Buffalo Bills: Here’s what’s wrong with the running game
What’s wrong with the Buffalo Bills running game? Zone dominant schemes and offensive line issues.
11 and 10 personnel limit an offense in to really only being able to run a few main plays:
- Read option
- Zone/ Reach Concepts
Now while we don’t see much of the dives, read option and zone/reach are HOT in the NFL right now. Buffalo is definitely a high zone running team. Which is great! It’s very easy to learn as an offensive lineman (I had some experience myself playing at the D3 collegiate level) as opposed to the read-option.
A great explanation of how zone really works can be found in this video here. It’s no secret that the Bills offensive lineman aren’t the flashiest in the league- it’s probably the best personality fit for Buffalo. Nose down, working hard, doing their best. However, Brandon Beane sought to upgrade it in the draft, and the addition of Spencer Brown can signal a shift change (to use a hockey term) in the incumbent starters soon.
How easy it is to shut down a zone scheme
Six to seven man from .. on Vimeo.
This is a great video on the Bills from a few years Cover1.net. The video will explain it faster than it’ll take to read me explaining it here. So is the issue a bad setup for the offensive line? Do the returning players struggle with getting off double teams? Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson may need to tweak some things to help them succeed (side note: why are there THREE Bobs/Bobby’s on the coaching staff? That *can’t* get confusing at all).
It can be as simple as changing their splits (distance from each other) that they line up in. Or if you pause it at the 0:27 mark, you can see that the center commits way too much into the double team. Keeping one hand free can help prevent this- but in this case, it doesn’t happen. A rare 2 back set in this example, the fullback can’t overcome the linemen whose hips get turned in a stalemate.
A lot of these little issues are fixable, but having a virtual offseason and no OTAs or true training camp will be hard to overcome. That’s why these are some of the most important sessions of the year for NFL players, but also some of the most mundane for veterans.
These are all things the Buffalo Bills must correct headed into the 2021 season. Being able to sit on a lead, rest the defense and burn the clock is what January/February football is all bout.