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Inigo Montoya

5 Reasons the 2019 Bills defense could be historically good.

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2 hours ago, KD in CA said:

 

Which is just common sense.   Fans all too often fall into the trap of "Last Year's Performance - Guys who left + Guys who arrived = This Year's Performance", and fail to account for the randomness of events that have significant impact on individual plays and by extension games, and by extension seasons.

 

Not every guy is going to play as well as he did last year.  Injuries will happen, luck (good and bad) will happen, opponents will be better/worse than expected, crappy ref calls will happen, the ball will deflect in the other direction than it did last time, etc.

 

Sure, if you are the '00 era Ravens you can be pretty sure the defense is going to be top notch again.  But if you were in the middle of the pack last year in scoring defense, there's not much reason beyond blind optimism to think they will suddenly be a top defense, much less a historically great defense.

 

 

Well put, although I'll add that if you can find reason to believe last year's performance was unduly influenced by bad luck or chance, you can make the case that significant improvement isn't unreasonable. I don't really have anything that supports such a conclusion but I do think they'll be a good/above average defense, especially if Edmunds continues improving and they are 3 deep at CB with 2 of Wallace/Johnson/Gaines behind White.

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5 hours ago, SoTier said:

Statistically, Bills defense was 18th in the league in scoring, which puts them in the bottom half of the league.  Plain and simple, too many times in 2018, the Bills defense gave up Red Zone TDs  rather than holding their opponents to FGs.   If the Bills are to be considered a great defense in 2019, they have to make it much harder for teams to score on them, especially in the Red Zone.

 

they were gashed mercilessly, not piling up yards is a huge sign of contempt, just run the last 10 minutes out, they can't stop us.

 

 

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7 hours ago, SoTier said:

Statistically, Bills defense was 18th in the league in scoring, which puts them in the bottom half of the league.  Plain and simple, too many times in 2018, the Bills defense gave up Red Zone TDs  rather than holding their opponents to FGs.   If the Bills are to be considered a great defense in 2019, they have to make it much harder for teams to score on them, especially in the Red Zone.

 

Agree completely. 

 

We were ranked 30th - 32nd in a number of statistical categories, 30th in Red Zone D.  

 

18th in scoring, 2nd in yardage, but keep in mind, we ranked DFL in opponent starting field-position, so that at least partially explains that disparity between the yardage D and the scoring D.  Unfortunately the name of the game isn't keep them from logging yards, it's keep them out of the end zone which we didn't do well at all, being 30th in Red Zone D makes that clear.  

 

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9 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

There is a good article about the Bills defense on WGR's website that talks about the bulk of the defense from last season being back this year and being healthy.  Here's the link;   https://wgr550.radio.com/articles/news/while-bills-offense-has-dealt-injuries-defense-benefiting-continuity    It got me curious to look at last year's defense and wondering if the defense has the potential to take another step forward this season and become a historically great defense, and by historically great, I mean defenses like the '85 Bears, '00 Ravens, '76 Steelers, and '13 Bucs. I think there are five reasons why this is possible, but first I put some stats from last season's defense to show how our defense fared and see about where we should be starting from this season.

 

Bills Defense Rankings 2018

Yards Per Game;                   2nd 

Passing Yards Per Game;    1st

Rushing Yards Per Game;   15th

Points Per Game;                  17th

Take Aways;                           7th   (16 INT/ 11 FUM)

Sacks;                                     14th Tied with Tampa & Detroit

Def Touch Downs;                 Tied for last with 9 other teams (0 TDs)

 

Obviously, the rushing defense was our achilles heel.  We had three game last season where we gave up 200+ rushing yards.  

