9 --- The number of interceptions Jairus Byrd had as a rookie this season. Byrd was all over the field, scavenging tipped balls with regularity. He wasn’t very strong in run support—his 5-foot-10(generous), 200-pound (ultra-generous) frame wasn’t built for the run game. But if the Bills can keep him in deep center, he’ll easily get six picks a season. An amazing draft pick in the forgetful John Guy era.
4.5 --- The number of yards per carry Fred Jackson averaged. Jackson was undoubtedly the team’s offensive MVP, mashing and dashing his way to his first career 1,000-yard season. And with the news of Marshawn Lynch getting
into more off-field trouble, there is no question that Jackson will be the bellwether back in 2010.
233 --- The number of first downs the Bills accumulated—dead last in the NFL. Considering Green Bay and Arizona just combined for 62 first downs in one game, this figure is sad. Buffalo’s offense did absolutely no favors for its defense this season...all despite an above-average bundle of weapons. The T.O. Effect never materialized. He didn't open up space for all as expected. Particularly one receiver…
44 --- The number of receptions Lee Evans had, the lowest total in his six-year career. Not the kind of production the Bills want out of someone earning $9 million per season. Evans is a standup guy. Throughout Buffalo’s permanent problems under center, he has never griped. And to Evans’ credit, he did catch seven touchdowns amid an offensive catastrophe this year. But he needs to produce at a No. 1-receiver level. With so much uncertainty along Buffalo’s receiving corps—Terrell Owens’ inevitable departure, Josh Reed is an unrestricted free agent—things may not get much better. A pure deep threat, Evans needs help on the other side. Forty-four catches for 612 yards won’t cut it. Does Buffalo pin it's hopes on the young Hardy/Johnson duo? Or will it think outside the box again. Stay tuned.
6 --- The number of passing touchdowns Trent Edwards has this year. Coming into this season, he was expected to take the next step. Expected to solidify himself as the Bills’ quarterback of the future. So much for that. After a solid performance in New England to open the season (212 yards, two touchdowns) and another big game against Tampa Bay (230 yards, two touchdowns), Edwards fell apart. Eventually, Ryan Fitzpatrick supplanted him as the clear starter. A preposterous in the months leading up to the season. Yes, another concussion set him back but Edwards has a maddening tendency to settle for checkdowns rather than drive the ball downfield. Hard to imagine any new coach fixing such a problem. Look for the Bills to — yet again — find a new young quarterback to build around. Edwards botched a golden opportunity this season. And, remarkably, it had nothing to do with T.O. barking in his ear.
0 --- The number of kick and punt return touchdowns the Bills had. This is surprising. While the offense reaches new lows annually, the special teams has been amongst the NFL’s best. This year, the Bills failed to bring any kicks back for scores. One big reason was Leodis McKelvin toiling on injured reserve. His return will give a punchless roster a huge boost next year.
134--- The number of rushing first downs Buffalo allowed this year. Break that down. That’s more than eight per game. Yikes. Blame injuries. The Bills’ linebacker group was slammed. No team should be forced to start safeties at linebacker. But really, this was a problem the front office needed to anticipate. They did next to nothing to improve the subpar group. Paul Posluszny is solid but Kawika Mitchell and Keith Ellison are often overwhelmed. The team must upgrade at outside linebacker. Far too often, opposing running backs gained the edge….be it Chris Johnson or, um, Ryan Moats.
2,948 --- The number of passing yards Buffalo allowed this year, second-best in the NFL. Very, very impressive. Corners Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence were the unsung heroes on Buffalo this season. Whoever comes in as the new head coach can build around a very promising secondary. The group flustered the likes of Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Matt Cassel this season. Not easy. Does Donte Whitner figure into the unit's long-term plans? We'll see. The utility man has one year left on his rookie contract.
911 --- The number of plays the Bills ran, dead last in the NFL. Buffalo’s anemic offense simply could not stay on the field. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt frequently floated away from the running game, which put the Bills in several third-and-long situations. Van Pelt was in a tough situation, being promoted merely 10 days before the season opener. But still, he needed to lean on Jackson with more regularity.
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