Top 5 Most Disappointing Players for Buffalo Bills In 2013
The Top 5 Most Disappointing Buffalo Bills In 2013
The 2013 season has been wildly disappointing for the Buffalo Bills. Granted, with a rookie quarterback and a disappointing defense returning, the Orchard Park faithful didn’t have the highest of hopes coming in.
But when it’s been nearly 15 years since your last playoff appearance, you have blind hope all the time because you’re just hoping there will be validation for all the time and emotion you invest into this mostly fruitless venture. Something. Anything.
A few impactful injuries and missed bounces later, the Bills are 6-9 and probably on their way to a tenth loss as they head to New England on Sunday playing a Patriots team that needs the win for AFC Playoff positioning. It feels like the hundredth year in a row that the Bills will have a losing record and another season ending where I’m already looking forward to next year.
You can’t have a disappointing season without a few key players letting you down in the biggest ways possible. There were a few performers who were primed for big things heading into the season that just couldn’t find a way to put it together, be it health issues or just all-around disappointing play. This was the entire defense last year. You couldn’t single anyone out because they all disappointed.
This year fans had five guys in mind, and it wasn’t even hard to figure out which ones. Stunning, right? Without further ado, here are the five most disappointing players for the Buffalo Bills during the 2013 season.
5. C.J. Spiller
You can’t mention the word “disappointing” without looking at the Bills’ No. 1 offensive threat: C.J. Spiller. Before the season started, head coach Doug Marrone said that he was going to “run Spiller until he pukes." Needless to say, Bills fans (and fantasy owners) had big things going through their heads. Could he hit 2,000 yards? Maybe 15 touchdowns? Finally become the best running back in football? There were so many possibilities.
Instead, Spiller disappointed almost from the start. He will finish with under 1,000 yards and has just two touchdowns heading into the regular season finale. Even his average, a lofty 6.0 yards per carry last year, has taken a sharp dip down to 4.5 YPC. He’s battled an ankle injury most of the year and inconsistency when he wasn’t battling physical injury.
The Bills will have a huge question to ask themselves going forward: Will Spiller ever be the back they envisioned when they used a first round pick on him?
4. Stevie Johnson
Keeping on the offensive side of the ball, we could list the wide receiver unit as a disappointment and leave it there. Heck, it’s been that way for most of the last several years. But Stevie Johnson is going to get singled out here.
The de facto No. 1 of the Bills receiving unit, Stevie has narrow leads in catches (52) and yards (597) over Scott Chandler (48 and 569) who is a marginal receiving threat at best. He’s also only got three touchdowns on the year and just six plays of 20 or more yards.
Injuries have been a huge issue with him this season as he’s been hobbled in most games this season with a variety of nagging issues. He also missed this past Sunday’s game due to a death in the family, so this season has been rough on him.
For the offense to take a step forward they’ll need the old Stevie Johnson who's a reliable target with a few big plays mixed in. Basically, the antithesis of this season.
3. E.J. Manuel
I’m trying to be fair here so I hope this isn’t seen as unnecessarily piling on, but E.J. Manuel has been somewhat disappointing this season. Which, to be fair, you can only expect so much out of a rookie quarterback unless that rookie is Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Manuel is not those guys, so here we are.
At times he looked fantastic. He has a big arm and gives the Bills the ability to stretch the field when he’s on his game -- something they haven’t had in years despite the best efforts of Ryan Fitzpatrick. When he’s not on, though, he looks indecisive and rough. His accuracy could use some work and he probably needs to be a quicker decision-maker, but the same kinds of things can be said about other rookies.
The biggest concern, however, is the injury issue. Three separate times this season he’s dealt with a knee issue. Bills fans going forward are going to have to live in fear that one hit could be the end of this project.
2. Stephon Gilmore
Switching to the defensive side of the ball for a change, it’s a little harder to find a complaint when the team is doing so well this year.
That said, the team probably expected a little more out of Stephon Gilmore, though he’s improved as the season has gone on. He missed the first few weeks with a broken wrist suffered in the preseason, came back with a giant club on his hand and looked a little vulnerable as he continued to progress towards 100 percent health.
Gilmore has the skill set to be a dominant corner in this league, and it will be interesting to see what happens in year three when he’s (presumably) fully healthy heading into the start of the season. The Bills are on the cusp of being an elite defense. If they can get progression out of Gilmore they will have the shutdown corner they need to take that step.
1. T.J. Graham
Alright, I hate to beat up on the offense and praise the crap out of the defense, but it is what it is and the Bills are 6-9 because of the ineptitude of their offense, not their defense.
That being said, the receiving corps has had a rough go of things this year. Yeah, they’ve had to play with three different quarterbacks and yeah they’ve dealt with injuries and rookies in their own right, but for a guy like T.J. Graham, a step-up year was needed this season and it just didn’t happen.
Graham was a second round pick last year as a burner with potential, but he just hasn’t put it together. He’s managed just 18 receptions this season for 272 yards and one touchdown. The Bills needed him to be more than just a guy who runs really fast, but that’s basically all he’s been.
He’ll likely be back for year three, but the Bills will probably be looking for an alternative at the receiver spot next year leaving Graham on borrowed time with the Bills.