 

Week 7       At Indy            220 yards    Loss

Week 12    Home Jags    226 yards     Win

Week 16    At Pats            273 yards    Loss

 

It would be easy to think that the reason our defense's pass stats were so stout was because teams could just run the ball successfully against us and didn't have to pass, but I don't think that is the case.  Our run defense was still ranked in the top half of the league even with those three 200+ yard games. I think our secondary was simply playing at an elite level last year. Here is the starting D lineup at minicamp this week, and note that Ed Oliver isn't on this list;

 

  • DE - Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy
  • DT - Star Lotulelei, Jordan Phillips
  • WLB - Matt Milano
  • MLB - Tremaine Edmunds
  • SLB - Lorenzo Alexander
  • CB - Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace
  • (Slot CB) - Taron Johnson
  • S - Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer

 

Pretty damn solid all around.  I think there are five reasons we should expect even better play from our defense this year.  

 

1.  Another year in the same defensive system;   Everyone, especially Edmonds, will have another year of knowing what is expected of them.  Less time to think about the scheme and more time to simply react to the play as it unfolds.  This may be the single biggest factor.  I think it's fair to expect Edmonds to play better this year.  That alone should be huge for the run defense.  Harrison Phillips and Jordan Phillips will both be in their second season in the system as well, and Horrible Harry will also have a year of NFL experience under his belt. 

 

2.  Defense bringing almost everyone back;  We lost Kyle Williams and that is a huge hole to fill.  The Bills recognized that and spent their first round pick to bring in Ed Oliver.  We'll just have to wait and see how Oliver plays this season to see how much, if any, drop off there is at that position.  I think the Bills did the best they could to mitigate the loss of Kyle Williams. Kyle was our only loss on defense.  Our secondary should only get better this year. We have added Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines to the secondary.  Solid pieces and great depth for an already stout secondary. Wallace continues to ball in OTAs and mini camp and looks like the real deal.  I think we will have the best secondary in football again this year.

 

3. Pass rush should get better;    I think people are going to be surprised with Trent Murphy this year.  He is now fully recovered from his ACL and I expect him to bring a lot more game.  With Hughes and Murphy coming off the edges and Oliver pushing up the middle, we could have a real "pick your poison" situation for opposing offensive coordinators.  Our secondary should be better too, leading to more "coverage sacks" by our pass rush.

 

4. I think the AFC East is trending in our direction;   Our six division games are more than a third of our season, and I think our defense is set up to have a great year in our division.  The Jets have added some skill position players and I think Darnold is a solid QB, but they didn't do enough to strengthen their already suspect offensive line.  As we all know too well, it's hard to do anything well on offense if your line is the weak link.  The Jets went for the shiny toys in free agency and should have focused more on their line.  I think it is going to cost them.  I think our defense is going to feast on their offense. 

 

The Dolphins are in full on rebuild mode.  We don't play the Phins until Week 7.  Miami starts off the season with the Ravens, Pats, Cowboys and Chargers.  A tough stretch.  Week 5 is their bye week and then the Phins play the Redskins at home in Week 6.  I would guess that is where Rosen will start if he doesn't win the competition outright in training camp.  I'll take Rosen in a new system against our defense any day of the week.  

 

That leaves the Pats. Brady is another year older, Gronk is gone.  Many have been predicting the end of the road for the defending Super Bowl Champs for a long time, but it just can't last forever, can it?  I think we will split with the Pats this year.   I think we now have the talent on the roster to do it.  We play them in Orchard Park Week 4.  Hopefully the Pats get off to their typical slow start and we can capitalize on that and home field advantage to grab a win.  Everyone knows the cheat code to beating Brady is pressure, look no further than the 1st Round picks in the AFCE this year;  Wilkins, Oliver, and Williams.  If Oliver can get some push up the middle and our linebacking corps can fill those run gaps I think we will take it to the Pats this year.

 

5.  Our special teams / offense will be better (can they be worse?);   Better special team's play helps the defense as much as it helps the offense.  I think special teams is still an unknown at this point, but the special teams were so bad last year I would hope the only way to go is up.  Beane has made a point to bring in aces on special teams.  Let's hope it pays some dividends. 

