10 Players That Will Lead Buffalo Bills to 2013 Playoffs
10 Players That Will Lead the Buffalo Bills to the 2013 Playoffs
The 2012 Buffalo Bills were one of the biggest disappointments as most people had them pegged for their first playoff experience since the 1999 season and it would have ended the longest current playoff drought in the NFL. The Bills seem to have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, from their run game to a ball hawking secondary and not to mention the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Their downfall was erratic quarterback play out of former starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, with let downs from some people on defense that were ultimately let go and not to mention questionable playing calling from former head coach Chan Gailey.
Nevertheless, it seems like under new head coach Doug Marrone (pictured above), the culture has changed as it seems like there is a new attitude in Western, New York. An example of this is how the front office with their free agent acquisitions has been quiet, to say the least, since the 2013 season officially started back in March as players have been in Buffalo for 24-48 hours and few of anyone outside the team even knew about it. If coach Marrone lives up to his hype coming in with an infusion of young minds controlling the Bills on the field, the drought could end this year. The majority of NFL is how well a team buys into a coaches system for example Tom Brady with head coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots team follows suit.
#10 Kelvin Sheppard
So far, Kelvin Sheppard will be learning his third defense in as many years with the Buffalo Bills. Could the third time be the charm as new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine Jr. will certainly light a fire under him and hopefully turn him into an even better version of David Harris.
#9 Fred Jackson
In the twilight of his career, Buffalo Bills halfback Fred Jackson will prove that he has enough left in the tank this year after the last two seasons he wound up on season ending injured reserve. Even with the emergence of fellow halfback C.J. Spiller, Jackson will be determined to crack 1,000 yards again.
#8 Marcell Dareus
The third overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Marcell Dareus should excel under this new system that's being implemented by the new coaching staff. Last season, Dareus was shaken up by his brother's tragic death and never fully recovered, one can only hope a year later he can return to being the monster he's expected to be.
#7 Scott Chandler
Scott Chandler is simply a monster target at 6'7 270 lbs. and will be coming back to the season a little later than week one of the regular season, but he'll be sure to make up for lost time. If Chandler can play in 14 or 15 games for the Bills this year, maybe he can beat his personal best of the last two years with six touchdown receptions.
#6 Cordy Glenn
When healthy, Cordy Glenn is an absolute brute out there. If he didn't miss those two games, he would be one of the steals in the 2012 NFL Draft. He is very good at opening up holes for whomever is the running back in the backfield for the Buffalo Bills.
#5 Kyle Williams
Kyle Williams, the wily veteran who is one of the best defensive tackles in all of football, seems to play great in a 4-3 as the under tackle and in the 3-4 in the Nose tackle of all places. If Mike Pettine can keep his fire lit all year, fans will be expecting another pro bowl season out of Williams.
#4 Stevie Johnson
From team clown in 2010 and 2011, to team leader in 2012, one of the best bright spots in the Bills disappointing 2012 season is Stevie Johnson who had his third straight 1,000 yard receiving year. If this offense is more pass happy that stresses better route running, then it wouldn't be a surprise to anyone when Johnson adds to his legacy by having a fourth straight year of 1,000+ yards.
#3 Mario Williams
Last year, Mario Williams signed a six year contract with the Buffalo Bills worth 96 million dollars and while most people are disappointed with his stats, he did have the most sacks since Aaron Schobel had 10 in 2009. It's uncertain where Williams plays in this hybrid defense, but if he posts double digit sacks in 2013 again, few fans will care where he plays in the future.
#2 C.J. Spiller
C.J. Spiller was billed as a home run hitter anytime he touched the ball when he came out of the college ranks in 2010, and in 2012 he lived up to the hype by averaging six yards per carry. He broke some freakishly good runs last year, so the expectations that Spiller can do even better in 2013 are sky high and most people think he can clear them if he were touch the ball more this upcoming year.
#1 Jairus Byrd
The franchised player, Jairus Byrd, has been a ball hawk since coming into the league on fire with having 18 interceptions in his first four seasons. If Byrd can become a Bill for life, who knows how high his interception number goes. Also, if a long term deal comes down the pipeline, Byrd will be seen as a young leader on this defense, in the way that Ed Reed did for the Baltimore Ravens for 11 seasons.