Breaking Down Buffalo Bills Starting Offense
2013 Buffalo Bills Starting Offense
The Buffalo Bills have a new franchise quarterback in E.J. Manuel to go along with a new offensive coordinator in 33-year old Nathaniel Hackett. They should have one of the best running games in the league. Their offensive line might go through some growing pains without former guard Andy Levitre but a quick passing game and a mobile quarterback may help ease the pressure on the offensive line.
One thing that's for sure is that the Bills will be banking on far less mistakes than they had in the past. As smart as he was former QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was prone to making mistakes. Just in the last four games against the New England Patriots alone, Fitzpatrick was responsible for 19 of the team's 24 turnovers. Fitzpatrick had no less than 15 interceptions in his three full seasons as starting QB for the Bills. While the team won't expect Manuel to make no mistakes, they hope they can design an offense that will limit the mistakes. Manuel can run so they'll let him know not to be shy about using his legs when there is nothing there in the passing game.
The lion's share of the offense should run through the running backs. C.J. Spiller is on the verge of becoming a bona fide top runner in this league. Hackett quipped earlier in the preseason that he would run Spiller until he vomited. Spiller likely won't have to do that as he has veteran backup Fred Jackson behind him as well as an otherwise dependable Tashard Choice. Expect to see a lot of screens from the Buffalo offense as they have the perfect personnel to run screens all day. Both Spiller and Jackson excel at running screens and all of the receivers are effective in space as well.
Here is a look at the starting offense for the 2013 Bills...
LT Cordy Glenn
Glenn enters his second season as the Bills starting LT. Glenn was solid as a rock last year but he'll have to be even better this season without Levitre playing next to him. Glenn might benefit from having a mobile QB in Manuel behind him but his job is still to protect the franchise's blind side so protect it he must.
LG Colin Brown
All eyes will be on Brown as he takes over Levitre's spot in the lineup. While nobody expects Brown to be as good as Levitre, he will be under the microscope since the Bills opted not to pay Levitre or use heavy resources to replace him. Thankfully for Brown, he has some elusive backs in Spiller and Jackson playing behind him.
C Eric Wood
Wood will be in Buffalo for awhile after signing a new contract extension just a few days ago. He's the leader of the offensive line and will be called upon to mentor Manuel in the huddle. If the captain of the offense can stay healthy, he is one of the better centers in the league. However, he has yet to play in all 16 games of a season.
RG Kraig Urbik
Urbik has done everything that the Bills have asked of him and more since being claimed off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2010 season. His steady play earned him a contract extension after last season that will keep him on the line next to Wood for the next four seasons.
RT Erik Pears
Pears has been solid but injury prone in his time with the Bills. He has some consistency issues but has shown up big at times for the Bills over the past few seasons. He'll be playing without a net this year as his backup for the past two seasons, Chris Hairston, is on IR. It's important that the Bills get the dependable Pears this year.
TE Scott Chandler
It's nearly a miracle that Chandler is ready to go for opening day as he tore his ACL during Week 15 of last season. Chandler will be an important role player for Manuel. He is versatile and at 6-foot-7, he's a good target for a safety valve and a guy to look for in the end zone.
WR Stevie Johnson
Stevie will be Manuel's best friend this year. He's always good for 70 or so catches, around 1,000 yards and 7+ touchdowns a season. He is a premiere route runner and Manuel should look to him early and often as he breaks into the offense. Johnson should excel in a short, controlled passing game that the Bills are looking to employ.
WR T.J. Graham
Despite being rather mediocre last year, the new Bills coaching staff really likes Graham and have named him a starter at receiver. Look for Graham to be able to stretch the field more with Manuel at quarterback as opposed to the weak-armed Fitzpatrick. Look for the Bills to run a lot of screen plays his way as well.
WR Robert Woods
Woods was an astute pick by the Bills in the 2nd round of this year's draft. He played four years in a pro-style offense at US and should fit into Hackett's new system well. He is similar to Johnson in that he runs routes well and gets open. Look for Manuel to try to connect with Woods when it's time to move the chains.
QB E.J. Manuel
There's no pressure on Manuel besides to become the first franchise QB that the Bills have had since Jim Kelly. Manuel's a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders. If he can put it all together then he may just take the Bills to the promised land. It's going to take some time though so he, as well as the fan base, must be patient.
RB C.J. Spiller
Spiller made a huge leap last year and people expect him to make an even bigger one this season. It's not out of the realm of possibility as he won't have the pass happy Chan Gailey holding him back. If Spiller stays healthy and the Bills stay in games it's conceivable that he will end the year as a top-three back in the NFL.