 

It's almost impossible to overstate how many times the offense put the defense in a hole last season.  Despite being on the field way too long because of failed offensive drives, having horrible field position, and rarely having the benefit of playing with a lead, the defense still managed to have a fantastic season.  If we get even modestly improved offensive play this season the defense should benefit immensely. 

 

In the end,  I think we have the makings of a very special, historically good defense this year. 

 

 

 

Great post, I agree with everything you said and do think we will remain one of the best defense in the NFL this year.  

 

However, I am not sold they will be "historically good" yet, we still have some guys who need to prove themselves on the field.  We need to see that Oliver can be good (he is no lock, even though I love Oliver, as no rookie is a lock to make an immediate impact), Murphy can stay healthy and add to the pass rush, our young corners opposite of Tre and in the Nickel can play well, and Milano can come back and find the form he had last season prior to injury.  Edmunds still needs to take a step forward and keep improving too.  

 

All that being said, I am quite optimistic on all those things myself, so like I said I agree with your post and think we can be one of the better defenses in the league again this year.  But historically good would require a lot of those variable I mentioned to really be the blue sky outlook, so still a lot of work to do before I will go that far.  

7 hours ago, SoTier said:

Statistically, Bills defense was 18th in the league in scoring, which puts them in the bottom half of the league.  Plain and simple, too many times in 2018, the Bills defense gave up Red Zone TDs  rather than holding their opponents to FGs.   If the Bills are to be considered a great defense in 2019, they have to make it much harder for teams to score on them, especially in the Red Zone.

 

But it was a tale of two teams last year.  Before tend to overlook just how bad our offense was for a decent part of the season where our defense was back on the field every 3 plays, or on turnovers with a short field to defend.  Our D had a LOT of pressure put on it...but once Allen started finding ways to spark the offense and sustain drives with his legs too, suddenly the defense and points allowed got a lot better.  

 

So I think the stats you are citing become a little misleading for that reason.  NP and DA were just utter disasters, not to mention the pick sixes that added to those points allowed totals.  Allen struggled to keep the chains moving too early in the season.  

 

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A “Historically Good” defense needs to have a fierce pass rush among other things.

 

Do the Bills have that? I don’t think so.

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All I know is pts per game and sacks HAVE to improve. Stick 8 in the box against NE. Force Brady to throw deep.

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6 hours ago, Florida Bills Fanatic said:

With our pathetic offense last year, the defense was on the field a lot.  In addition, between turnovers and bad special teams play, the opposition frequently had a short field.  These factors distort the numbers a bit.  I agree with you that the Bills played too soft in the red zone.  The lack of good d-line play really showed up here.  They generated little pass rush and gave up too many rushing yards inside the 20.  All of these things need to change for the Bills defense to make significant statistical improvement.

 

That's a valid point on the field position where we were worst in that regard.  

 

But the time of the D on the field or the number of plays is not valid.  We were ranked 16th in time-of-possession, dead-center average.  In plays run offensively we were ranked 19th, all but exactly average and a mere 3 plays on the season away from average exactly.  

 

Defensively we were ranked 5th in plays run, meaning that 27 teams allowed more plays on defense than we did.  

 

So any "lack of good DL play" had nothing to do with being on the field a lot, we were on the field less than all but four other teams.  In fact, 15 teams that allowed fewer points than we did were on the field for more plays defensively.  

 

So that wasn't it.    

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1 hour ago, GoBills808 said:

 

Well put, although I'll add that if you can find reason to believe last year's performance was unduly influenced by bad luck or chance, you can make the case that significant improvement isn't unreasonable. I don't really have anything that supports such a conclusion but I do think they'll be a good/above average defense, especially if Edmunds continues improving and they are 3 deep at CB with 2 of Wallace/Johnson/Gaines behind White.

 

Absolutely.   If there is reason for optimism, I think it's largely in the improvement from young guys like Edmunds and Phillips, and Oliver having a faster learning curve than those guys.

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7 minutes ago, Binghamton Beast said:

A “Historically Good” defense needs to have a fierce pass rush among other things.

