That is shocking considering they have talented guys like Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Shaq Lawson on their defensive line. Part of the reason for their poor stats were a few bad games where the Bills gave up huge chunks of yards.
Three times last season the Bills gave up over 200 yards to an individual running back. Jay Ajayi did it twice and Le’Veon Bell did it once. The yards they gave up in those three games alone represent about 19 percent of their games during the season but almost 36 percent of the total rushing yards they gave up during the year.
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Not only did the Bills give up some big rushing performances but they also did it in the worst possible games. Late in the season against Miami and Pittsburgh, they gave up 200-yard performances while their playoff hopes were still alive. It didn’t help that when playing against the Jets and Dolphins, their most winnable division games no less, they let up a 100-yard rushing performance to a single player in all four games.
Another reason for the failure of the run defense last year is that the Bills had a tendancy to get tired down the stretch of games. Rex Ryan was constantly subbing players in and out and a lot of times players were sprinting to the huddle last minute leading to confusion. There will be less of that this season under Coach McDermott.
The last reason the run defense should improve is that the Bills tackling technique was terrible last season. Whether it was due to lack of effort or exhaustion, there were several times where a player failed to make a big tackle despite having the opponent in his arms. McDermott is a stickler for the details and he believes in coaching the basics. His efforts to reinforce the fundamentals of tackling should also be a boost to the defense.
Click below for the last reason the Bills will be a Top 10 defense in 2017.