2012 Record: 6 – 10 (4th in Division)
General Manager: Doug Whaley
Head Coach: Doug Marrone
Offensive Coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Pettine
Special Teams Coach: Danny Crossman
Overview: Some how the Bills ended up at the bottom of the AFC East again. Even with the the suffering New York Jets in the division they couldn’t manage to pull out third place. In the end that’s a good reason to end the Gailey-Fitzpatrick era. So now comes what would seem to be the Marrone-Manuel era which looks like a brighter beginning for Bills fans. It won’t be easy in a division ruled by the Patriots and the Dolphins coming off a shopping spree. In order for this new regime to be successful the selection of E.J. Manuel will need to pan out in their favor.
Offense: Total Offense (19th), Passing (25th), Rushing (6th), and Scoring (21st).
C.J. Spiller went to town last year when it came to the running attack. The only other offensive weapon that really had a presence was Steve Johnson. Fitzpatrick had an average stat line in 2012, but that was the problem. On a below average offense you can’t expect to put up numbers if you don’t have an above average quarterback. Sure it has been done before, but it’s not likely.
Defense: Total Yards (11th), Passing (23rd), Rushing (2nd), and Sacks (18th-T).
The Bills defense aspired to be much more in 2012. They were ranked 2nd against the run (ranked worst to last by NFL.com). Teams averaged five yards a carry on the Bills in 2012. What looked to be a powerhouse front four featuring Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, and Mark Anderson never lived up to their potential. Thankfully rookie corner Stephon Gilmore and 2nd team All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd held the Bills secondary together, but couldn’t keep the whole defense together.
Special Teams: Field Goals (T – 13th), Kick Returns (9th), and Punting (18th).
The only thing anyone has ever liked about the Bills is Brian Moorman, and they couldn’t even do that right. That’s all there is to say about the Bills special teams. They in fact were not all that special.
2012 Off-season Impact:
Key Acquisitions: QB Vince Young, DE Mario Williams, and DE Mark Anderson
Key Losses: OT Demetress Bell, ILB Reggie Torbor, and CB Drayton Florence.
Round 1, Pick 10: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
Round 2, Pick 41: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
Round 3, Pick 69: T.J. Graham, WR, N.C. State
Round 4, Pick 105: Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
Round 4, Pick 124: Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
Round 5, Pick 144: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
Round 4, Pick 147: Tank Carder, LB, TCU
Round 6, Pick 178: Mark Asper, OG, Oregon
Buffalo’s Free Agency was short but sweet. Having Vince Young as your backup quarterback is never a bad thing.The teams in the AFC East have learned that the best way to compete with the Patriots is to put Tom Brady on his back. With the signing of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson that is exactly what they planned to do. Bell, Florence, and Torbor were contributors but were replaced in the draft. Buffalo’s first two picks were homers and selections like Zebrie Sanders, Nigel Bradham, and Ron Brooks were solid pickups as well. The Bills were looking like they could be a potential playoff team in 2012, but that was not the case.
Key Acquisitions: QB Kevin Kolb, G Doug Legursky, DT Alan Branch, and DE/OLB Jerry Hughes.
Key Losses: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Tarvaris Jackson, WR David Nelson, WR Donald Jones, G Andy Levitre, G Chad Rinehart, DE Chris Kelsay, DE Kyle Moore, DE Shawne Merriman, DT Spencer Johnson, OLB Nick Barnett, ILB Kelvin Sheppard, CB Terrence McGee, S George Wilson.
Round 1, Pick 16: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Round 2, Pick 41: Robert Woods, WR, USC
Round 2, Pick 46: Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
Round 3, Pick 78: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
Round 4, Pick 105: Duke Williams, S, Nevada
Round 5, Pick 143: Jonathan Meeks, S, Clemson
Round 6, Pick 177: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
Round 7, Pick 222: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
2013 dawns a new era for the Bills. Besides players like Andy Levitre and Kelvin Sheppard, the Bills did a nice job unloading the dead weight. If you are going to have a quarterback battle it’s better to have one between Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel, than one between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tarvaris Jackson. Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin were nice picks to have more than Stevie Johnson to throw to. My favorite selection by the Bills this draft was Dustin Hopkins. A good kicker can be a major asset to a young team.
Look, it’s a rebuilding year for the Bills and that is why I have them ranked so low. If E.J. Manuel is the guy for Buffalo they could see a major turnaround such as teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins. As of 2013 I just do not see it. They could either be a 7-9 team or a 2-14 team but is going to depend on a lot of variables. The good news is the only real direction for the Bills is up.
The recent past has been bleak for the Buffalo Bills, but the future looks bright. With a potential franchise guy at quarterback, a long-term coach, and a solid supporting class the Bills could be moving to the top of a declining division.