 

Do the Bills have that? I don’t think so.

 

Further, McD recently said he likes to see pressure on opposing QBs.  If that is the case, he has to be disappointed in last year's defense from a pass rush perspective.  It is possible he wasn't expecting a lot last year with injuries to Trent Murphy and Matt Milano later in the season, as well as having a very young rookie MLB.  Going forward, I would take his comments to mean the pass rush will be dialed up, or at least I hope so.  It seems that they're putting a lot of their eggs in the Trent Murphy basket, which is risky, IMO.

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Nice post.   It makes a lot of sense that the defense could be much better.  

 

I think Edmunds is a huge question mark.  I have a good deal of confidence in Allen making the big second-season jump in performance; not so much in Edmunds.   

 

As you note, if the offense gets better, that will help a lot.  Field position, time on the field, score all should be working more in the Bills' favor this year.

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6 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

Nice post.   It makes a lot of sense that the defense could be much better.  

 

I think Edmunds is a huge question mark.  I have a good deal of confidence in Allen making the big second-season jump in performance; not so much in Edmunds.   

I agree Shaw. I’m dying to see if Edmunds put on any weight over the off season. I hope so. 

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The Bills D has been great the past two seasons with zero pass rush outside Hughes.  If Oliver can bring it(like I know he can), that alone will turn up the heat on opposing QBs.  It sounds like Trent is healthy.  Lawson is decent.  But what I find interesting if Vosean can play,( Milano-Edmunds-Vosean is serious speed!), Lorax could rush from other side of Jerry.  Lorax-Jerry-Oliver-Star just might be that ferocious pass rush this team has been needing.  If they can bring the heat, we will lead league in turnovers IMO.  Hopefully they can stay healthy.  If so, and if Oliver is a force, this Bills defense will be historically great

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Posted (edited)

To have a truly epic defense means you must have mostly all probowlers and some all pro talent at CB and on the DL. Star will never again be a probowler. Murphy is a longshot and White is the only CB that is likely to make the probowl any time soon. We're not there yet. everyone keeps interpreting our defenses performance last year as 2nd best in the NFL. We were actually closer to 17th best defense as our points against would suggest.  We also need Edmunds to take a huge step this year, His rookie year was not encouraging, considering where he was drafted.

Edited by GreggTX
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8 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

 

Thanks for setting me straight freddyjj, I’ll hop back into the post and fix that.

 

....nice work and thanks for sharing bud.....:thumbsup:...I may be a bit hesitant about "historic"........BUT....if we could get back to Schwartz type accolades for the defense (believe it was top 5) coupled with anticipated improvements in the offense, we could be in pretty good shape as a well balanced club....stay tuned......

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50 minutes ago, SoCal Deek said:

I agree Shaw. I’m dying to see if Edmunds put on any weight over the off season. I hope so. 

I agree Edmunds will be a guy to watch.  But one of the best MLBs ever was Jack Lambert and he weighed about 210.  Edmunds needs the experience where he just reacts to the play instead of taking that split second or so to think about the correct read.

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11 hours ago, BillnutinHouston said:

Mike Schopp will tell you that NFL defenses can rarely be counted on to stay good from year to year.  Take that whence it comes.

 

 

 

And he is correct. How was the Jags defense last year. 

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Historical is not a term that should be used lightly.  The Steelers D of the 70's and Ravens around the turn of the century were historic.  Our D this year - I would take solid to very good.

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11 hours ago, HOUSE said:

 

I wish that guy would stick his head in the Micro Wave...

Image result for microwave gif
 

 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-the-nfl-cant-rely-on-defense/

9 hours ago, HT02 said:

Given the stupid and arrogant things he says I think he may have done that already

 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-the-nfl-cant-rely-on-defense/

11 hours ago, BillnutinHouston said:

Mike Schopp will tell you that NFL defenses can rarely be counted on to stay good from year to year.  Take that whence it comes.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/13/2019 at 3:56 AM, Inigo Montoya said:

 

 

3. Pass rush should get better;    I think people are going to be surprised with Trent Murphy this year.  He is now fully recovered from his ACL and I expect him to bring a lot more game.  With Hughes and Murphy coming off the edges and Oliver pushing up the middle, we could have a real "pick your poison" situation for opposing offensive coordinators.  Our secondary should be better too, leading to more "coverage sacks" by our pass rush.

 

 

 

 

That's gonna be the key. I don't expect much from Murphy, but if Oliver is as good as advertised, he'll not only make plays, but create opportunities for others. The defense would be dominant if they had a stud LDE. They struggled for long stretches in terms of getting to the QB. That's really my only concern defensively in 19. 

14 hours ago, Happy Gilmore said:

 

Further, McD recently said he likes to see pressure on opposing QBs.  If that is the case, he has to be disappointed in last year's defense from a pass rush perspective.  It is possible he wasn't expecting a lot last year with injuries to Trent Murphy and Matt Milano later in the season, as well as having a very young rookie MLB.  Going forward, I would take his comments to mean the pass rush will be dialed up, or at least I hope so.  It seems that they're putting a lot of their eggs in the Trent Murphy basket, which is risky, IMO.

He needs to either call the plays of get it through Frazier's head to be more aggressive.

Edited by LSHMEAB
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It's interesting to see how McDermott and Beane have been building this defense. Each level of it (DL, LB, DB) now has a recent first round draft pick with the talent and potential to become regular First-Team All-Pro candidates (Oliver, Edmunds, White). Then you have a bunch of under-the-radar free agent signings (Hyde, Poyer, Murphy, Kevin Johnson, etc.) and day 2/3 draft picks+UDFA's who fit the scheme perfectly (Milano, Joseph, Harrison Phillips, Wallace, Neal, the other 3 Johnsons, etc.). The only big splash in free agency was Star. Alexander, Lawson, and Hughes are the only players on defense remaining from the previous regime.

 

I also like how Leslie Frazier (60 years old) is probably at the point in his career where he is no longer looking for another head coach position, meaning that we may have him as our DC for a very long time. At the moment, to me this defense is probably an elite DE and a backup MLB away from on-paper perfection. They also need to spend a lot of the summer focusing on their 3rd down and red-zone packages. Historically one of the best NFL defenses of all time? Not sure about that one. But best defense in franchise history? By next year, it could be a very real possibility!

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2 hours ago, oldmanfan said:

I agree Edmunds will be a guy to watch.  But one of the best MLBs ever was Jack Lambert and he weighed about 210.  Edmunds needs the experience where he just reacts to the play instead of taking that split second or so to think about the correct read.

Well, that's what the coaches have said about him, but saying it and getting him to do it are two different things.   No one could teach CJ Spiller how to run in the NFL, even though he had all the talent anyone could ask for.   If Edmunds can play with intelligence and instinct, he can be great.   He can be dominant.   And he can make this a great defense.   But it's quite possible that he never will rise to that level.   

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13 hours ago, BillnutinHouston said:

Mike Schopp will tell you that NFL defenses can rarely be counted on to stay good from year to year.  Take that whence it comes.

 

 

 

Since His job is talking not knowing or being knowledgeable. 

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9 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

Well, that's what the coaches have said about him, but saying it and getting him to do it are two different things.   No one could teach CJ Spiller how to run in the NFL, even though he had all the talent anyone could ask for.   If Edmunds can play with intelligence and instinct, he can be great.   He can be dominant.   And he can make this a great defense.   But it's quite possible that he never will rise to that level.   

Possible.  But if he does struggle at MLB they could move him outside.

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7 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

But it's quite possible that he never will rise to that level. 

 

If Edmunds doesn't become what Beane and McD thought he would become, that is a big black eye moving up to draft him.  And if so, move Edmunds outside and get another MLB, possibly through FA if they want to win now and not go through another learning curve.

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